Notable Decisions and Other News


Robbery Conviction Reversed


Appellant was on trial in Queens county for first-degree robbery and related charges when, during its deliberations, the jury sent a note indicating that “one juror feels she cannot make a decision based on the evidence presented to us.”  The court responded to the note without first reading it aloud to counsel or providing counsel with an opportunity to suggest a response.  Today, the Appellate Division held that the court's improper handling of the jury note violated People v. O’Rama, 78 N.Y.2d 270 (1991). Because appellant was deprived of both meaningful notice of the jury’s communication and a meaningful opportunity to participate in the court’s response in accordance with C.P.L. § 310.30, a "mode of proceedings error" occurred.  The court reversed the defendant’s conviction and ordered a new trial.  

Alexis A. Ascher briefed and argued the case for Appellate Advocates.