People v. Charleston

Decision Date15 June 1982
Citation56 N.Y.2d 886,453 N.Y.S.2d 399
Parties, 438 N.E.2d 1114 The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. James CHARLESTON, Appellant.
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
OPINION OF THE COURT MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division, 81 A.D.2d 1045, 440 N.Y.S.2d 800, should be affirmed.

Defendant was convicted, after a jury trial, of attempted murder in the second degree, attempted robbery in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. On this appeal, he argues that the Trial Judge's extensive participation in the questioning of witnesses deprived him of a fair trial. That claim, however, is not adequately preserved for this court's review.

A question of law for review in this court is presented on a claim of excessive interference by the Trial Judge when there has been an objection at trial in some form sufficient to give the Judge an opportunity to correct the problem or when it is clear from the record that objection would have been unavailing. As the court recognized in People v. Yut Wai Tom, 53 N.Y.2d 44, 55, 439 N.Y.S.2d 896, 422 N.E.2d 556. "Because a court is entitled to question witnesses to clarify testimony and to facilitate the progress of the trial, a defense attorney cannot be expected to enter an objection to the Trial Judge's conduct at the first sign of judicial overbearance." Nonetheless, after it becomes "clear that the Judge intends to exceed his permissible role and assume the advocate's function" 53 N.Y.2d, at p. 55, 439 N.Y.S.2d 896, 422 N.E.2d 556, it is incumbent upon defense counsel at least to attempt to register some protest to that conduct to preserve the matter for appellate review. In addition, the objection or objections must be of a nature to apprise the Trial Judge that it is his or her intrusion into the conduct of the trial that is at issue.

In the instant case, although defense counsel objected three times to questioning by the Trial Judge, the record indicates that the objections were directed to specific questions rather than to the Judge's general course of action or participation as a whole. By failing to call the Judge's attention to his allegedly prejudicial conduct, defendant did not offer him an opportunity to alter or correct it. Defendant also failed to move for a mistrial, which...

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153 cases
  • People v. Joseph
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
    • November 30, 2017
    ...did not object to any of the court's interventions that she now complains of (see CPL 470.05[2] ; People v. Charleston, 56 N.Y.2d 886, 887–888, 453 N.Y.S.2d 399, 438 N.E.2d 1114 [1982] ; People v. Ojeda, 118 A.D.3d 919, 919, 988 N.Y.S.2d 222 [2014] ; compare People v. Robinson, 151 A.D.3d 7......
  • People v. Tetro
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • March 20, 2020
    ...of defense counsel and defendant. Defendant failed to preserve that contention for our review (see People v. Charleston, 56 N.Y.2d 886, 887–888, 453 N.Y.S.2d 399, 438 N.E.2d 1114 [1982] ; People v. Fudge, 104 A.D.3d 1169, 1170, 960 N.Y.S.2d 792 [4th Dept. 2013], lv denied 21 N.Y.3d 1042, 97......
  • People v. Adams
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • April 3, 2014
    ...to a 9 millimeter semiautomatic handgun used in the shooting, is not preserved (CPL 470.05[2]; see People v. Charleston, 56 N.Y.2d 886, 453 N.Y.S.2d 399, 438 N.E.2d 1114 [1982];People v. Whitecloud, 110 A.D.3d 626, 973 N.Y.S.2d 216 [1st Dept.2013]; People v. Rios–Davilla, 64 A.D.3d 482, 883......
  • People v. Anderson
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • February 27, 2014
    ...assumed the role of an advocate by questioning witnesses excessively during the trial ( see People v. Charleston, 56 N.Y.2d 886, 887–888, 453 N.Y.S.2d 399, 438 N.E.2d 1114 [1982] ). In any event, as the questioning was limited to clarification of confusing testimony and did not favor either......
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