appeals from the judgment of the Supreme Court, New York
County (Ruth Pickholz, J.), rendered January 6, 2014,
convicting him, after a jury trial, of robbery in the second
degree and grand larceny in the fourth degree, and imposing
S. Dean, Center for Appellate Litigation, New York (Carl S.
Kaplan counsel), for appellant.
R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney, New York (Patrick J. Hynes
of counsel), for respondent.
Rolando T. Acosta, J.P., Dianne T. Renwick, Richard T.
Andrias, David B. Saxe, Judith J. Gische, JJ.
main issue on appeal centers on the definition of threat of
immediate use of force in the context of a robbery conviction
(see Penal Law § 160.00). Defendant argues that
the element of force was not established beyond a reasonable
doubt with respect to her robbery in the second degree
conviction (Penal Law § 160.10), because neither
defendant nor her codefendant ever touched the complainant
and the threat of use of force was in fact not a threat of
immediate harm. Rather, defendant contends, it was a threat
of possible future harm, delivered by verbal threat
indicating that calls were going to be made to others, and
that the others, once notified, would come to the scene at
some time in the future possibly to harm the complainant. We
disagree, because the threat in this case was part of a chain
of actions by defendant and her codefendant, by which they
conveyed the impression that disobeying their demands would
result in imminent physical harm. Defendant's other
arguments are also meritless.
December 6, 2012, at around 9:00 p.m., Carlos Diaz made a
food delivery at an apartment building at 367 Madison Street
in Manhattan. The entrance to the building was set back from
the sidewalk by about one-half of a city block.
Diaz arrived, he locked his bicycle outside the building and
saw defendant and her codefendant, Ruby Verdi,  standing in
front of an adjacent apartment building. As Diaz got to the
front of 367 Madison Street, Verdi approached him and asked
him if he wanted to have sex with her, and he responded no.
Verdi followed Diaz as he entered the building and walked
into the elevator.
the elevator, Verdi grabbed Diaz's private parts and
propositioned him for sex in exchange for $20. Diaz again
refused the offer. Once Diaz had delivered the food and
gotten back into the elevator to go downstairs, Verdi again
followed him and grabbed him and told him to have sex with
her. When Diaz again refused, Verdi told him that if he did
not give her $20 dollars she was going to scream and that she
would call the police and tell them that Diaz had tried to
the elevator reached the ground floor, Diaz exited the
building and walked toward his bicycle, with Verdi following
behind. Defendant was standing near Diaz's bicycle,
leaning against it, preventing him from unchaining it. Verdi
told defendant that she had had sex with Diaz inside the
elevator but Diaz did not want to pay her. Defendant told
Diaz to pay Verdi, but Diaz refused to do so, denying that he
had had sex with Verdi. Defendant demanded $20 from Diaz,
telling him that if he did not pay, "she was going to
call her boyfriend, he was a tall black guy, and he would
beat [Diaz] up." She also threatened to call the police.
saw a black male exiting the adjacent apartment building,
holding a cell phone. Defendant walked over to the man, and
the two began to speak. Diaz could not hear the conversation,
but he observed the man make a gesture with his cell phone as
if he were about to call someone. At the same time, Verdi
"grabbed" Diaz's bicycle, and prevented him
from unchaining it.
returned to where Diaz was standing and told him "her
boyfriend was coming over and they were going to bring more
people to beat [him] up." Diaz became "scared,
" and gave Verdi $20. Defendant then demanded that Diaz
give her $20 as well, and Diaz complied. The women then let
returned to the restaurant about two minutes later and
reported the incident to his boss, who called the police.
Approximately 30 minutes later, defendant and Verdi were
arrested. As defendant was entering the patrol car, she
dropped two $20 bills on the ground.
argues on appeal that the evidence was legally insufficient
to establish her guilt of robbery in the second degree and
grand larceny in the fourth degree, and that, in the
alternative, the jury's verdict was against the weight of
the evidence. With respect to her robbery conviction,
defendant argues that the People failed to demonstrate that
she threatened Diaz with the immediate use of physical force,
since she told Diaz that the man that was standing outside
the adjacent building was going to call his friends to beat
up Diaz, and that, "[s]ince the verbal threat, by its
words, indicated that calls were going to be ...