Notable Decisions and Other News


New Trial Ordered in Burglary Case

October 27, 2015

Appellate Advocates client Baruc Velez was found inside someone else’s apartment in the middle of the night.  There was evidence that, earlier in the evening, he had illegally entered another apartment.  Mr. Velez testified that he had consumed two liters of Scotch and a lot of cocaine and was “not thinking right” at the time of the incident.  Despite this and other evidence of his intoxication, the trial court refused to instruct the jury that it could consider the intoxication evidence in determining whether Mr. Velez had the intent necessary to commit the charged crimes.  The jury convicted Mr. Velez of second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal trespass, criminal mischief (two counts), and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. 

The Second Department vacated the second-degree burglary and criminal mischief convictions and ordered a new trial on those counts.  (The court held that the error was harmless as to the criminal trespass and criminal possession of a controlled substance counts and affirmed those convictions.)     

Nao Terai briefed and argued the case for Appellate Advocates.