Recently, a New York appeals court published an opinion reversing a defendant’s conviction of assault in the third degree. Originally, the defendant was found guilty of three crimes, and on appeal, he argued that there was not enough evidence to prove he was guilty of one of the crimes. Breaking the crime into its elements, the court ultimately reversed part of the guilty verdict, delivering a favorable result for the defendant. Thus, while the defendant’s conviction stands in part, the Court reversed his conviction for assault in the third degree.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with three crimes: burglary in the second degree, assault in the third degree, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. The charges were based on a singular incident, and the defendant’s case eventually went to trial. At trial in February 2019, the jury found the defendant guilty of all three crimes, and the defendant was sentenced accordingly. He promptly appealed, asking the higher court to overturn the verdict.
On appeal, the defendant argued that one of the crimes, assault in the third degree, did not have enough evidentiary support to result in a guilty conviction. To be found guilty of assault, the prosecution must show that some kind of physical injury resulted from the incident in question. Prosecutors might bring in photos, video, audio, testimony from witnesses, medical records, expert medical testimony or testimony from the victim to support this element of the crime.
Here, said the court, it was clear that the prosecution failed to meet its burden on this particular element. There was no evidence supporting the conclusion that the victim had been physically injured. Given that this evidence was necessary in order to prove the defendant was guilty, its absence was enough to overturn the jury’s verdict.
Therefore, while the court kept in place the convictions for burglary and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, it reversed the defendant’s conviction for assault in the second degree. The court directed the trial court to re-sentence the defendant, which will almost certainly result in a lesser sentence than he originally received.
Are You Facing Charges for a Violent Crime in New York?
At Tilem & Associates, we help you preserve the things that you value most when you are facing criminal charges in New York. We have been serving the state for over 25 years, and we continue to get results because we meticulously get to know our clients, develop personalized solutions, and litigate aggressively to make sure our clients’ rights are well-protected. If you are looking for an attorney that can respond to your questions, calm your fears, and go the extra mile for you, look no further than Tilem & Associates.
For a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team, give us a call today at 877-377-8666 – we are available 24/7 to take your call and handle all types of assault and battery cases. You can also fill out our online form to have your questions answered.