Notable Decisions and Other News


Second Department Dismisses Assault and Burglary Convictions


Appellate Advocates client Taron Samuels was charged with first-degree assault (two counts), first-degree gang assault, first-degree burglary (two counts), and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, among other crimes.  The People contended that “appellant alone” caused serious physical injury to the complainant by slashing him with an “unidentified dangerous instrument.”  The jury convicted Mr. Samuels of the assault, gang assault, and burglary counts, but acquitted him of criminal possession of a weapon.

Noting that the jury had acquitted Mr. Samuels of criminal possession of a weapon, the Second Department held that the assault and gang assault convictions were against the weight of the evidence.  The Court also reversed Mr. Samuels’s conviction on the burglary counts because the trial court had erroneously instructed the jury that the People were required to prove that appellant “unlawfully entered and remained” in the complainant’s dwelling, and the People did not object to the charge or satisfy the heavier burden. 

Ronald Zapata briefed and argued the case on behalf of Appellate Advocates.