People v. Jackson

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtSCILEPPI; FULD
Citation20 N.Y.2d 440,285 N.Y.S.2d 8,231 N.E.2d 722
Decision Date31 October 1967
Parties, 231 N.E.2d 722 The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Nathan JACKSON, Appellant.

Page 8

285 N.Y.S.2d 8
20 N.Y.2d 440, 231 N.E.2d 722
The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,
v.
Nathan JACKSON, Appellant.
Court of Appeals of New York.
Oct. 31, 1967.

Page 11

[231 N.E.2d 725] [20 N.Y.2d 441] Daniel G. Collins, New York City, for appellant.

[20 N.Y.2d 442] Aaron E. Koota, Dist. Atty. (William I. Siegel, Brooklyn, of counsel), for respondent.

[20 N.Y.2d 443] SCILEPPI, Judge.

Nathan Jackson was indicted, in 1960, for first degree murder for the killing of Patrolman William J. Ramos. At Jackson's first trial, in the former Kings County Court, the prosecution presented evidence both as to premeditated and deliberate murder (Penal Law, Consol.Laws, c. 40, § 1044, subd. 1) and felony murder (former Penal Law, § 1044, subd. 2). The jury was instructed as to defendant's potential liability for each. The jury specifically found defendant guilty of common-law murder in the first degree but was silent as to felony murder. This court affirmed the conviction without opinion (10 N.Y.2d 780, 219 N.Y.S.2d 621, 177 N.E.2d 59 (1961)). The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari (Jackson v. State of New York, 368 U.S. 949, 82 S.Ct. 390, 7 L.Ed.2d 344 (1961)). Thereafter defendant initiated a Federal habeas corpus proceeding in which, ultimately, the United States Supreme Court found that the procedure used by the New York trial court for determining the voluntariness of a confession introduced into evidence against appellant was defective under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court ordered that the State accord Jackson a hearing by a Judge without jury as to the voluntariness of his confession; or accord him a new trial; or release

Page 12

him (Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 84 S.Ct. 1774, 12 L.Ed.2d 908 (1964)). The District Attorney chose to retry defendant, and thereupon this court, with consent of counsel, granted defendant's motion to amend the remittitur so as to vacate the judgment of this court and remand the matter for a new trial (15 N.Y.2d 851, 257 N.Y.S.2d 958, 205 N.E.2d 877 (1965)).

Jackson was retried on the original indictment in the Supreme Court, Kings County, before a Judge and a jury. It is from the judgment of guilty in that trial that the present appeal is taken.

Prior to the second trial, the prosecutor moved to impanel a [20 N.Y.2d 444] special jury (Judiciary Law, § 749--aa, repealed by L.1965, ch. 778, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1965), to which defendant objected on the ground that his trial before such a jury would violate his rights under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Such a special jury was impaneled over defendant's objection, and a later motion to set aside the verdict on that basis was denied.

At the beginning of the second trial, and again as soon as it became apparent that the prosecution intended to introduce evidence pertaining to felony murder as well as premeditated and deliberate murder, defendant objected on the ground that he would be denied his protection against double jeopardy if he were retried for felony murder. Defendant renewed that objection before the case went to the jury. All objections were overruled and exceptions were taken. Defendant also took exception to all portions of the Trial Judge's charge relating to the question of felony murder on the ground that defendant was thereby deprived of his protection against double jeopardy.

[231 N.E.2d 726] The underlying felony as to which evidence was introduced was the robbery committed by Jackson on one Maisy McGibbons, the room clerk of the I.C.U. Hotel, on June 14, 1960. Jackson entered the hotel sometime between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. Shortly thereafter he took $56.50 at gunpoint from Maisy McGibbons in an office located on the second floor. Jackson escorted the room clerk, a porter and several guests, who in the meantime had entered the office to check in or out of the hotel, to a third-floor room. Jackson warned all those whom he had put into the third-floor room not to follow him or make a commotion, closed the door of the room, which did not lock, and proceeded out of the hotel. Within a very short time, the hotel clerk and porter broke open a window overlooking the street and shouted for assistance. Patrolman William J. Ramos appeared on the scene and met Jackson as the latter was emerging from the hotel doorway. A scuffle ensued. Patrolman Ramos was knocked to the ground and then drew his gun and shot and wounded

Page 13

Jackson, and the latter, who had drawn a gun earlier, then shot and killed Patrolman Ramos in an exchange of fire.

