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People v. Brito

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department


February 6, 2009

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT,
v.
WILFREDO BRITO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the Onondaga County Court (William D. Walsh, J.), rendered January 11, 2006. The judgment convicted defendant, upon his plea of guilty, of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (two counts) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

PRESENT: HURLBUTT, J.P., MARTOCHE, SMITH, CENTRA, AND PERADOTTO, JJ.

It is hereby ORDERED that the judgment so appealed from is unanimously affirmed.

Memorandum

On appeal from a judgment convicting him upon his plea of guilty of two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (Penal Law § 220.16 [1], [2]) and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree (§ 220.03), defendant contends that his arrest was not based upon probable cause inasmuch as the People failed to satisfy the Aguilar-Spinelli test with respect to the citizen informant who provided the relevant information to the police. We reject that contention. "[T]he information provided by an identified citizen accusing another individual of the commission of a specific crime is sufficient to provide the police with probable cause to arrest" (People v Williams, 301 AD2d 543, lv denied 100 NY2d 589; see People v Bingham, 263 AD2d 611, 612, lv denied 93 NY2d 1014). The reliability and veracity of an identified citizen is presumed, particularly in light of "the criminal sanctions attendant upon falsely reporting . . . information to the authorities" (People v Chipp, 75 NY2d 327, 340, cert denied 498 US 833). Furthermore, the statement by the identified citizen informant that was against the informant's "own penal interest constituted reliable information for the purposes of supplying probable cause" (People v Riggins, 161 AD2d 813, 814, lv denied 76 NY2d 851, 863). We accord great deference to the determination of County Court crediting the testimony of the police officer concerning the information provided by the citizen informant (see generally People v Prochillo, 41 NY2d 759, 761).

We have considered defendant's remaining contentions and conclude that they are without merit.

20090206

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