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People v. McCalla

Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Department

March 21, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT,
v.
KARL MCCALLA, ALSO KNOW AS FRANCIS NEWTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from a new sentence of the Monroe County Court (Frank P. Geraci, Jr., J.), rendered December 9, 2009 imposed upon defendant's conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. Defendant was resentenced pursuant to the 2005 Drug Law Reform Act upon his 1996 conviction.

TIMOTHY P. DONAHER, PUBLIC DEFENDER, ROCHESTER (KIMBERLY F. DUGUAY OF COUNSEL), FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

SANDRA DOORLEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ROCHESTER (NICOLE M. FANTIGROSSI OF COUNSEL), FOR RESPONDENT.

PRESENT: SCUDDER, P.J., CENTRA, FAHEY, PERADOTTO, AND WHALEN, JJ.

It is hereby ORDERED that the sentence so appealed from is unanimously affirmed.

Memorandum: Defendant appeals from a new sentence imposed by County Court pursuant to the 2005 Drug Law Reform Act (L 2005, ch 643, § 1), upon his 1996 conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (Penal Law § 220.18 [1]) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (§ 220.16 [1]). He was sentenced as a second felony offender and contends that he did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to challenge the constitutionality of his predicate conviction before being adjudicated a second felony offender. Defendant's contention is not preserved for our review and, in any event, we conclude that it lacks merit.

After reading the second felony offender information into the record, the prosecutor asked defendant if he had any constitutional challenges to the conviction, and he answered, "No ma'am." Defendant confirmed that he had spoken with defense counsel about the prior conviction, and he admitted that he was the same person who had been previously convicted. Subsequently, the court again asked defendant if he had any constitutional challenges to the predicate conviction, to which defendant answered, "Not pending, your Honor."

Defendant's contention, i.e., that the court should have conducted a further inquiry or held a hearing on any purported challenge to the constitutionality of the predicate conviction, " relate[s] to presentence procedures'..., and thus requires preservation" (People v Smith, 83 A.D.3d 470, 470, lv denied 17 N.Y.3d 801, quoting People v Samms, 95 N.Y.2d 52, 58). Defendant correctly concedes that he did not preserve his contention for our review (see People v Butler, 96 A.D.3d 1367, 1368, lv denied 20 N.Y.3d 931; People v Fidler, 28 A.D.3d 1220, 1221, lv denied 7 N.Y.3d 755; see generally People v Anderson, 48 A.D.3d 1065, 1066, lv denied 10 N.Y.3d 955).

In any event, defendant affirmatively waived any constitutional challenge to the predicate conviction when he informed the prosecutor that he did not have any challenges to the predicate conviction and admitted that conviction (see CPL 400.21 [7] [b]; People v Woolley, 289 A.D.2d 1084, 1084-1085, lv denied 98 N.Y.2d 682). Moreover, his subsequent statement to the court, i.e., that he had no "present basis for challenging" the predicate conviction, is sufficient to constitute a waiver of the right to challenge the predicate conviction (People v Carter, 76 A.D.3d 1139, 1140, lv denied 15 N.Y.3d 952). Regardless whether defendant stated that he had no challenges or no "pending" challenges to the predicate conviction, he "fail[ed] to challenge the underlying felony conviction at sentencing, " and was therefore properly sentenced as a second felony offender (People v Vandenburg, 254 A.D.2d 532, 535, lv denied 93 N.Y.2d 858; see People v Pane, 292 A.D.2d 850, 851, lv denied 98 N.Y.2d 653).


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