The Trial Judge charged the jury on the question of Jackson's guilt with respect to felony murder and the various degrees of [20 N.Y.2d 445] common-law murder. As to felony murder, the Judge charged that a verdict of guilty could be returned only if it was found that the underlying felony had not terminated at the time Ramos was shot.

The jury found the defendant guilty of felony murder. Defendant moved to set aside the verdict on the ground that it violated the double jeopardy provisions of the State and Federal Constitutions. The Trial Judge denied that motion.

After being convicted, defendant was accorded a hearing before the trial jury, pursuant to section 1045--a of the Penal Law, to determine whether he would suffer the penalty of life imprisonment or death. In that 'second stage' proceeding the prosecutor, without notice to defendant, elicited testimony from a police officer that 11 years earlier he had overheard Jackson confess in a police station to a series of robberies and burglaries in the Borough of Brooklyn. In fact, the witness testified, a four-foot by three-foot chart of a Brooklyn business area had been found in Jackson's lodging, and he had confessed that it recorded locations that he had burglarized as well as the proceeds of those burglaries and the locations of other establishments he intended to burglarize. The prosecution, however, did not produce the chart. Defendant apparently was never indicted or tried for any of the burglaries to which the chart allegedly pertained.

Defendant objected to the foregoing testimony on the ground that it denied him due process of law, and he demanded a hearing as to the issue of voluntariness. The Trial Judge rejected defendant's objection and refused to accord him a hearing on that question. At no time did the Trial Judge himself make any finding as to the voluntariness of the alleged confession, nor did he submit that question to the jury. After hearing additional evidence on the question of penalty, the jury decreed the death penalty. The Trial Judge denied defendant's motion to set aside the determination on the ground that the use of the aforesaid confession violated defendant's rights to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

On this appeal, Jackson raises the following arguments:

(1) Defendant's constitutional protection against double jeopardy was violated by his retrial and conviction for felony murder;

[20 N.Y.2d 446] (2) The Trial Judge committed reversible error in his rulings and instructions to the jury concerning the question of when the underlying felony had terminated;

Page 14

(3) The Trial Judge committed substantial error in the 'second stage' penalty hearing by denying defendant the protection [231 N.E.2d 727] against involuntary confessions guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States; and

(4) Defendant's trial before a special jury violated his rights under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

We shall consider each of these arguments in the order in which they were raised.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

Section 6 of article I of the Constitution of the State of New York provides: 'No person shall be subject to be twice put in Jeopardy for the same Offense' (emphasis added). The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States contains essentially the same provision.

It is the law of this State that a person is in legal jeopardy when he is put upon trial before a court of competent jurisdiction, upon an indictment or information which is sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction, when a jury has been impaneled and when some evidence is taken (People ex rel. Stabile v. Warden of City Prison of City of New York, 202 N.Y. 138, 95 N.E. 729; People v. Cignarale, 110 N.Y. 23, 17 N.E. 135; People v. M'Gowan, 17 Wend. 386 (N.Y., 1837)).

When a defendant is put in jeopardy for a number of offenses, there are three possible results which are pertinent to our present discussion: the jury may (1) convict the defendant of all of the offenses; (2) acquit him of all of them; or (3) convict him of some and fail to render a verdict as to the others. If the jury acquits the defendant of all the offenses, it is too well settled to require citation that the defendant cannot be tried again for those offenses. Similarly, if a defendant stands convicted of all of the offenses, he cannot be tried again for those offenses unless he successfully appeals from the judgment of conviction and obtains a new trial (People v. Cignarale, supra). Where there are several offenses charged in a single indictment and the jury convicts as to some, but it is silent as to others, the jury's silence is equivalent to a verdict of acquittal as to those offenses for [20 N.Y.2d 447] which it failed to return a verdict (People v. Dowling, 84 N.Y. 478; Guenther v. People, 24 N.Y. 100).

