People v. Morris, 267 KA 14-01503.

CourtNew York Supreme Court Appellate Division
Citation138 A.D.3d 1408,2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 03297,30 N.Y.S.3d 424
Docket Number267 KA 14-01503.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Darshawn A. MORRIS, Also Known as Slink, Defendant–Appellant.
Decision Date29 April 2016

The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., Buffalo (Caitlin M. Connelly of Counsel), for DefendantAppellant.

Frank A. Sedita, III, District Attorney, Buffalo (Matthew B. Powers of Counsel), for Respondent.

PRESENT: WHALEN, P.J., CENTRA, CARNI, DeJOSEPH, AND TROUTMAN, JJ.

MEMORANDUM:

Defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him following a jury trial of murder in the second degree (Penal Law § 125.25[1]

), rape in the second degree (§ 130.30[1] ), and criminal sexual act in the second degree (§ 130.45[1] ). Defendant failed to preserve for our review his contention that the evidence is legally insufficient to support the murder conviction (see People v. Cobb, 72 A.D.3d 1565, 1565, 900 N.Y.S.2d 224

, lv. denied 15 N.Y.3d 803, 908 N.Y.S.2d 162, 934 N.E.2d 896 ). In any event, we conclude that the conviction is supported by legally sufficient evidence with respect to all of the crimes charged (see People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672

). Contrary to defendant's further contention, viewing the evidence in light of the elements of the crimes as charged to the jury (see

People v. Danielson, 9 N.Y.3d 342, 349, 849 N.Y.S.2d 480, 880 N.E.2d 1 ), we further conclude that the verdict is not against the weight of the evidence (see

Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d at 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672 ).

Contrary to defendant's contention, the verdict sheet, with the inclusion of defendant's nickname—“Slink”—was not substantively annotated in a manner not authorized by CPL 310.20(2)

(see

People v. Miller, 18 N.Y.3d 704, 706, 944 N.Y.S.2d 433, 967 N.E.2d 656 ). Furthermore, Supreme Court properly denied defendant's Batson application inasmuch as the prosecutor clearly provided a race-neutral basis for the challenge, i.e., that the decision-making ability of the prospective juror might be affected by the fact that her aunt had been murdered and that she herself had previous encounters with the criminal justice system (see

People v. Dixon, 202 A.D.2d 12, 17–18, 615 N.Y.S.2d 904 ).

We reject defendant's contention that his Miranda waiver was involuntary. Although the evidence establishes that defendant had left an emergency psychiatric unit before waiving his rights, there is no evidence that defendant was mentally ill or otherwise impaired during his interrogation (see People v. Williams, 279 A.D.2d 276, 277, 719 N.Y.S.2d 227

, affd. 97 N.Y.2d 735, 742 N.Y.S.2d 597, 769 N.E.2d 343 ) and, “under the totality of the circumstances,” we conclude that defendant's statements were knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made (id. at 276–277, 719 N.Y.S.2d 227 ; see

People v. Love, 57 N.Y.2d 998, 999, 457 N.Y.S.2d 238, 443 N.E.2d 486 ).

Contrary to defendant's contention, the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting in evidence eight photographs of the victim's body. Although the photographs ‘portray[ed] a gruesome spectacle and may [have] tend[ed] to arouse passion and resentment against the defendant in the minds of the jury,’ it cannot be said that such was their “sole purpose” inasmuch as the photographs tended to prove, inter alia, defendant's intent to kill (People v. Pobliner, 32 N.Y.2d 356, 369–370, 345 N.Y.S.2d 482, 298 N.E.2d 637

, rearg. denied 33 N.Y.2d 657, 348 N.Y.S.2d 1030, 303 N.E.2d 710, cert. denied 416 U.S. 905, 94 S.Ct. 1609, 40 L.Ed.2d 110 ; see

People v. Stevens, 76 N.Y.2d 833, 836, 560 N.Y.S.2d 119, 559 N.E.2d 1278 ). In addition, “the photographs were admissible to elucidate and corroborate” the testimony of a medical expert insofar as that testimony concerned defendant's intent (Stevens, 76 N.Y.2d at 836, 560 N.Y.S.2d 119, 559 N.E.2d 1278 ; see

People v. Camacho, 70 A.D.3d 1393, 1394, 894 N.Y.S.2d 680, lv. denied 14 N.Y.3d 886, 903 N.Y.S.2d 774, 929 N.E.2d 1009

; People v. Jones, 43 A.D.3d 1296, 1298, 843 N.Y.S.2d 880, lv. denied 9 N.Y.3d 991, 848 N.Y.S.2d 608, 878 N.E.2d 1024, reconsideration denied 10 N.Y.3d 812, 857 N.Y.S.2d 46, 886 N.E.2d 811 ). The court also properly exercised its discretion in denying defendant's midtrial motion to conduct DNA testing of a latex glove found near defendant's property (see generally

People v. Ducret, 95 A.D.3d 636, 636, 945 N.Y.S.2d 232, lv. denied 19 N.Y.3d 996, 951 N.Y.S.2d 472, 975 N.E.2d 918 ). In any event, defendant may still seek relief on that point by making a motion pursuant to CPL 440.30(1–a).

