SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK APPELLATE TERM: 2nd, 11th and 13th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS Appellate Term, Second Department
December 27, 2011
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
Appeal from a judgment of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, Kings County (William L. McGuire, Jr., J.), rendered July 29, 2008.
People v Bryant (Mary)
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 December 27, 2011
PRESENT: PESCE, P.J., RIOS and STEINHARDT, JJ
The judgment convicted defendant, upon a jury verdict, of petit larceny.
ORDERED that the judgment of conviction is reversed, on the law and as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice, and the accusatory instrument is dismissed.
Defendant was found guilty, after a jury trial, of petit larceny (Penal Law § 155.25). On appeal, defendant contends, among other things, that she was denied a fair trial when the Criminal Court precluded her sister from testifying concerning the reason she was going to meet defendant prior to the incident which resulted in defendant's arrest.
"The right of an accused in a criminal trial to due process is, in essence, the right to a fair opportunity to defend against the State's accusations" (Chambers v Mississippi, 410 US 284, 294 ). The court's ruling precluding defendant's sister's testimony concerning the reason she came to meet defendant was an abuse of discretion "resulting in a trial that was decidedly skewed in the People's favor" (People v Carroll, 95 NY2d 375, 387 ; People v Pitt, 84 AD3d 1275 ). The court improperly deprived defendant of her constitutional right to present testimony which would tend to negate the intent element of the charged offense of petit larceny (People v Carroll, 95 NY2d at 385). Consequently, the judgment convicting defendant of petit larceny must be reversed.
We have reviewed defendant's remaining contentions and find them to be without merit. Since defendant committed a relatively minor offense and has completed the sentence, and given defendant's long criminal history, we find that there would be little penological purpose in remitting the matter to the Criminal Court for a new trial. Consequently, as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice, we dismiss the accusatory instrument (see People v Facey, 30 Misc 3d 138[A], 2011 NY Slip Op 50224[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2011]).
Pesce, P.J., Rios and Steinhardt, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: December 27, 2011
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