Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Bell, 838 N.Y.S.2d 341 (N.Y. App. Term 2007)
CrimeNon-violent, other
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2005
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, held that evidence was legally insufficient to support a conviction for aggravated harassment, and even if the conviction for was based on legally sufficient evidence, the admission of prior conduct evidence warranted a reversal. "Even if we were to conclude that defendant's aggravated harassment conviction is based on legally sufficient evidence, the conviction, as well as defendant's remaining conviction, must still be reversed on the ground that the trial court improperly admitted highly prejudicial evidence of prior crimes [citation omitted]. Generally, such evidence is inadmissible if its sole purpose is to show a defendant's bad character or criminal propensity [citation omitted]. . . .Here, the sheer volume and inflammatory nature of the proof allowed was unduly prejudicial to defendant notwithstanding its theoretical relevance. Some of the prior conduct was almost identical to the conduct for which defendant was charged and its prejudicial impact was exacerbated by the prosecutor's excessive, improper comment thereon. Indeed, the prosecutor repeatedly exceeded the bounds of the court's Molineux ruling by eliciting references to defendant's prior incarceration and criminal history. Although some of the errors are not preserved, we consider them in the interest of justice [citation omitted] and conclude that their cumulative effect deprived defendant of a fair trial." Since the defendant had already served out his sentence, the indictment was dismissed.
Determination Year2007
Misconduct TypeTR: Inadmissible
TR: Inflammatory
C/S EffectReversal of conviction
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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