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Defendant Request Copies of Witness Testimony

A New York Criminal Lawyer said that the defendant, a cook at the Nassau County Jail, has been indicted for allegedly selling liquor and marijuana, and agreeing to sell heroin to an inmate at the jail. The indictment contains 14 counts charging the defendant with Bribe Receiving, Receiving a Reward for Official Misconduct, Official Misconduct, Promoting Prison Contraband in the First and Second Degree, Criminally Selling a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Dangerous Drug in the Fourth Degree.aa

A New York Criminal Lawyer said this indictment was the result of an undercover investigation into the activities of the officers and employees of the County Jail. That investigation also caused the grand jury to hand up 24 additional indictments charging other prison employees with criminal transactions of a similar nature. Prior to the trial in this case one of these indictments was disposed of by plea. The remaining indictments have not yet gone to trial.

A Nassau County Criminal Lawyer said during the course of the trial, the defendant has made an oral application for an order directing the People to furnish him with a copy of all of the testimony given by the People’s witness (hereafter Peo-Wit), to the grand jury which indicted the defendant. Since Peo-Wit is presently testifying for the People upon this trial the defendant urges that the rule established by the Court of Appeals in the case of People v. Rosario, requires that all of his testimony before the grand jury should now be made available for purposes of impeachment on cross-examination.

A Suffolk County Criminal Lawyer said the People have already complied with defendant’s request to the extent that they have provided excerpts from Peo-Wit’s grand jury testimony, which they claim constitute all of said witness’ testimony concerning the defendant. It is the People’s contention that the remainder of the witness’ testimony should remain sealed since it relates to other defendants who have not yet been tried.

The broad scope of the defendant’s request raises novel questions concerning the outer limits of the Rosario doctrine. That the Rosario doctrine does have limitations was indicted by the Court of Appeals, but the Courts of this State have not yet had occasion to make any significant efforts to explore and determine the exact dimensions of the principle announced in that case. The defendant’s application presents such an occasion, and this Court must now initiate the inquiry.

The essence of the Rosario holding is this: after a witness has testified at the trial, the adverse party is entitled to inspect any statement the witness made prior to testifying as long as the statement relates to the subject matter of the witness’ testimony.

A Nassau County Criminal Attorney said it is important to note that the Rosario holding does not require the People to furnish copies of all statements which this witness made prior to trial. The first limitation on the application of the Rosario requirement is that the statement must relate to the subject matter of the witness’ testimony given at the trial. The exact import of this limitation is difficult to discern for there is a dearth of case law on the subject in this state. However, it would appear that under normal circumstances when the People call a witness, they should not be required to open their files and surrender every statement given by this witness including those concerning the criminal activities of other persons not at issue in the trial. Since a large part of the grand jury testimony of Peo-Wit falls into this category, the first impression is that it is irrelevant and therefore not subject to disclosure under the Rosario rule.

The court concludes that the disclosure of the additional grand jury testimony the defendant seeks at this time would be inconsistent with the needs of effective law enforcement. The court therefore finds that sufficient reasons exist to continue to maintain the secrecy and confidentiality of such other portions of the grand jury testimony of Charles Peo-Wit and that such disclosure is not mandated by People v. Rosario.

Effective prosecution of criminal cases belongs to expert criminal lawyers. All the issues relating to the fundamental rights of an accused are equally weighed to the duty of the state to punish those who violate the law. To contact a Nassau County Criminal Attorney, call the Stephen Bilkis & Associates at its toll free number or visit its office near you.

In addition, the Nassau County Criminal Lawyers of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are expert in defending an accused charged with capital offenses. We can assure you of the protection of your fundamental rights and that it is upheld at all times.

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