People v. Flynn

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtLOUGHRAN
Citation48 N.E.2d 495,290 N.Y. 220
Decision Date15 April 1943
PartiesPEOPLE v. FLYNN.

290 N.Y. 220
48 N.E.2d 495

PEOPLE
v.
FLYNN.

Court of Appeals of New York.

April 15, 1943.


[48 N.E.2d 495]

Appeal from Court of General Sessions, New York County; Jacob Gould Schurman, Jr., Judge.

William Flynn was convicted of murder in the first degree in the court of general sessions of the County of New York, Schurman, J., on October 22, 1942, and he appeals.

Judgment reversed, and new trial ordered.

Rudolph Stand, John McKim Minton, Jr., and A. Haskell Schwartz, all of New York City, for appellant.

Frank S. Hogan, Dist. Atty., of New York City (Stanley H. Fuld and David Riesman, both of New York City, of counsel), for respondent.


LOUGHRAN, Judge.

The defendant has been convicted of murder in the first degree.

On the night of January 21, 1940, he entered a bar and grill in the city of New York intending to commit robbery therein. Among the patrons who were in the place at the time were Claude Phelps and Oscar Ryan. Brandishing a revolver, the defendant said: ‘This is a stick-up. Get in the back.’ Ryan was a police officer but was not wearing his uniform. He drew his service revolver which chanced to be unloaded. Thereupon the defendant fired a stray shot and at once backed out of the place. Phelps and officer Ryan followed after him. As they reached the street, he fired another shot from behind an automobile he had parked there. The death of Phelps was the instantaneous result.

These undisputed facts concededly proved guilt of criminal homicide in some degree. With the consent of both sides, the court ruled that the killing was not felony murder. Penal Law, s 1044, subd. 2, Consol.Laws, c. 40. This was in the absence of the jury. No mention of felony murder was made in the summations of counsel or in the charge of the trial judge. He defined the crime of true murder in the first degree (Penal Law, s 1044, subd. 1) and then read to the jury from People v. Majone, 91 N.Y. 211, as follows: ‘Under the statute, there must be not only an intention to kill, but there must also be a deliberate and premeditated design to kill. Such design must precede the killing by some appreciable space of time. But the time need not be long. It must be sufficient for some reflection or consideration upon the matter, for choice to kill or not to kill, and for the formation of a definite purpose to kill. * * * The human mind acts with celerity which it is sometimes impossible to measure, and whether a deliberate or1 premeditated design to kill was formed must be determined from all the circumstances of the case.’ The circumstances of the present case included, of course, the events that took place within the bar and grill before the fatal shot was fired in the street outside. In fact, the testimony consists in far greater part of narrations of those...

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8 practice notes
  • People v. Steinberg
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • August 8, 1991
    ...103 S.Ct. 104, 74 L.Ed.2d 93.) By these standards, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in responding as it did. People v. Flynn, 290 N.Y. 220, 48 N.E.2d 495, relied upon by defendant and which he claims is "factually parallel" to the instant case, does not support his position. The......
  • People v. Malloy
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • March 30, 1982
    ...N.Y.S.2d 534, 160 N.E.2d 74; People v. Gezzo, 307 N.Y. 385, 121 N.E.2d 380; People v. Lupo, 305 N.Y. 448, 113 N.E.2d 793; People v. Flynn, 290 N.Y. 220, 48 N.E.2d 495). This court, however, has never adopted a per se rule concerning the adequacy of a court's response or prohibited in every ......
  • People v. Gonzales
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • July 28, 1980
    ...the Court of Appeals dealt with the trial court's obligations to explain instructions in response to jury requests. People v. Flynn (290 N.Y. 220, 224, 48 N.E.2d 495, 496) reversed a first degree murder conviction because of the Trial Judge's refusal to answer a juror's inquiry as to whethe......
  • People v. Miller
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • May 29, 1959
    ...questions for defendant's life depended upon the jury's proper understanding of the elements of each of these crimes. People v. Flynn, 290 N.Y. 220, 48 N.E.2d 495. Hence, it was the court's duty to answer the questions, although they may have been imperfectly phrased. Indeed, the inartistic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • People v. Steinberg
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • August 8, 1991
    ...103 S.Ct. 104, 74 L.Ed.2d 93.) By these standards, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in responding as it did. People v. Flynn, 290 N.Y. 220, 48 N.E.2d 495, relied upon by defendant and which he claims is "factually parallel" to the instant case, does not support his position. The......
  • People v. Malloy
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • March 30, 1982
    ...N.Y.S.2d 534, 160 N.E.2d 74; People v. Gezzo, 307 N.Y. 385, 121 N.E.2d 380; People v. Lupo, 305 N.Y. 448, 113 N.E.2d 793; People v. Flynn, 290 N.Y. 220, 48 N.E.2d 495). This court, however, has never adopted a per se rule concerning the adequacy of a court's response or prohibited in every ......
  • People v. Miller
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • May 29, 1959
    ...questions for defendant's life depended upon the jury's proper understanding of the elements of each of these crimes. People v. Flynn, 290 N.Y. 220, 48 N.E.2d 495. Hence, it was the court's duty to answer the questions, although they may have been imperfectly phrased. Indeed, the inartistic......
  • People v. Gonzales
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • July 28, 1980
    ...the Court of Appeals dealt with the trial court's obligations to explain instructions in response to jury requests. People v. Flynn (290 N.Y. 220, 224, 48 N.E.2d 495, 496) reversed a first degree murder conviction because of the Trial Judge's refusal to answer a juror's inquiry as to whethe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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