Notable Decisions and Other News

Decisions

Evidence of Depraved Indifference During High-Speed Chase Insufficient

7/1/2014

Mr. Maldonado led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle through the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, weaving in and out of traffic to avoid hitting any vehicles or pedestrians.  He nevertheless struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the street. After trial, he was convicted of depraved indifference murder and the Appellate Division affirmed his conviction.

In a 5-2 decision, the Court of Appeals held that the circumstances of the high-speed police chase did not fit within the "narrow category" of cases where the facts show a defendant’s utter "disregard for human life.”  Accordingly, the Court modified Mr. Maldonado’s conviction by reducing it to second-degree manslaughter, and remanded the case to the trial court for sentencing on the lesser conviction.

This case was briefed and argued by Joshua Levine.