As we have discussed, the defense of justification, or self-defense is one of the most important defenses that exist in New York criminal law. Once the defense of self defense is raised the burden is on the prosecution to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Recently, the Appellate Division, Second Department in New York denied a defendant’s appeal in a 2019 assault case in which the defense of self-defense was raised. Faced with the defendant’s appeal, the court looked at the entire trial record to see if it agreed with the defendant’s claim that he acted in self-defense. The Court pointed out that many of the issues raised on appeal were unpreserved for appellate review. Ultimately deciding the defendant’s argument was not persuasive, however, the court denied his appeal and kept the defendant’s original conviction and sentence in place.
The Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant faced criminal charges after he hit the victim of his in the face with an unknown hard object. The defendant hit the acquaintance multiple times with the object, then proceeded to punch him in the face. After the incident, the victim was rushed to the hospital, where he received emergency treatment and reconstructive surgery for his injuries.
The State charged the defendant with assault in the first degree. His case went to trial, after which a group of jurors unanimously found him guilty. The court sentenced the defendant to time in prison, and he promptly appealed. The higher court issued a decision on the appeal in July 2023.