Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Upon further review . . .

People v Linnan, 2006 NY Slip Op 05482 [available here

Back in November, 2005, the Fourth Department considered Paul Linnan’s appeal from his murder conviction. The transcripts from jury voir dire showed that a prospective juror indicated she would have a hard time remaining fair and impartial if forced to look at gruesome photographs. But instead of reversing Mr. Linnan’s conviction (based on the juror’s failure to give adequate unequivocal assurances of impartiality), the Fourth Department held decision and remanded to the trial court. Why? Because in their brief on appeal, “the People assert[ed] that the exchange attributed by the transcript to the prospective juror not challenged for cause ‘may well have’ involved the prospective juror challenged for cause, and that the prospective juror challenged for cause may thereby have rehabilitated herself as an impartial juror.” (People v Linnan, 23 AD2d 1013, 1013 [4th Dept 2005].) This seemed odd to me at the time.

So what happened on remand? The People “in effect conceded that the prospective juror challenged for cause was not the same prospective juror who made the expurgatory statements [...].” (People v Linnan, 2006 NY Slip Op 05482.) In other words, the People’s assertion in their first appellate brief was so much hog-wash, and the People conceded as much on remand. Meanwhile, Mr. Linnan’s reversal was delayed 8 months.