In People v. Tucker, the Appellate Division considered whether there had been sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant had assaulted a police officer in order to prevent him from performing his lawful duty.
In the early morning hours, three police officers responded to a 911 call, but the caller did not give specifics as to the nature of the emergency. When they arrived at the scene, the police saw a car abandoned in an intersection and a man struggling with a woman over a purse. After the man and woman were separated, believing that a domestic incident had occurred, one of the police officers attempted to question the woman to determine what was happening. The woman appeared to have been crying, but refused to respond to the officer’s questions. Instead, she was focused on what was happening with the male. The police officer attempted to handcuff her and told her that she was “going to be detained until I can figure out what’s happening here.” The woman struggled, stating that she did not do anything and did not need to be handcuffed. In the process of struggling, she injured two of the officers. She was subsequently charged with two counts of assault in the second degree.
Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of one count of assault in the second degree and sentenced to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of postrelease supervision. She appealed. The defendant maintained that the prosecutor failed to prove that the police officer who attempted to detain and handcuff her was performing a lawful duty at the time when she assaulted him.