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People v. Mateo

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


October 1, 2010

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT,
v.
DAMIAN J. MATEO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the Ontario County Court (Craig J. Doran, J.), rendered April 15, 2005. The judgment convicted defendant, upon a jury verdict, of assault in the first 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: MARTOCHE, J.P., CARNI, GREEN, PINE, AND GORSKI, JJ.

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

Memorandum

Defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him upon a jury verdict of assault in the first degree (Penal Law § 120.10 [1]). The evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the People (see People v Contes, 60 NY2d 620, 621) is legally sufficient to support the conviction (see generally People v Bleakley, 69 NY2d 490, 495). As defendant correctly concedes, the People presented legally sufficient evidence establishing that his pit bull terrier constituted a dangerous instrument within the meaning of Penal Law § 10.00 (13) (see People v Garraway, 187 AD2d 761, 761-762, lv denied 81 NY2d 886), and that the pit bull caused the victim to sustain serious physical injury, here, "serious and protracted disfigurement," within the meaning of Penal Law § 10.00 (10) (see People v Whyte, 47 AD3d 852, 853-854; People v Walos, 229 AD2d 953). Defendant contends, however, that the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that he intended to cause such injury. We reject that contention (see People v Truesdale, 186 AD2d 496, lv denied 81 NY2d 766). In addition, viewing the evidence in light of the elements of the crime of assault as charged to the jury (see People v Danielson, 9 NY3d 342, 349), we conclude that the verdict is not against the weight of the evidence (see generally Bleakley, 69 NY2d at 495). "Where, as here, witness credibility is of paramount importance to the determination of guilt or innocence, [we] must give [g]reat deference . . . [to the] fact-finder's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear the testimony and observe demeanor' " (People v Harris, 15 AD3d 966, 967, lv denied 4 NY3d 831, quoting Bleakley, 69 NY2d at 495). We see no reason to disturb the jury's determination to credit the testimony of the victim in this case (see People v Flagg, 59 AD3d 1003, lv denied 12 NY3d 853). Finally, the sentence is not unduly harsh or severe.

20101001

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