In 3-2 Decision, Second Department Reverses Manslaughter Conviction
Three men were standing in a park in Brooklyn when two other men jumped one of them, Anthony Dash. Dash was stabbed in the ensuing fight. A key prosecution witness, Lopez, identified appellant at trial as one of the men involved, but twice claimed that he could not see appellant’s hands.
A Sirois hearing was held, at which Lopez acknowledged having truthfully told the grand jury that appellant had swung a long kitchen knife at Dash. Lopez also said that someone had told him not to come to court or he would get hurt. The person who said this to Lopez, however, did not mention appellant. The court ruled that the People could present evidence of the threat to Lopez and introduce Lopez’s grand jury testimony into evidence.
In a 3-2 decision, the Second Department held that the court erred both in allowing Lopez to testify about the third-party threat and in admitting the grand jury testimony because there was insufficient proof linking the threat to appellant. Therefore, the court reversed appellant’s conviction of first-degree manslaughter and ordered a new trial.
Anders Nelson briefed and argued the case on behalf of Appellate Advocates.