Several interesting criminal procedure decisions were handed down in May by the New York Court of Appeals:
People v. Stone, 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 03559, 29 N.Y.3d 166 (May 4, 2017) (Court’s PDF) – Conviction affirmed where the defendant argued his right to confrontation was violated where a detective was permitted to testify that an unavailable witness had identified the defendant. The Court held that the trial court “eliminated any prejudice to defendant by striking the offending testimony from the record and instructing the jury to disregard the statements.”
People v. Bushey, 29 N.Y.3d 158, 53 N.Y.S.3d 604 (May 4, 2017) (Court’s PDF) – In this case, the Court held that a police officer may run a car’s license plate number through the government database without any suspicion of wrongdoing; that this does not constitute a search, and that any information obtained as result of such inquire may form probable cause for the police officer to stop the vehicle.
People v. Smalling, 29 N.Y.3d 981, 75 N.E.3d 665, 53 N.Y.S.3d 248 (May 2, 2017) (Court’s PDF) – In this case, the Court reversed a conviction and ordered a new trial where the trial court had agreed not to give a jury instruction on constructive possession but then ultimately did give such an instruction.