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Defendant Appeals Weapon Possession Charges


A Lawyer said that, this is an appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Nassau County, rendered April 6, 1987, convicting him of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, escape in the second degree and criminal mischief in the fourth degree, upon a jury verdict of attempted murder in the first degree (three counts), criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, and assault in the third degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. The appeal brings up for review the denial, after a hearing, of those branches of the defendant’s omnibus motion which were to suppress physical evidence seized from his person and a statement made by him to law enforcement officials. A source said that, the defendant contends that the People failed to establish his guilt of three separate counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

The issue in this case is whether defendant is guilty of the crimes charged.

The Court said that, in the presence of his mother, the complainant gave the police a detailed description of a man who threatened him with a gun. About an hour later, the complainant’s mother called the police to report that the man with the gun had returned to the location of his earlier threat. When police officers responded to the location, the mother pointed to a man who fit the description previously given and he was immediately arrested. A search of the man arrested, the defendant herein, produced a loaded gun which had been concealed in the rear waistband of his pants.

The Court disagrees with the defendant’s claim that his arrest was illegal because the police lacked reliable information sufficient to constitute probable cause to believe that he had committed a gun crime. A detailed description of the perpetrator of a crime provided by an identified citizen is considered circumstantially reliable information upon which an arrest may be lawfully predicated. The hearing court’s denial of suppression was, therefore, correct. While it is true, as a general rule, that evidence material and relevant to prove the crime charged will not be rendered inadmissible simply because it also tends to establish that the defendant is guilty of a crime other than the one charged, it is equally well established that the prosecution may not prove against a defendant, a crime not charged in the indictment merely to establish that the defendant has a propensity to commit crimes so as to raise a presumption that he would be more apt to have committed the crime charged.

The Court held that, viewing the evidence adduced at the trial in a light most favorable to the People, the court finds that it was legally sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant pointed his gun at each of the three officers involved on three separate occasions and fired at them. Moreover, upon the exercise of our factual review power, the court is satisfied that the verdict of guilt on all three counts was not against the weight of the evidence. The Court said that the defendant contends that the court erred in permitting the prosecutor to introduce a photograph of him which showed his appearance at the time of his arrest. The defendant’s appearance had changed since the time of his arrest on the day after the gun crime was committed. The photograph was therefore admissible to show his appearance at the time of the crime.

Accordingly, the Court held that, the defendant’s sentence was not excessive. The defendant’s remaining contentions, including those raised in his supplemental pro se brief, are either unpreserved for appellate review or without merit. The Court ordered that the judgment is affirmed. In view of our agreement with the finding of a lawful arrest, it is unnecessary to address the defendant’s other contentions.

The rule in criminal law is that generally, evidence of an uncharged crime allegedly committed by the defendant would not be admissible if the only connection between the two crimes is a similar Modus operandi.

If you have been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and other gun crimes, seek the representation of a Nassau Possession of a Weapon Attorney and/ or Nassau Criminal Attorney. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates we can assure you that we can protect your legal rights and our Nassau Arrest Attorney can handle your case properly.

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