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The People of the State of New York v. Christopher Jackson

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


August 10, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
RESPONDENT,
v.
CHRISTOPHER JACKSON,
APPELLANT.

Appeal from judgments of the District Court of Nassau County, First District (Susan T. Kluewer, J.), rendered May 5, 2006.

People v Jackson (Christopher)

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 August 10, 2011

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

The judgments convicted defendant, upon jury verdicts, of driving while ability impaired by drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting, failing to stop at a stop sign, changing lanes without signaling, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating a vehicle with improper plates and operating an unregistered vehicle.

ORDERED that the judgment convicting defendant of driving while ability impaired by drugs is reversed, on the law, and the accusatory instrument charging that offense is dismissed; and it is further,

ORDERED that the judgments convicting defendant of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting, failing to stop at a stop sign, changing lanes without signaling, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating a vehicle with improper plates and operating an unregistered vehicle are affirmed.

After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of driving while ability impaired by drugs (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [4]), aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 511 [1]), reckless driving (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212), leaving the scene of an accident without reporting (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600 [1]), failing to stop at a stop sign (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1172 [a]), changing lanes without signaling (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1163 [d]), unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 509 [1]), operating a vehicle with improper plates (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 402 [4]) and operating an unregistered vehicle (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 401 [1] [a]).

Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 (4) provides that "[n]o person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person's ability to operate such a motor vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug as defined in this chapter." The term "drug" is defined in the Vehicle and Traffic Law as any substance listed in section 3306 of the Public Health Law (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 114-a). The supporting deposition in the instant case fails to provide reasonable cause to believe that defendant was impaired by the use of any of the substances set forth in Public Health Law § 3306 (see CPL 100.25 [2]). Consequently, the accusatory instrument charging defendant with driving while ability impaired by drugs (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [4]) is jurisdictionally defective and must be dismissed.

In conducting an independent review of the weight of the evidence (see CPL 470.15 [5]; People v Danielson, 9 NY3d 342 [2007]), and according the appropriate deference to the jury's credibility determinations, based on its particular opportunity to view the witnesses, hear their testimony, and observe their demeanor (see People v Lane, 7 NY3d 888, 890 [2006]; People v Bleakley, 69 NY2d 490, 495 [1987]), we find that the remaining judgments of conviction were not against the weight of the evidence (see People v Romero, 7 NY3d 633, 643-644 [2006]).

The other contentions raised on appeal are either moot, unpreserved for appellate review or without merit.

Accordingly, the judgment convicting defendant of driving while ability impaired by drugs is reversed and the simplified traffic information charging that offense is dismissed. The judgments convicting defendant of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting, failing to stop at a stop sign, changing lanes without signaling, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating a vehicle with improper plates and operating an unregistered vehicle are affirmed.

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

Decision Date: August 10, 2011

20110810

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