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The People of the State of New York v. Marissa Hutchinson

New York Supreme and/or Appellate Courts SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 2d, 11th and 13th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


April 8, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
RESPONDENT,
v.
MARISSA HUTCHINSON,
APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, Richmond County (Diana M. Boyar, J.), rendered May 17, 2010.

People v Hutchinson (Marissa)

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 April 8, 2013

PRESENT: RIOS, J.P., WESTON and ALIOTTA, JJ

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

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

On December 19, 2005, several officers of the Staten Island warrant squad, dressed in plain clothes, arrived at the premises located at 100 Dubois Avenue, Staten Island, at 6 a.m., in an attempt to arrest David Hutchinson pursuant to a bench warrant. Upon the officers' arrival at the premises, David Hutchinson's mother, Marcia Goldson, opened the door. The officers informed Ms. Goldson that they were police officers and that they had a warrant to arrest David Hutchinson, who allegedly resided at the premises. Goldson began screaming, and an altercation between her and the officers ensued (see People v Goldson, 35 Misc 3d 132[A], 2012 NY Slip Op 50689[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2012]). Defendant heard a commotion from her upstairs apartment, and when one of the officers ran up the stairs, she attempted to close the door to the apartment in order to block him from entering. At that point, the officer pushed the door in, and a scuffle between the two took place. Prior to the officer's attempt to place defendant under arrest, defendant flailed her arms, punched and kicked the officer numerous times, and pushed him. The arresting officer testified that he had never identified himself as a police officer to defendant and that he had never shown her the warrant or even told her that he had a warrant to arrest David Hutchinson. Although the officer claimed to be wearing a police shield, he never testified that it was displayed to defendant or that it was even visible. Defendant testified that she did not know that the individuals at the premises were police officers or that they had a warrant to arrest David Hutchinson. She further testified that she believed that the individuals were there to commit a crime and that she tried to keep them out of the upstairs apartment to protect her infant child. The jury found defendant guilty of all three counts of the information, to wit, obstructing governmental administration in the second degree (Penal Law § 195.05), resisting arrest (Penal Law § 205.30) and harassment in the second degree (Penal Law § 240.26 [1]).

Upon the exercise of our factual review power (see CPL 470.15 [5]; People v Danielson, 9 NY3d 342, 348 [2007]), we find that the guilty verdicts were against the weight of the evidence. We have weighed "the relative probative force of conflicting testimony and the relative strength of conflicting inferences that may be drawn from the testimony" (People v Bleakley, 69 NY2d 490, 495 [1987] [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]) and determine that an acquittal on all three counts would not have been unreasonable based upon the evidence presented, and that the finder of fact failed to accord the evidence the weight it should have been accorded (id.; see People v Romero, 7 NY3d 633 [2006]). The testimony by the arresting officer established that he had never identified himself as a police officer to defendant, and that he had never showed the warrant to defendant or told her that he had a warrant to arrest David Hutchinson. Thus, in the absence of any knowledge on the part of defendant that the person seeking admittance to her apartment was a police officer and that he was performing an official authorized function, we are of the view that the weight of the evidence supports a finding that defendant neither intentionally obstructed the administration of law or other governmental function nor intentionally resisted arrest (cf. People v Edwards, 35 Misc 3d 132[A], 2012 NY Slip Op 50692[U] [App Term, 9th & 10th Jud Dists 2012]). Morever, the weight of the evidence supports a finding that defendant did not intentionally harass, annoy or alarm the officer in his attempt to gain access to defendant's premises.

In view of the foregoing, we need not pass upon the remaining issue raised on appeal.

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

Rios, J.P., Weston and Aliotta, JJ., concur. Decision Date: April 08, 2013

20130408

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