Common Evidentiary Issues in New York Criminal Cases

New York criminal trial lawyers know that New York criminal trials are all governed by the New York Rules of Evidence (NYRE). The NYRE cover which evidence is admissible and how courts should go about determining whether contested evidence should be admitted and presented to the jury. Given the importance of the matter, many New York criminal trials involve lengthy and detailed arguments about which evidence is admissible in a series of pre-trial motions.

Through either a motion in limine or a motion to suppress, parties are able to deal with evidentiary issues in advance of them arising at trial. This has the benefit of preventing the jury from ever hearing certain evidence, rather than objecting to the evidence as it arises and then relying on a curative instruction given by the judge in hopes of preventing the inadmissible evidence from having an effect on the jury’s decision.

Not all evidentiary issues can be resolved in advance of trial, however. In some cases, a witness testifies to an unanticipated fact. In these situations, an experienced criminal defense attorney must object in a timely manner, state the basis of the objection, and be prepared to argue why the objection should be sustained and the testimony stricken. If a defendant fails to object to certain evidence, including witness testimony, in a timely manner, the issue will be waived for appellate review. A recent court opinion in a New York sex crime case alleging the defendant engaged in predatory sexual assault illustrates several common evidentiary issues.

The Case

The defendant was convicted of predatory sexual assault against a child based on evidence that included testimony from the alleged victim’s aunt. Evidently, the child first disclosed the alleged abuse to the aunt. Prosecutors had the aunt testify regarding what the child told her and when in an attempt to explain the investigatory process.

The defendant claimed that the aunt’s testimony constituted impermissible hearsay and should have been excluded from trial. The defendant objected at trial, but the objection was overruled and the evidence allowed. The defendant appealed; however, the court overruled the objection, explaining that the prosecutor’s purpose in introducing the evidence was not for the purpose of eliciting hearsay but to help the jury understand the investigative process.

The defendant also raised several other issues in his appellate brief. However, the court refused to consider these arguments because they were not made below, and thus the court considered them to have been waived.

Have You Been Arrested for a New York Sex Crime?

If you have recently been arrested and charged with sexual assault in or around the New York City area, you should consult with the dedicated New York criminal defense attorneys at the law firm of Tilem & Associates. At Tilem & Associates, we represent those who have been charged with serious crimes against the charges they face. We do everything possible to ensure that our clients’ rights are respected and that the charges they face have as little impact on their lives as possible. To learn more, call 877-377-8666 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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