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People v. Robinson

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

October 23, 2013

The People of the State of New York, respondent,
v.
William Robinson, appellant. Ind. No. 09-01241

John F. Ryan, White Plains, N.Y. (David B. Weisfuse of counsel), for appellant.

Janet DiFiore, District Attorney, White Plains, N.Y. (Raffaelina Gianfrancesco, Steven A. Bender, and Richard Longworth Hecht of counsel), for respondent.

RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., RUTH C. BALKIN, PLUMMER E. LOTT, SHERI S. ROMAN, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Westchester County (Hubert, J.), rendered February 17, 2011, convicting him of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. The appeal brings up for review two orders of protection issued at the time of sentencing.

ORDERED that upon the appeal from the judgment, the two orders of protection issued at the time of sentencing are vacated; and it is further,

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

The trial court has broad discretion in restricting the scope of voir dire by counsel (see People v Jean, 75 N.Y.2d 744, 745; People v Rodriguez, 240 A.D.2d 683, 683), and "[a] restriction on the time allotted for voir dire is generally permissible where defense counsel is afford[ed]... a fair opportunity to question prospective jurors about relevant matters'" (People v Littlejohn, 92 A.D.3d 898, 899, quoting People v Jean, 75 N.Y.2d at 745). Moreover, while "counsel has a right to inquire as to the qualifications of the veniremen [and venirewomen] and their prejudices so as to provide a foundation for a challenge for cause or a peremptory challenge, it is simply not the province of counsel to question prospective jurors as to their attitudes or knowledge of matters of law" (People v Boulware, 29 N.Y.2d 135, 141, cert denied 405 U.S. 995 [citation omitted]). Here, contrary to the defendant's contention, the record demonstrates that the County Court providently exercised its discretion in connection with the conduct of the voir dire process (see People v Jean, 75 N.Y.2d at 745; People v Littlejohn, 92 A.D.3d at 898-899; People v Thompson, 45 A.D.3d 876, 877; People v Rodriguez, 240 A.D.2d at 683).

The sentence imposed was not excessive (see People v Suitte, 90 A.D.2d 80).

However, under the particular circumstances of this case, the County Court improperly issued orders of protection in favor of two witnesses who testified on behalf of the People at trial (see CPL 530.13[4]). Accordingly, we vacate those orders of protection.

ENG, P.J., BALKIN, LOTT and ROMAN, JJ., concur.


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