Tagged: charge errors

Supreme Court Reverses Conviction in Facebook-Threats Case

In a follow up to our previous post, the Supreme Court has now decided Elonis v. United States, reversing the conviction based on threats the defendant posted on Facebook against his ex-wife and others.  The Court held it was error for the lower court to instruct the jurors that the defendant could be convicted if the posts would be considered by a reasonable person to be threatening, characterizing that standard as one of traditional civil negligence.  The Court did not address the First Amendment issues concerning the criminalization of Facebook posts.

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Appellate Division, Second Department, Dismisses Indictment based on Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel

This week, in People v. Morales, 2013 NY Slip Op 5094, the Appellate Division, Second Department granted an application for a writ of error coram nobis and dismissed the indictment, finding that the defendant was deprived of the effective assistance of appellate counsel.  The court found that the guilty verdicts were repugnant, the trial  court had committed serious charge errors and omissions, and the prosecutor had committed prejudicial misconduct in his opening and closing statements.  It held that trial counsel was ineffective since counsel had failed to object to these prejudicial errors without any ”objectively reasonable and legitimate trial strategy.”  It then held that the defendant was deprived of the effective assistance of appellate counsel, who had failed to raise these serious trial errors as well as the ineffectiveness of trial counsel for failing to contest them.

Because the defendant had served his sentence, and because the repugnant convictions had to be dismissed in any event, the court dismissed the indictment.