Tuesday, June 05, 2007

AD2: Decisions for May 22, 2007

Lengthy prior criminal history, poor prison disciplinary record and subsequent murder conviction = no DLRA resentencing

People v Vega, 2007 NY Slip Op 04521 [available here]

Mr. Vega petitioned to be resentenced under the Drug Law Reform Act (DLRA). The lower court declined to resentence Mr. Vega, and the Second Department affirmed. "The defendant is a second felony offender with a prior criminal history dating back to 1988, including convictions of other controlled substance offenses, and he was subsequently convicted of murder in the second degree. Moreover, his prison disciplinary record was poor. Under the circumstances, substantial justice dictated that the motion be denied." (Vega, 2007 NY Slip Op 04521.)

No postrelease supervision? No problem.

People v Martinez, 2007 NY Slip Op 04512 [available here]

On his plea of guilty to Robbery in the First Degree, Mr. Martinez was sentenced as a second felony offender to an eight year determinate prison term. Although a term of postrelease supervision is a required part of the sentence for first-degree robbery, no mention of a postrelease supervision term was mentioned at sentencing, and postrelease supervision was not included in the court's order of commitment. (Martinez, 2007 NY Slip Op 04512.) On appeal, Mr. Martinez argued that his sentence was illegal, and that he was entitled to withdraw his plea. The Second Department disagreed, holding "the sentence actually imposed by the court never included, and does not now include, any period of postrelease supervision . . . [i]nasmuch as the defendant received precisely the sentence for which he bargained, he has failed to articulate any reason for vacating his judgment of conviction pursuant to CPL 440.10(1)(h), and we therefore affirm the denial of his motion." (Id. at )__.) As I have mentioned before here and here, the Fourth Department would have vacated the sentence as illegal, whether the defendant requested it or not.

Leaving the scene of an accident does not require proof of culpable mental state

People v Toussaint, 2007 NY Slip Op 04517 [available here]

On appeal, Mr. Toussaint argued that his conviction for leaving the scene of an accident should be reversed because the court failed "to instruct the jury that the defendant could only be found guilty if he had intentionally left the scene of the accident." (Toussaint, 2007 NY Slip Op 04517.) The Second Department affirmed. While the statute "requires proof that the defendant knew or had cause to know 'that a personal injury has been caused by his culpability or by accident,' the statute 'does not require the People to establish that the defendant acted with any culpable mental state as to [the element of] leaving the scene of the accident.'" (Id. at __ [citations omitted, brackets in original].)