People v. Contes

Decision Date01 September 1983
Citation467 N.Y.S.2d 349,454 N.E.2d 932,60 N.Y.2d 620
Parties, 454 N.E.2d 932 The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Joseph CONTES, Appellant.
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
OPINION OF THE COURT MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division, 91 A.D.2d 562, 457 N.Y.S.2d 45, should be affirmed.

Defendant was convicted of three counts of robbery in the first degree. The case against him rested largely on the identification testimony of a witness to the crime. That witness had had five to six minutes at the crime scene to observe defendant in excellent lighting conditions at close range. Immediately after the crime, the witness gave a detailed description of the perpetrator to police, including a tattoo which the witness had seen partially exposed. Defendant was arrested the next day and the witness, attending a lineup, identified him but with less than complete certainty. None of the subjects of the lineup had their arms exposed. After the lineup, defendant was shown a photograph of an arm with a tattoo, to which the witness responded that it appeared to be that of the assailant.

At trial, defendant was instructed to show the jury and the witness his tattooed arm, exposed only to the extent that the arm of the robber had been exposed. The witness then made a positive identification of defendant as the robber. Defendant, on this appeal, while not challenging the identification procedure, claims that the evidence of his guilt was legally insufficient. He contends that the only reason that the witness was able to positively identify defendant, after having been shown defendant's arm again at trial, was that he had been shown a photograph of defendant's tattooed arm some six months before trial. Defendant concludes that the basis of the witness's identification of defendant could not therefore have been observations made at the time of the crime.

The standard for reviewing the legal sufficiency of evidence in a criminal case is whether "after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt" (Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 [emphasis in original] ). Applying this standard, it cannot be said that the only rational...

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  • Gaiter v. Lord
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • February 9, 1996
    ...to sustain the conviction, courts view the evidence in a light most favorable to the People. People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 621, 454 N.E.2d 932, 932-33, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 349-50 (1983). 6 Steinberg, supra, 79 N.Y.2d at 683, 595 N.E.2d at 849, 584 N.Y.S.2d at 774. See also People v. White,......
  • Vasquez v. Poole
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    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • August 20, 2004
    ...ruled on this claim. It wrote: Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932), we find that it was legally sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt of burglary in the first degree and assault i......
  • Acosta v. Artuz
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • August 4, 2009
    ...846, 103 S.Ct. 103, 74 L.Ed.2d 93). Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see, People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932), we find that it was legally sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, up......
  • Copeland v. Walker
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • April 15, 2003
    ...when determining that the trial evidence was sufficient to sustain petitioner's conviction by relying on People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932 (1983), which incorporates the Jackson standard. Applying this correct standard of review, the Appellate Division reason......
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