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The People of the State of New York, Respondent v. Wesley E. Martin

New York Supreme and/or Appellate Courts SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


April 16, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT, --
v.
WESLEY E. MARTIN, APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, First District (John J. Toomey, Jr., J.), rendered December 3, 2009.

People v Martin (Wesley)

Decided on April 16, 2012

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

PRESENT: IANNACCI, J.P., NICOLAI and MOLIA, JJ

The judgment convicted defendant, upon a jury verdict, of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree.

ORDERED that the judgment of conviction is reversed, on the law, and the accusatory instrument is dismissed.

In 2003, defendant was arraigned on an accusatory instrument charging him with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree (Penal Law § 195.05). In 2009, following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of the charged offense.

In order to convict defendant of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, the People had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant "intentionally obstruct[ed], impair[ed] or prevent[ed] the administration of law or other governmental function, or prevent[ed] or attempt[ed] to prevent a public servant from performing an official function by means of intimidation, physical force or interference" (Penal Law § 195.95). The evidence adduced at trial establishes that after Police Officer Verwys had responded to a commercial building, he had discovered that the owner had called 911 because code enforcement officers were attempting to serve her with summonses. Verwys decided to try to persuade the owner to open the door so that the code enforcement officers could serve the summonses. The owner refused to open or unlock the door for the code enforcement officers or for the police. Defendant subsequently arrived at the building and stood in the doorway while Verwys continued, without success, to attempt to persuade the owner to open the door. After defendant failed to comply with Verwys' requests to move out of the doorway, defendant was arrested and charged with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree.

The record establishes that the owner had no legal obligation to open the door, and there were no exigent circumstances which would have allowed the police to forcibly enter the building without the owner's consent and without a warrant. Consequently, defendant's act of standing in the doorway did not obstruct, impair or prevent the administration of any law or other governmental function, and it did not prevent the police from performing an official function. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the People (see People v Contes, 60 NY2d 620, 621 [1983]), we find that it was legally insufficient to establish defendant's guilt of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree. In view of the foregoing, we reach no other issue.

Accordingly, the judgment of conviction is reversed and the accusatory instrument is dismissed.

Iannacci, J.P., Nicolai and Molia, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: April 16, 2012

20120416

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