People v. Bofill

CourtNew York Court of General Sessions
Writing for the CourtTHOMAS DICKENS
Citation34 Misc.2d 574,229 N.Y.S.2d 93
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York v. James BOFILL, Defendant.
Decision Date12 June 1962

Page 93

229 N.Y.S.2d 93
34 Misc.2d 574
The PEOPLE of the State of New York
v.
James BOFILL, Defendant.
Court of General Sessions, New York County.
June 12, 1962.

Frank S. Hogan, Dist. Atty. (by Robert E. Goldman, New York City, of counsel), for the People.

James Bofill, in pro. per.

Page 94

THOMAS DICKENS, Judge.

An indictment for murder in the first degree (felony murder) found by the grand jury in 1950 against defendant and others, was thereafter reduced to murder in the second degree as to this defendant when in 1951 he made a confession in open court as his part of a compromise.

Now he comes into court through the medium of this coram nobis motion and asks that the judgment of conviction be nullified because----

1. The Court had no right to accept the plea of second degree murder, a crime which he had not committed and for which he had not been indicted.

2. The district attorney used 'Psychological trickery,' as defendant calls it, by arranging for the co-defendants to plead [34 Misc.2d 575] guilty to manslaughter at a time when defendant was confined in prison and was, by reason thereof, unable to be present.

3. The district attorney, induced by favoritism, allowed the co-defendants to plead guilty to the lower crime of manslaughter, while, on the other hand, he allowed defendant to plead guilty to the higher crime of murder in the second degree.

Least and most, I am confronted with a much ado about nothing; yet I shall consider the merits of defendant's petition in order to bring home to defendant the fact that his alleged criticisms can, with approval, hold no place in the law, for lacking legal vigor, the subject of these criticisms being merely incidents appearing on the face of the record. See Eli Frank on Coram Nobis, p. 53, par. 3 .02[a] and Supp., with miscellaneous authoritative examples thereunder.

Specification '1.'--A court has judicial power to entertain and accept a plea of guilty reduced from felony murder to second degree murder. Matter of Dodd v. Martin, 248 N.Y. 394, 162 N.E. 293; People v. Snelling, 33 Misc.2d 735, 227 N.Y.S.2d 143. See also, Code of Criminal Procedure, § 342-a. The same goes to a plea of guilty from first degree murder to any of the lower degrees. People v. Smith, 78 Hun 179, 60 N.Y. 246, 28 N.Y.S. 912, 9 Cr.Rep. 233. There is no prohibition in the law against pleading to a non-capital crime (lower degrees of homicide) under an indictment charging a capital crime (murder, first degree), and for obtaining a conviction thereon. People v. Lyons, 19 Misc.2d 606, 196 N.Y.S.2d 446. As examples of cases in which the change of homicide pleas was involved, see People v. McGuire, 13 A.D.2d 794, 215 N.Y.S.2d 618; People v. Van Orden, 174 Misc. 65, 19 N.Y.S.2d 938; People v. Ross, 12 A.D.2d 722, 208 N.Y.S.2d 97. This sort of contention, the late Judge Wallace decried as, 'so much poppycock' and as, 'arrant nonsense,' in People v. Lyons, 19 Misc.2d 606, 608, 196 N.Y.S.2d 446, 449,

Page 95

supra. See also, People ex rel. Johnson v. Martin, 283 App.Div. 478, 128 N.Y.S.2d 690, affirmed 307 N.Y. 713, 121 N.E.2d 538.

Specification '2.'--The exclusion of fraud from this charge made against the district attorney, seems to have prompted defendant to offer this benevolent remark in stressing its exclusion (Petition, p. 14):

'Nowhere in this petition presented to this court does petitioner claim or assert that the District Attorney or his assistant used or resorted to fraud to obtain a conviction and judgment on date herein mentioned. To accuse said Court officials of fraud would be in...

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3 practice notes
  • People v. Newsome
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • November 7, 1966
    ...the defendants, and therefore, the defendants' challenge proves itself to be without legal substance and footless. In People v. Bofill, 34 Misc.2d 574, 229 N.Y.S.2d 93, I, as the Judge in that case, ruled in accordance with the theorem expounded in People ex rel. Epstein v. Lawes, 164 Misc.......
  • People ex rel. Fonseca v. LaVallee
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • May 21, 1970
    ...and second degree murder did not render the conviction invalid (People v. Ragonese, 55 Misc.2d 105, 284 N.Y.S.2d 579; People v. Bofill, 34 Misc.2d 574, 229 N.Y.S.2d 93; People v. Lyons, 19 Misc.2d 606, 196 N.Y.S.2d 446). Article I, section 6 of the New York Constitution or the precepts of d......
  • People v. Lewis
    • United States
    • New York County Court
    • December 20, 1967
    ...350; see also, People v. Vitale, 211 App.Div. 814, 206 N.Y.S. 947; People v. Longe, 269 App.Div. 474, 57 N.Y.S.2d 337; People v. Bofill, 34 Misc.2d 574, 229 N.Y.S.2d 93; People v. Wright, 263 App.Div. 1020, 33 N.Y.S.2d 1009. Although Special Session did not specify, it properly denied defen......
3 cases
  • People v. Newsome
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • November 7, 1966
    ...the defendants, and therefore, the defendants' challenge proves itself to be without legal substance and footless. In People v. Bofill, 34 Misc.2d 574, 229 N.Y.S.2d 93, I, as the Judge in that case, ruled in accordance with the theorem expounded in People ex rel. Epstein v. Lawes, 164 Misc.......
  • People ex rel. Fonseca v. LaVallee
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • May 21, 1970
    ...and second degree murder did not render the conviction invalid (People v. Ragonese, 55 Misc.2d 105, 284 N.Y.S.2d 579; People v. Bofill, 34 Misc.2d 574, 229 N.Y.S.2d 93; People v. Lyons, 19 Misc.2d 606, 196 N.Y.S.2d 446). Article I, section 6 of the New York Constitution or the precepts of d......
  • People v. Lewis
    • United States
    • New York County Court
    • December 20, 1967
    ...350; see also, People v. Vitale, 211 App.Div. 814, 206 N.Y.S. 947; People v. Longe, 269 App.Div. 474, 57 N.Y.S.2d 337; People v. Bofill, 34 Misc.2d 574, 229 N.Y.S.2d 93; People v. Wright, 263 App.Div. 1020, 33 N.Y.S.2d 1009. Although Special Session did not specify, it properly denied defen......

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