Tripp v. Williams

Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Jack Battaglia

In this personal injury action, Olaskowitz moved to preclude Tripp and co-defendants from making reference of his prior criminal conviction at trial arguing they were unduly prejudicial, remote in time and did not involve moral turpitude. Tripp claimed he sustained an injury when a masonry wall located between Olaskowitz's and co-defendants' property collapsed. Olaskowitz was previously arrested and convicted on sexual conduct charges, and the court noted such convictions would be relevant to his credibility at trial. Yet, it noted no appellate authority revealed the permitted use of a criminal conviction, for any crime, older than 25 years and where the party was released from incarceration over 20 years before. Also, as the issue was if the wall was located partially on Olaskowitz's property, his testimony and credibility was of limited materiality on such issue. Hence, the court concluded, weighing the probative value of Olaskowitz's convictions, dissipated by a long passage of time, against the possibility of prejudice inherent in the crimes, the use of such convictions for Olaskowitz's impeachment should be precluded.

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