Case Detail
CitationPeople v. Lebovits, 942 N.Y.S.2d 638 (N.Y. App. Div. 2012)
CrimeSex crimes
Pros. First NameUKN
Pros. Last NameUKN
Trial Year2010
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that: (1) prejudice arising from the prosecution's failure to turn over handwritten notes of an interview before the start of trial was not obviated by the trial court's remedial actions; (2) the prosecutor's comment on summation that the defense witness was an accused child molester was improper; and (3) the trial court's response to the prosecutor's improper comment on summation was also improper. The court reversed the defendant's conviction. "[T]he Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in declining to grant a mistrial. The People must turn over to the defense any prior statements by a witness which relate to the subject matter of that witness's testimony for use on cross-examination [citations omitted], and the material must be provided before the prosecutor's opening remarks (see CPL 240.45[1] ). As the People correctly concede, it was a violation of this rule to fail to turn over the handwritten notes of the interview between the complainant and the detective regarding the alleged bribery attempt by the defense's only witness before the start of the trial. Contrary to the People's contention, the prejudice to the defendant was not obviated by the remedial action taken by the trial court [citations omitted]. . . . Here, the untimely disclosure of the interview notes precluded the defense from fully and adequately preparing for cross-examination and set a trap for the defendant which had already sprung at the time the notes were finally furnished (id.). . . . [I]n light of the rabbi's unequivocal testimony that he had not sexually abused two young boys and had never been accused of doing so, the prosecutor's comment on summation that the rabbi was an accused child molester had no basis within the record and was improper. The Supreme Court's response, directing the jury that they will 'recall the evidence,' also was improper since, in light of the rabbi's denials, there was no evidence within the record from which the jury could draw an inference that the rabbi had been accused of molesting young boys."
Determination Year2012
Misconduct TypePT: Brady
TR: Inadmissible
C/S EffectNew trial
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
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