People v. Prater

Decision Date16 February 1999
Citation685 N.Y.S.2d 743
Parties1999 N.Y. Slip Op. 1518 The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Lavonda PRATER, appellant.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Lynn W.L. Fahey, New York, N.Y. (Barry Stendig of counsel), for appellant.

Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Roseann B. MacKechnie, Monique Ferrell, and Jane S. Meyers of counsel), for respondent.



Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Feldman, J.), rendered October 28, 1997, convicting her of murder in the first degree (two counts) and forgery in the second degree (three counts), upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. The appeal brings up for review the denial, after a hearing, of that branch of the defendant's omnibus motion which was to suppress statements made by her to law enforcement officials.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

Under the circumstances of this case, the defendant's equivocal silence while being questioned by detectives did not constitute an invocation of her right to remain silent (see, People v. Cohen, 226 A.D.2d 903, 640 N.Y.S.2d 921, revd. on other grounds, 90 N.Y.2d 632, 665 N.Y.S.2d 30, 687 N.E.2d 1313; People v. Aponte, 180 A.D.2d 910, 580 N.Y.S.2d 517; People v. Acquaah, 167 A.D.2d 313, 562 N.Y.S.2d 62; People v. Madison, 135 A.D.2d 655, 522 N.Y.S.2d 230, affd. 73 N.Y.2d 810, 537 N.Y.S.2d 111, 534 N.E.2d 28). While the defendant's period of silence had been preceded by custodial interrogation without the benefit of Miranda warnings, the defendant had made only an exculpatory statement about the forgery charges during this improper questioning. Therefore, there is no danger that her subsequent confession to the murders was made on constraint of some prior statement (see People v. Chapple, 38 N.Y.2d 112, 378 N.Y.S.2d 682, 341 N.E.2d 243; People v. Abreu, 184 A.D.2d 707, 585 N.Y.S.2d 222).

The trial court's general charge on the voluntariness of the defendant's confession, taken from 1 CJI (N.Y.) 11.01, at 656 to 661, adequately conveyed the proper standards to the jury. The court was not required to give the additional instructions requested by the defendant.

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1 cases
  • People v. Prater
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • February 16, 1999

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