People v. Blue

Decision Date06 November 1989
Citation155 A.D.2d 472,547 N.Y.S.2d 134
PartiesThe PEOPLE, etc., Respondent, v. Luther BLUE, Appellant.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Philip L. Weinstein, New York City (Rosali Vazquez, of counsel), for appellant.

John J. Santucci, Dist. Atty., Kew Gardens (Gary Fidel, of counsel), for respondent.

Before MANGANO, J.P., and THOMPSON, BRACKEN and ROSENBLATT, JJ.

MEMORANDUM BY THE COURT.

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Beerman, J.), rendered August 18, 1988, convicting him of robbery in the third degree, and grand larceny in the fourth degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is reversed, on the law and as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice, and a new trial is ordered.

In this case based solely upon the identification testimony of a single witness, the defendant was deprived of a fair trial by testimony bolstering the identification by that witness. The complainant, who was the victim of a gunpoint robbery with which the defendant was charged, pointed the defendant out to the police as they canvassed the area surrounding the crime scene. On the basis of her identification, the police arrested the defendant. At trial, the complainant testified as to this identification. On the People's direct case, the prosecutor elicited testimony from the arresting officer that he arrested the defendant after the complainant had identified him and after ensuring that the complainant was certain of her identification. This testimony constituted a clear violation of the bolstering rule enunciated in People v. Trowbridge, 305 N.Y. 471, 113 N.E.2d 841 and its progeny (see, People v. Holt, 67 N.Y.2d 819, 501 N.Y.S.2d 641, 492 N.E.2d 769; People v. Vasquez, 120 A.D.2d 757, 502 N.Y.S.2d 282; People v. Felder, 108 A.D.2d 869, 485 N.Y.S.2d 576). The trial court sustained defense counsel's objection and ordered stricken the testimony of the officer as to the certainty of the complainant's out-of-court identification. Notwithstanding the court's order, the prosecutor pursued this line of questioning and compounded the error by asking the arresting officer how many times he had inquired of the complainant as to the certainty of her identification. The defense counsel's objection thereto was overruled. Thus, although the arresting officer's earlier testimony as to complainant's identification was not admitted into evidence, that testimony...

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7 cases
  • People v. Buie
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • October 26, 1995
    ...305 N.Y. 471, 113 N.E.2d 841, supra; see also, People v. Holt, 67 N.Y.2d 819, 501 N.Y.S.2d 641, 492 N.E.2d 769; People v. Blue, 155 A.D.2d 472, 547 N.Y.S.2d 134. The undeviating rationale behind this rule is that such identification evidence is hearsay, not falling within any exception (Peo......
  • People v. Wallace
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • November 18, 1992
    ...no serious issue upon the point" (People v. Caserta, supra, 19 N.Y.2d at 21, 277 N.Y.S.2d 647, 224 N.E.2d 82; see also, People v. Blue, 155 A.D.2d 472, 547 N.Y.S.2d 134). We further conclude that defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Counsel failed to object to the admis......
  • People v. Lacy
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • October 2, 1990
    ...after insuring that complainant was certain of her identification (People v. Trowbridge, 305 N.Y. 471, 113 N.E.2d 841; People v. Blue, 155 A.D.2d 472, 547 N.Y.S.2d 134), the error was harmless inasmuch as there was overwhelming proof of guilt, and no significant probability that defendant w......
  • People v. Veal
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • February 20, 1990
    ...there [was] no serious issue upon the point" (People v. Caserta, 19 N.Y.2d 18, 21, 277 N.Y.S.2d 647, 224 N.E.2d 82; see, People v. Blue, 155 A.D.2d 472, 547 N.Y.S.2d 134; cf., People v. Johnson, 57 N.Y.2d 969, 457 N.Y.S.2d 230, 443 N.E.2d 478). In addition, the trial court improvidently exe......
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