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People v. Totesau

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

December 26, 2013

The People of the State of New York, respondent,
v.
Troy Totesau, appellant. Ind. No. 1916/09

Marianne Karas, Thornwood, N.Y., for appellant, and appellant pro se.

Kathleen M. Rice, District Attorney, Mineola, N.Y. (Andrea M. DiGregorio and Ames C. Grawert of counsel), for respondent.

REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., MARK C. DILLON, CHERYL E. CHAMBERS, SYLVIA O. HINDS-RADIX, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Ayres, J.), rendered February 7, 2011, convicting him of robbery in the first degree (two counts), burglary in the first degree (two counts), robbery in the second degree, attempted assault in the second degree (four counts), and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree (five counts), upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. The appeal brings up for review the denial, after a hearing (Kase, J.), of that branch of the defendant's omnibus motion which was to suppress physical evidence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

The defendant's contention that certain physical evidence found by the police inside the car being driven by the defendant when he was stopped should have been suppressed is without merit.

The defendant's contention that the evidence was legally insufficient to support his conviction of robbery in the first degree under count one of the indictment and burglary in the first degree under count six of the indictment, which are both predicated on the theory that the defendant used or threatened to use a dangerous instrument, is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05 [2]; People v Hawkins, 11 N.Y.3d 484, 492; People v Hira, 100 A.D.3d 922, 923-924; People v Serrano, 74 A.D.3d 1104, 1105). In any event, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620), we find that it was legally sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt of those crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, in fulfilling our responsibility to conduct an independent review of the weight of the evidence (see CPL 470.15[5]; People v Danielson, 9 N.Y.3d 342), we nevertheless accord great deference to the jury's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear the testimony, and observe demeanor (see People v Mateo, 2 N.Y.3d 383, cert denied 542 U.S. 946; People v Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 495). Upon reviewing the record here, we are satisfied that the verdict of guilt as to those crimes was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v Romero, 7 N.Y.3d 633).

The defendant's contention that the Supreme Court erred in allowing into evidence certain expert testimony regarding DNA found on a ski mask is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05[2]; People v Joseph, 97 A.D.3d 838, 839; People v Laigo, 70 A.D.3d 970, 971) and, in any event, without merit (see People v Joseph, 97 A.D.3d at 839). Similarly, the defendant's contention that the testimony of several police officers improperly bolstered the complainants' identification testimony (see People v Trowbridge, 305 NY 471) is unpreserved for appellate review (see People v West, 56 N.Y.2d 662, 663; People v Lassiter, 74 A.D.3d 1094; People v Melendez, 51 A.D.3d 1040, 1041), and, in any event, without merit (see People v Lassiter, 74 A.D.3d at 1094; People v Moore, 159 A.D.2d 521, 522).

The defendant's contention that various remarks made by the prosecutor during the opening statement and the summation were improper and deprived him of a fair trial is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05[2]). In any event, while some of the comments would have been better left unsaid, the defendant was not deprived of a fair trial thereby, and any other error in this regard was harmless in light of the overwhelming evidence of the defendant's guilt, and the fact that there is no significant probability that the comments contributed to the defendant's conviction (see People v Crimmins, 36 N.Y.2d 230, 241-242).

The defendant's contention that the Supreme Court improperly failed to conduct a hearing to determine the proper amount of restitution is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05[2]; People v Horne, 97 N.Y.2d 404, 414 n 3; People v Harris, 72 A.D.3d 1110, 1112-1113; People v Baez, 52 A.D.3d 840) and, in any event, without merit, since the Supreme Court properly made a finding of the amount of actual loss sustained by the victims, based upon sufficient evidence in the record (see People v Kim, 91 N.Y.2d 407, 410-411; People v Harris, 72 A.D.3d at 1112; People v Lawson, 65 A.D.3d 1380; People v Charles, 309 A.D.2d 873, 874). Similarly, the defendant's contention that the Supreme Court was required to determine his ability to pay is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05[2]), and, in any event, without merit (see People v Harris, 72 A.D.3d at 1112-1113 ; People v Henry, 64 A.D.3d 804, 807).

The defendant's remaining contentions, including the remaining contentions raised in his supplemental pro se brief, are without merit.

RIVERA, J.P., DILLON, CHAMBERS and HINDS-RADIX, JJ., concur.


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