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People v. Wilson

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

June 19, 2013

The People of the State of New York, respondent,
v.
Anthony G. Wilson, appellant. Ind. No. 2835-08

Robert C. Mitchell, Riverhead, N.Y. (Laurette D. Mulry of counsel), for appellant.

Thomas J. Spota, District Attorney, Riverhead, N.Y. (Rosalind C. Gray of counsel), for respondent.

PETER B. SKELOS, J.P. RUTH C. BALKIN LEONARD B. AUSTIN SANDRA L. SGROI, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Suffolk County (Weber, J.), rendered December 4, 2009, convicting him of burglary in the second degree and imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

The County Court properly denied the defendant's request to conduct a Frye hearing (see Frye v Unites States, 293 F 1013 [Ct App DC]), with respect to a latent fingerprint comparison identifying him as a perpetrator in the charged crime. New York courts evaluate the admissibility of expert testimony under the Frye test (see id.; People v Wernick, 89 N.Y.2d 111), pursuant to which such testimony must be based on principles that are generally accepted in the relevant scientific community (see People v LeGrand, 8 N.Y.3d 449; People v Wernick, 89 N.Y.2d 111; People v Wesley, 83 N.Y.2d 417). A "court need not hold a Frye hearing where it can rely upon previous rulings in other court proceedings as an aid in determining the admissibility of the proffered testimony" (People v LeGrand, 8 N.Y.3d at 458). Given the longstanding acceptance of fingerprint evidence by New York courts (see e.g. People v Roach, 215 NY 592; People v Burnell, 89 A.D.3d 1118, 1121-1122; People v Wofford, 66 A.D.3d 1404, 1404; People v Garcia, 299 A.D.2d 493, 493), the County Court properly determined that a Frye hearing was not necessary here.

Contrary to the defendant's contention, since he did not demonstrate the necessity for the appointment of fingerprint experts on his behalf under County Law § 722-c, the County Court providently exercised its discretion in denying his request to appoint such experts (see People v Moore, 125 A.D.2d 501; see also People v Robinson, 70 A.D.3d 728, 728).

SKELOS, J.P., BALKIN, AUSTIN and SGROI, JJ., concur.


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