Monday, February 26, 2007

AD2: Decisions for February 20, 2007

Single shot thru curtained window = depraved indifference murder

People v Fields, 2007 NY Slip Op 01584 [available here]

Breaking somewhat from the recent trend from the Court of Appeals, the Second Department upheld defendant's depraved indifference murder conviction based on a single shot fired through a "curtained window." (Fields, 2007 NY Slip Op 01584.) The Court held "the firing of a single shot through a doorway window, knowing that there were three people moving about on the other side of that doorway, was clearly reckless conducted which evinced a depraved indifference to human life. Indeed, the defendant had to have been aware that his actions could result in death to another person even if he could not be sure who the victim might be." (Id.)

Police following a running suspect is not pursuit; suspect running near crime scene with his hand on his waist established reasonable suspicion

People v Shankle, 2007 NY Slip Op 01598 [available here]

Police received a broadcast report of a shooting, and started toward the scene. About 2 1/2 blocks away, the officers saw "the defendant running from the direction of the reported shooting with his hand on his waist." (Shankle, 2007 NY Slip Op 01598.) One of the officers "stepped out and followed the defendant on foot, with his shield out but his gun not drawn. When he got to within 10 to 15 feet from the defendant, [the officer] stated: '[P]olice, don't move.'" (Id. at __.) Defendant then menaced the officer with a BB gun. (Id.) The Second Department held that the officer's "conduct before the defendant pointed the BB gun at him did not constitute pursuit or a seizure requiring reasonable suspicion." (Id.) Just so we're clear, a police officer pursuing a suspect is not "pursuit". The Court continued, "In any event, [the officer's] receipt of a radio report that a man had been shot about two and a half blocks away, together with his observation of the defendant running from that direction with his hand on his waist, were sufficient to support . . . a reasonable suspicion." (Id. at __.) So if you go jogging near probable crime scenes, keep your hands away from your waist.