Prior to 1881, if a defendant was tried for a number of offenses and the jury found him guilty of some and was silent as to the others, he could not be retried for any of the offenses if he did not take an appeal (People v. Cignarale, supra). However, if the defendant took an appeal

Page 15

and obtained a new trial, he could be retried...

To continue reading

Request your trial
103 practice notes
  • State v. Jerrett, No. 228A82
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • September 27, 1983
    ...Jackson v. Follette, 462 F.2d 1041 (2d Cir.1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1045, 93 S.Ct. 544, 34 L.Ed.2d 496 (1972); People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, 231 N.E.2d 722 (1967), cert. denied, 391 U.S. 928, 88 S.Ct. 1815, 20 L.Ed.2d 668 (1968); People v. Bloeth, 16 N.Y.2d 505, 260......
  • Ervin v. State, No. 73,137
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • January 13, 1999
    ...a single offense or multiple offenses for the purposes of double jeopardy. We need not decide that question now...." People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, 18-19, 231 N.E.2d 722 (Ct.App.1967)(discussing Leonti ). The Sixth Circuit relied upon an Ohio case that is no longer valid ......
  • United States ex rel. Jackson v. Follette, No. 527
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • June 23, 1972
    ...He was accorded a hearing before that same jury and sentenced to death. This conviction and sentence were affirmed. People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, 231 N.E.2d 722 (1967), cert. denied, 391 U.S. 928, 88 S.Ct. 1815, 20 L.Ed.2d 668 (1968). In rejecting Jackson's claim that he......
  • Petrucelli v. Smith, No. CIV-80-1056C.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • August 3, 1982
    ...supra at 431, then-prevailing New York law permitted Petrucelli's reprosecution despite his successful appeal. People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 446, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, cert. denied, 391 U.S. 928, 88 S.Ct. 1819, 20 L.Ed.2d 669 (1967); N.Y. Crim.Pro.Law § The Pendleton court concluded it was en......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
103 cases
  • State v. Jerrett, No. 228A82
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • September 27, 1983
    ...Jackson v. Follette, 462 F.2d 1041 (2d Cir.1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1045, 93 S.Ct. 544, 34 L.Ed.2d 496 (1972); People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, 231 N.E.2d 722 (1967), cert. denied, 391 U.S. 928, 88 S.Ct. 1815, 20 L.Ed.2d 668 (1968); People v. Bloeth, 16 N.Y.2d 505, 260......
  • Ervin v. State, No. 73,137
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • January 13, 1999
    ...a single offense or multiple offenses for the purposes of double jeopardy. We need not decide that question now...." People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, 18-19, 231 N.E.2d 722 (Ct.App.1967)(discussing Leonti ). The Sixth Circuit relied upon an Ohio case that is no longer valid ......
  • United States ex rel. Jackson v. Follette, No. 527
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • June 23, 1972
    ...He was accorded a hearing before that same jury and sentenced to death. This conviction and sentence were affirmed. People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, 231 N.E.2d 722 (1967), cert. denied, 391 U.S. 928, 88 S.Ct. 1815, 20 L.Ed.2d 668 (1968). In rejecting Jackson's claim that he......
  • Petrucelli v. Smith, No. CIV-80-1056C.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • August 3, 1982
    ...supra at 431, then-prevailing New York law permitted Petrucelli's reprosecution despite his successful appeal. People v. Jackson, 20 N.Y.2d 440, 446, 285 N.Y.S.2d 8, cert. denied, 391 U.S. 928, 88 S.Ct. 1819, 20 L.Ed.2d 669 (1967); N.Y. Crim.Pro.Law § The Pendleton court concluded it was en......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT