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The People of the State of New York v. Roger Odum

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


November 20, 2009

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
RESPONDENT,
v.
ROGER ODUM,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the Onondaga County Court (Anthony F. Aloi, J.), rendered September 25, 2007.

1300

PRESENT: HURLBUTT, J.P., CENTRA, FAHEY, PERADOTTO, AND GORSKI, JJ.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

The judgment convicted defendant, upon a jury verdict, of attempted robbery in the first degree.

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

Memorandum:

On appeal from a judgment convicting him upon a jury verdict of attempted robbery in the first degree (Penal Law §§ 110.00, 160.15 [3]), defendant contends that County Court erred in denying his challenge for cause with respect to a prospective juror. We reject that contention. It is well settled that "a prospective juror whose statements raise a serious doubt regarding the ability to be impartial must be excused unless the [prospective] juror states unequivocally on the record that he or she can be fair and impartial" (People v Chambers, 97 NY2d 417, 419; see People v Nicholas, 98 NY2d 749, 751- 752). Here, the prospective juror never expressed any doubt concerning his ability to be fair and impartial (see People v Semper, 276 AD2d 263, lv denied 96 NY2d 738). We conclude that, viewing the statements of the prospective juror as a whole, the statements were unequivocal despite the use of the words "think" and "try" (see People v Shulman, 6 NY3d 1, 28, cert denied 547 US 1043; Chambers, 97 NY2d at 419; People v Jones, 21 AD3d 860, lv denied 6 NY3d 755; Semper, 276 AD2d 263).

Defendant failed to preserve for our review his further contention that the interpreter assigned to assist him was inadequate because he lacked experience and was uncertified (see People v Santiago, 265 AD2d 827, lv denied 94 NY2d 866; People v Hatzipavlou, 175 AD2d 969, lv denied 79 NY2d 827). In any event, that contention is without merit. Although the interpreter did not have any prior experience interpreting during a trial, the record establishes that he nevertheless was qualified to do so (see generally Hatzipavlou, 175 AD2d 969). The fact that the interpreter was not a certified interpreter does not invalidate his assistance to defendant (see People v Costa, 186 AD2d 299, lv denied 81 NY2d 761; see generally Judiciary Law § 387). Finally, we reject the contention of defendant that he was denied effective assistance of counsel (see generally People v Baldi, 54 NY2d 137, 147).

Patricia L. Morgan Clerk of the Court

20091120

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