People v. Schainuck

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtDESMOND
Citation286 N.Y. 161,36 N.E.2d 94
Decision Date29 July 1941
PartiesPEOPLE v. SCHAINUCK et al.

286 N.Y. 161
36 N.E.2d 94

PEOPLE
v.
SCHAINUCK et al.

Court of Appeals of New York.

July 29, 1941.


Appeal from Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department.

Jonas Schainuck and David Schainuck were convicted of arson in the second and third degrees, and from a judgment of the Appellate Division, 261 App.Div. 915, 25 N.Y.S.2d 311, affirming a judgment of the County Court on a verdict of conviction, they appeal by permission.

Reversed, and new trial ordered.

[36 N.E.2d 95]

Sydney Rosenthal, of Long Island City, and Benjamin J. Jacobson, of New York City, for appellants.

Charles P. Sullivan, Dist. Atty., of Long Island City (Edmund C. Rowan, of Jackson Heights, of counsel), for respondent.


DESMOND, Judge.

The defendants, father and son, appeal from a judgment convicting them of arson. The charge is that they set fire to a stock of men's clothing which was owned by a corporation controlled by them. The fire was in a store in Jamaica, Long Island, leased by the corporation and due to open the following day as one of the corporation's chain of similar shops. Substantially all the proof on which the conviction rests came from the prosecution witnesses Tunick and Leibson who were employees of the corporation at the time of the fire but were later discharged from that employment. Neither testified that he saw the fire started but each described activities and conversations of the defendants earlier on the day of the fire, which the jury might well have held were part of deliberate preparations by the defendants to burn some worthless or unsalable merchandise in order to collect the insurance on it. After the fire, say both these witnesses, the defendants made damaging admissions to them, urged them to keep secret their knowledge of the cause of the fire and promised rewards to them for holding their tongues. Vigorous efforts were made by the defendants to discredit these witnesses and their narratives, but their testimony was accepted by the jury. There is serious question, however, as to whether the defendants were not deprived of a substantial right by the denial of their requests to be allowed to examine during the trial certain testimony given by these same witnesses in an investigation made by the public authorities before the trial.

Early in the trial, and before either Tunick of Leibson had testified, defense counsel established by cross-examination of a Deputy Fire Marshal, who had been called as a witness by the prosecution, that Tunick and Leibson had both given testimony in an investigation of this fire conducted by the New York City Fire Marshall, that each of them had appeared at least twice before this official and that each had first denied any knowledge of the fire and then on a later appearance, accused these defendants of setting it. This Deputy Fire Marshal had the stenographic minutes of these investigations with him in court and was, apparently, consulting them while he testified. Defense counsel asked the court to be allowed to examine these minutes. The District Attorney objected and the court denied the request, on the mistaken ground that such an...

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23 practice notes
  • United States v. Soblen
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • November 3, 1961
    ...to cross-examine and impeach the witness. United States v. Zborowski (2d Cir. 1959) 271 F.2d 661. Cf. People v. Schainuck (1941) 286 N.Y. 161, 165-166, 36 N.E.2d V. A new trial will be granted in light of the post-trial recantation by an important prosecution witness where the defense did n......
  • People v. Alaniz, Cr. 5689
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 29, 1957
    ...United States v. Coplon, 2 Cir., 185 F.2d 629, 638, certiorari denied 342 U.S. 920, 72 S.Ct. 362, 96 L.Ed. 688; see People v. Schainuck, 286 N.Y. 161, 36 N.E.2d 94; Gordon v. United States, 344 U.S. 414, 73 S.Ct. 369, 97 L.Ed. 447. One may not 'fill a gap in his own evidence by recourse to ......
  • People v. Williams, Cr. 6275
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 19, 1958
    ...216; People v. Davis, 52 Mich. 569, 18 N.W. 362, 363-364; Centoamore v. State, 105 Neb. 452, 181 N.W. 182, 183-184; People v. Schainuck, 286 N.Y. 161, 36 N.E.2d 94, 96; see United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 12, 73 S.Ct. 528, 97 L.Ed. 727; Parsons v. State, 251 Ala. 467, 38 So.2d 209, T......
  • United States v. Krulewitch, No. 387.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • August 1, 1944
    ...supporting our view. In New York for example the law is so, People v. Walsh, 262 N.Y. 140, 149, 150, 186 N.E. 422; People v. Schainuck, 286 N.Y. 161, 165, 166, 36 N.E.2d 94. So probably it is in Connecticut. State v. Hayes, 127 Conn. 543, 18 A.2d 895, 922. That there are contrary decisions ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • United States v. Soblen
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • November 3, 1961
    ...to cross-examine and impeach the witness. United States v. Zborowski (2d Cir. 1959) 271 F.2d 661. Cf. People v. Schainuck (1941) 286 N.Y. 161, 165-166, 36 N.E.2d V. A new trial will be granted in light of the post-trial recantation by an important prosecution witness where the defense did n......
  • People v. Alaniz, Cr. 5689
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 29, 1957
    ...United States v. Coplon, 2 Cir., 185 F.2d 629, 638, certiorari denied 342 U.S. 920, 72 S.Ct. 362, 96 L.Ed. 688; see People v. Schainuck, 286 N.Y. 161, 36 N.E.2d 94; Gordon v. United States, 344 U.S. 414, 73 S.Ct. 369, 97 L.Ed. 447. One may not 'fill a gap in his own evidence by recourse to ......
  • People v. Williams, Cr. 6275
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 19, 1958
    ...216; People v. Davis, 52 Mich. 569, 18 N.W. 362, 363-364; Centoamore v. State, 105 Neb. 452, 181 N.W. 182, 183-184; People v. Schainuck, 286 N.Y. 161, 36 N.E.2d 94, 96; see United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 12, 73 S.Ct. 528, 97 L.Ed. 727; Parsons v. State, 251 Ala. 467, 38 So.2d 209, T......
  • United States v. Krulewitch, No. 387.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • August 1, 1944
    ...supporting our view. In New York for example the law is so, People v. Walsh, 262 N.Y. 140, 149, 150, 186 N.E. 422; People v. Schainuck, 286 N.Y. 161, 165, 166, 36 N.E.2d 94. So probably it is in Connecticut. State v. Hayes, 127 Conn. 543, 18 A.2d 895, 922. That there are contrary decisions ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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