Defendant contends that the court erred in refusing to charge criminally negligent homicide as a lesser included offense of murder in the second degree inasmuch as there was a reasonable view of the evidence to support a finding that defendant committed the lesser offense but not the greater, i.e., that defendant was merely negligent in failing to assist the victim as she was allegedly attacked in defendant's apartment by his cousin. We reject that contention. Criminally negligent homicide is a lesser included offense of murder in the second degree (see People v. Brooks, 163 A.D.2d 832, 832–833, 558 N.Y.S.2d 366

, lv. denied 76 N.Y.2d 891, 561 N.Y.S.2d 553, 562 N.E.2d 878 ), but charging the lesser crime would require defendant to have a “familial relationship” with the child victim and, therefore, an affirmative duty to assist her (People v. Myers, 201 A.D.2d 855, 856, 608 N.Y.S.2d 544 ). Here, there is no such familial relationship and, therefore, no such affirmative duty. Thus, even assuming, arguendo, that defendant's cousin attacked the victim, there is no reasonable view of the evidence that defendant committed the lesser offense of criminally negligent homicide (see generally

People v. Glover, 57 N.Y.2d 61, 63–64, 453 N.Y.S.2d 660, 439 N.E.2d 376 ).

Defendant further contends that he was deprived of a fair trial based on improper remarks from the prosecutor during the trial regarding his nickname and other remarks made by the prosecutor on summation. Defendant failed to preserve his contention for our review with respect...

To continue reading

Request your trial
8 cases
  • People v. McIntosh, 300
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • June 15, 2018
    ...the second degree ( § 125.25[1] ; see People v. Rivera, 23 N.Y.3d 112, 120, 989 N.Y.S.2d 446, 12 N.E.3d 444 [2014] ; People v. Morris, 138 A.D.3d 1408, 1410, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424 [4th Dept. 2016], lv denied 27 N.Y.3d 1136, 39 N.Y.S.3d 118, 61 N.E.3d 517 [2016] ) and manslaughter in the first deg......
  • People v. Henley
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • December 23, 2016
    ...race. We reject that contention "inasmuch as the prosecutor clearly provided a race-neutral basis for the challenge" (People v. Morris, 138 A.D.3d 1408, 1409, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424, lv. denied 27 N.Y.3d 1136, 39 N.Y.S.3d 118, 61 N.E.3d 517 ), i.e., a police officer wrongfully had accused the pros......
  • People v. Brooks
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • March 24, 2023
    ...killed the victim[s]" (People v Lynch, 60 A.D.3d 1479, 1481 [4th Dept 2009], lv denied 12 N.Y.3d 926 [2009]; see People v Morris, 138 A.D.3d 1408, 1409 [4th Dept 2016], lv denied 27 N.Y.3d 1136 [2016]) and to elucidate and corroborate the testimony of the Medical Examiner concerning the vic......
  • People v. Dixon, 94
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • April 26, 2019
    ...A.D.3d 1565, 1566, 62 N.Y.S.3d 236 [4th Dept. 2017], lv denied 30 N.Y.3d 1065, 71 N.Y.S.3d 15, 94 N.E.3d 497 [2017] ; People v. Morris, 138 A.D.3d 1408, 1409, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424 [4th Dept. 2016], lv denied 27 N.Y.3d 1136, 39 N.Y.S.3d 118, 61 N.E.3d 517 [2016] ).The remaining contentions in def......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Photographs, recordings, & x-rays
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive New York Objections - 2018 Contents
    • August 2, 2018
    ...victim were not unduly prejudicial and corroborated the testimony of the medical expert to prove defendant’s intent. People v. Morris , 138 A.D.3d 1408, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424 (4th Dept. 2016). In a murder trial, introduction of eight photographs of the victim’s body into evidence, though gruesome......
  • Photographs, recordings, & x-rays
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive New York Objections - 2020 Contents
    • August 2, 2020
    ...victim were not unduly prejudicial and corroborated the testimony of the medical expert to prove defendant’s intent. People v. Morris , 138 A.D.3d 1408, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424 (4th Dept. 2016). In a murder trial, introduction of eight photographs of the victim’s body into evidence, though gruesome......
  • Photographs, recordings, & x-rays
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive New York Objections - 2019 Contents
    • August 2, 2019
    ...victim were not unduly prejudicial and corroborated the testimony of the medical expert to prove defendant’s intent. People v. Morris , 138 A.D.3d 1408, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424 (4th Dept. 2016). In a murder trial, introduction of eight photographs of the victim’s body into evidence, though gruesome......
  • Photographs, recordings & x-rays
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive New York Objections - 2021 Contents
    • August 2, 2021
    ...victim were not unduly prejudicial and corroborated the testimony of the medical expert to prove defendant’s intent. People v. Morris , 138 A.D.3d 1408, 30 N.Y.S.3d 424 (4th Dept. 2016). In a murder trial, introduction of eight photographs of the victim’s body into evidence, though gruesome......
  • 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