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Second Department Finds Document Inadmissible as "Business Record" and Orders New Trial in Grand Larceny Case

04/30/2015

Appellant Shanika Cordova was a toll booth cashier at a parking lot at JFK airport.  She was indicted after her employer, the Port Authority, accused her of pocketing over $6,000 in parking revenue from parking lot customers and then covering her tracks by manually entering information into the computer system to make it appear as if the transactions were complimentary.  

At her trial in Queens County, the court admitted into evidence a spreadsheet that purportedly contained a comparison of the defendant’s 571 manually-created computer transactions with data that had been automatically generated by the toll booth computer.  She was convicted of grand larceny in the third degree and falsifying business records in the first degree.  

On appeal, appellate counsel argued, inter alia, that the spreadsheet was inadmissible as a business record because it was not a document regularly made in the regular course of business by the Port Authority, whose central business was to manage parking facilities and collect revenue, not to create fraud cases against its employees. Holding that the People had “failed to establish a sufficient foundation to permit the court to admit [the spreadsheet] into evidence under the business record exception to the hearsay rule,” the Second Department reversed the defendant’s conviction and ordered a new trial. 

Melissa S. Horlick briefed and argued the case for Appellate Advocates.