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People v. Williams

NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS


February 11, 2009

THE PEOPLE & C., RESPONDENT,
v.
RILEY WILLIAMS, APPELLANT.

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.

MEMORANDUM

The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed.

We have repeatedly held that the extent to which the prosecution may use prior convictions to impeach a defendant's testimony "is 'largely, if not completely' a discretionary determination for the trial courts and fact-reviewing intermediate appellate courts, and that generally no further review by this Court is warranted" (People v Mattiace, 77 NY2d 269, 274 [1990], quoting People v Shields, 46 NY2d 764, 765 [1978]). Here, Supreme Court's Sandoval ruling (People v Sandoval, 34 NY2d 371 [1974]) permitted the People to elicit from the defendant that he had one felony conviction and 45 misdemeanor convictions, but not to go into the underlying facts or circumstances of the convictions. We conclude here, as we did in People v Walker (83 NY2d 455, 458 [1994]), that "the trial court might have been more discriminating," but that there is "no legal reason to upset the court's exercise of its discretion."

Order affirmed, in a memorandum. Acting Chief Judge Ciparick and Judges Graffeo, Read, Smith, Pigott and Jones concur.

20090211

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