People v. Smith

APPELLATE TERM
SECOND DEPARTMENT
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Per Curiam

Smith appealed from a judgment convicting him of attempted assault in the third degree, menacing in the third degree and second degree harassment. The accusatory instrument noted a domestic incident occurred between Smith and complainant, his wife, Evelyn, where Smith allegedly repeatedly punched her in the head. On appeal, Smith's arguments were limited to the propriety of a Molineux and Sandoval ruling, and the propriety of the Criminal Court's decision not to permit Smith to introduce certain text messages into evidence. The unanimous panel found evidence that Smith assaulted his wife on three prior occasions had little probative value, but was highly prejudicial. It noted all the incidents were close in time to the charged crime involving facts almost identical to the instant crime, and such similarities of the uncharged crimes and the instant crime raised an inference Smith was of a criminal disposition, thus likely committed the charged crime. Hence, the panel ruled the criminal court improvidently admitted evidence of Smith's uncharged crimes, and of his prior assault conviction. The panel stated the court's Sandoval ruling was counter to any reasonable balancing of the relevant factors, reversing conviction and remitting the matter for a new trial.

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