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The People of the State of New York v. Mariano Morillo

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK APPELLATE TERM: 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


May 12, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
RESPONDENT,
v.
MARIANO MORILLO,
APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the City Court of Yonkers, Westchester County (Charles D. Wood, J.), rendered July 14, 2009. The judgment convicted defendant, upon his plea of guilty, of criminal contempt in the second degree.

People v Morillo (Mariano)

Appellate Term, Second Department Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

Decided on May 12, 2011

PRESENT: NICOLAI, P.J., TANENBAUM and LaCAVA, JJ

ORDERED that the judgment of conviction is affirmed.

On September 22, 2008, defendant was charged with criminal contempt in the second degree (Penal Law § 215.50). Defendant was initially released on his own recognizance. However, after violating certain conditions of his release, defendant was incarcerated on April 3, 2009. During the plea colloquy, on July 14, 2009, defendant informed the court of his innocence and that he had to get out of jail to take care of his family. The City Court declined to accept defendant's plea and put the case back on the calendar to be recalled later in the afternoon. That afternoon, an extensive plea colloquy was conducted and defendant admitted to the court, without any suggestion of reluctance, that he had violated a Family Court order of protection. Defendant was also advised of his right to remain silent, and to have a trial, including a jury. The court then accepted defendant's guilty plea and sentenced him to time served.

Defendant contends that his plea was coerced because he was incarcerated while awaiting trial and he could only get out of jail by pleading guilty. Upon a review of the record, we find that the City Court satisfied its duty of ensuring that defendant's plea was knowing and voluntary (see People v Lopez, 71 NY2d 662, 666 [1998]; People v Ocasio, 265 AD2d 675, 678 [1999]). The record does not demonstrate that defendant was threatened by the court, the People or defense counsel to plead guilty. The fact that defendant pleaded guilty to avoid remaining incarcerated while awaiting trial did not render his plea coerced (see People v Thompkins, 233 AD2d 759, 761 [1996]). It is evident that defendant chose between two alternative courses of action (see People v Legault, 180 AD2d 912, 913 [1992]). The responses defendant gave to the court's inquiries, after defendant had earlier proclaimed his innocence, removed all doubt about his guilt and the voluntariness of his plea (see Lopez, 71 NY2d at 666; Ocasio, 265 AD2d at 678).

Accordingly, the judgment convicting defendant of criminal contempt in the second degree is affirmed.

Nicolai, P.J., Tanenbaum and LaCava, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: May 12, 2011

20110512

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