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The People of the State of New York, Respondent v. Aliyma Muhammad Also Known As Aliyma Cadeus

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


April 12, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT, --
v.
ALIYMA MUHAMMAD ALSO KNOWN AS ALIYMA CADEUS, APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Nassau County, First District (Susan T. Kluewer, J.), rendered November 18, 2011.

People v Muhammad (Aliyma)

Decided on April 12, 2013

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: NICOLAI, P.J., IANNACCI and LaSALLE, JJ

The judgment convicted defendant, upon a jury verdict, of menacing in the second degree.

ORDERED that the judgment of conviction is affirmed.

Defendant was charged with assault in the third degree (Penal Law § 120.00 [1]) and menacing in the second degree (Penal Law § 120.14 [1]). Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of menacing in the second degree.

This matter arose out of an altercation that occurred in the waiting area of the office of Dr. Sydney E. Pigott, a dentist, between his office manager, the complainant, and defendant, a patient waiting for dental services. Subsequent to a verbal exchange, the complainant and defendant began to strike each other and pull each other's hair. The commotion caused Dr. Pigott to enter the waiting area, where he separated the women. The complainant proceeded to a back office to attend to her injuries, which included a facial laceration. When the complainant returned to the waiting area, she and defendant continued their verbal exchange. Defendant then removed a "standard-sized" hammer, tightly wrapped in a bag, from her purse, raised it up in view of Dr. Pigott and the complainant, and, according to the complainant's testimony, stated that she was going to "bust" the complainant in the head. As a result, the complainant retreated to a back office in fear for her safety. The complainant further testified that, as she had retreated, she had heard Dr. Pigott order defendant to put the hammer away and ask her, "what are you doing," to which defendant responded, "skinny, pretty bitches need protection."

On appeal, defendant contends that her conviction was based upon legally insufficient evidence, that the prosecution failed to disprove her defense of justification beyond a reasonable doubt and that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. "A person is guilty of menacing in the second degree when . . . she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a . . . dangerous instrument . . ." (Penal Law § 120.14 [1]). The hammer, under the circumstances in which defendant used it, as testified to by the complainant, was a dangerous instrument as such term is defined in Penal Law § 10.00 (13). We note that defendant's intent can be inferred from the act itself (People v Bracey, 41 NY2d 296, 301 [1977]) and a person is presumed to intend the natural consequence of his or her act (People v Thomas, 50 NY2d 467, 475 [1980]). We further find that the defense of justification (Penal Law §§ 35.00, 35.15 [1]) was disproven beyond a reasonable doubt (seePenal Law § 25.00 [1]). Consequently, contrary to defendant's contention, the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v Contes, 60 NY2d 620 [1983]), was legally sufficient to establish defendant's guilt of menacing in the second degree. Moreover, upon our exercise of our factual review power (CPL 470.15 [5]), we are satisfied that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v Danielson, 9 NY3d 342, 349 [2007]).

Accordingly, the judgment of conviction is affirmed.

Nicolai, P.J., Iannacci and LaSalle, JJ., concur. Decision Date: April 12, 2013

20130412

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