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New York Appellate Court Affirms Decision Ruling That Evidence Was Sufficient to Convict Defendant of Child Endangerment


(People v. C., 2018 NY Slip Op 08951)

Dec. 26, 2018

The defendant appealed from a judgment from Rockland County Court (June 10, 2015), where he was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child and sexual assault against a child.

The defendant argues that the evidence to convict him was legally insufficient was unpreserved for an appellate review (People v. Hawkins 11 NY3d 484). In reviewing the evidence in the context as to what is most favorable to the People (People v. Contes, 60 NY2d 620), the court feels that it was adequate to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The court fulfilled its responsibility in conducting an independent review of the weight of the evidence (People v Danielson 9 NY3d 342). The court gives a great degree of deference to the jury’s ability to hear and weigh the evidence and observe the demeanor of the defendant (People v Mateo 2 NY3d 383; People v. Bleakly 69 NY 2d 490). The court felt that upon review the verdict was in keeping with the evidence presented (People v Romero 7 NY3d 633).

The court agrees with the prior court’s decision to allow expert testimony regarding child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (People v. Carroll 95 NY2d 375, 387, People v Spicola 16 NY3d 441, People v Greene 92 AD3d 894, 896.

The court was correct in exercising its discretion in denying the request made by the defendant to retain an expert (at the public’s expense). The defendant failed to establish any extraordinary circumstances to merit the expenditure which would have been under the statutory limit of $1,000 (People v Garritt 159 AD3d 986).

The jury was properly instructed to count each charge separately when determining if the burden of proof had been satisfied, which the court presumed was correct (People v Mooney 62 AD3d 725, People v Clarke 129 AD2d 724, People v Nelson 133 AD2d 470).

Despite the defendant’s agreement, the county court correctly exercised its discretion in denying the challenge to a prospective juror (CPL 270.20 [1][b]; People v Hewitt 95 AD3d 1358, People v Chambers 97 NY2d 437, People v Johnson 40 AD3d 1011).

In a pro se supplemental brief the defendant argued that he was unjustly excluded from 2 sidebar conferences which prevented him from being present at all the material stages of the trial (People v Fabrico 307 AD2d 882, 883). According to the record, the sidebar conferences involved legal matters (and the defendant’s presence wasn’t required) see People v DePallo 96 NY2d 437, People v McCrae 1 AD3d 612, People v Rodriguez 85 NY2d 586). Or, there were issues where there was not an opportunity for the defendant to meaningfully participate in the discussion (People v Dokes 79 NY2d 656, People v Fabrico 3 NY3d at 406).

The defendant argues that he was deprived of proper assistance of counsel is based in matters entirely outside of the record, therefore the matter must be raised pursuant to a CPL 440.10 motion.

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