In a recent New York criminal case before the Appellate Division, Third Department, a New York defendant appealed his convictions of robbery in the first degree and robbery in the second degree. In his appeal, the defendant argued that the State failed to establish his identity as the person who committed the offense. The higher court, reviewing the trial court’s record, eventually disagreed with the defendant and affirmed his conviction and sentence. The case serves as an important illustration of the difficulties that defendants face when attempting to run a misidentification defense.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the proprietor of a local convenience store closed up shop around 2:30 a.m. one evening. As he was locking the store, two assailants grabbed him, held a knife to his body, and told him to take them into the convenience store. Once there, they ordered him to give them money from the cash register. The assailants both fled with several hundred dollars.
After several weeks of investigating the crime, officers arrested the defendant in this case as one of the two assailants. He was charged with several crimes, two of which were robbery in the first degree and robbery in the second degree. His case went to trial, and a jury found him guilty as charged. The defendant promptly appealed the guilty verdict.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the State failed to prove his identity during trial. The defendant argued that the State was unable to produce a single eyewitness that could have connected him to the crime. Without this kind of evidence, the State’s case failed, and the conviction should be overturned.
The higher court reviewed the defendant’s argument and ultimately rejected it. While it was true that the State did not bring any eyewitnesses, it did present video evidence of the proprietor being attacked. In this video, it was clear that the defendant and the assailant were the same person, and the State therefore met its burden in connecting the defendant to the crime. Thus, rather than presenting eyewitness testimony identifying the defendant, the prosecution relied on video evidence to meet its burden.
The court therefore affirmed the defendant’s convictions and related sentences.
Are You in Need of a Criminal Defense Attorney in the State of New York?
At Tilem & Associates, we have been serving New York for over 25 years as trusted criminal defense attorneys. Our specialty is protecting the freedoms of the clients who come to us for help because we believe that every person, no matter the circumstances, deserves top-notch representation. If you are looking for a thorough, aggressive, and experienced group of attorneys to help you navigate your charges, look no further. For a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team, give us a call today at 877-377-8666. You can also fill out our online “contact us” form if you would like to have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible regarding your case. We look forward to hearing from you.