People v. Smart

Decision Date26 April 2001
Docket NumberNo. 51,51
Citation726 N.Y.S.2d 343,96 NY2d 793
Parties(Ct.App. 2001) The People of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Deshawn Smart, Appellant. 2
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals

Elizabeth Sack Felber, New York City, M. Sue Wycoff and Daniel L. Greenberg for appellant.

Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney of Kings County, Brooklyn (Jane S. Meyers and Leonard Joblove of counsel), for respondent.


The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed.

Defendant was convicted after a jury trial of attempted murder in the second degree and other offenses for shooting his uncle. Defendant contends that the Trial Court failed to conduct a sufficient inquiry when it learned of prior contact between defendant's attorney and the victim, the People's primary witness. We conclude that no reversible error occurred.

In his opening statement, defense counsel referred to the victim, defendant's uncle, as a "bully" and a "terrorist." In response, the prosecutor elicited the victim's testimony that he had formerly been employed by defense counsel as a bodyguard. At a conference held outside the presence of the jury, the prosecutor asserted that the victim had informed her that he had been hired by a third party to perform security duties in connection with an unrelated trial involving defendant's attorney. Defense counsel responded that he had never employed the victim but recalled the victim had been with a group of people who met at his office and accompanied him to the courthouse on one occasion. Further, the Trial Court ascertained that defendant knew of the victim's prior relationship with defense counsel. After this colloquy, the court instructed the jury to disregard the victim's testimony that he had worked for defense counsel, noting it was irrelevant to the issues presented at trial and may have been inaccurate.

Relying on our decision in People v Gomberg (38 N.Y.2d 307), defendant maintains that reversal of his conviction is warranted because the Trial Court failed to conduct a sufficient inquiry to determine whether he was aware of the potential conflict of interest arising from the contact between his attorney and his uncle (the victim) and had made a fully informed decision to proceed with his attorney. We disagree. Even assuming the prior acquaintance rose to a level implicating the conflict of interest concerns addressed in Gomberg and its progeny, defendant failed to meet his burden of establishing that "the conduct of his defense was in fact affected by the operation of the conflict of interest" (People v Alicea, 61 N.Y.2d 23, 31; see, People v Longtin, 92 N.Y.2d 640, cert denied 526 U.S. 1114; People v Recupero, 73 N.Y.2d 877; People v Perez, 70 N.Y.2d 773; People v Cruz, 63 N.Y.2d 848).

Defendant has not demonstrated that his attorney's representation was influenced or affected by any prior relationship with the victim. Indeed, review of the trial transcript reveals that defendant's counsel mounted a vigorous defense, pursuing a theory of justification based...

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  • Peak v. City of Tuscaloosa
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 29 de abril de 2011
    ...792, 646 N.Y.S.2d 762, 765 (1996), aff'd sub nom., People v. Smart, 269 A.D.2d 549, 704 N.Y.S.2d 497 (2000), aff'd, 96 N.Y.2d 793, 750 N.E.2d 45, 726 N.Y.S.2d 343 (N.Y.2001). “The central standard for the privilege's application has been whether the claimant is confronted by substantial and......
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    • 17 de dezembro de 2009
    ...of his obligation to demonstrate that the potential conflict actually operated on the defense (see e.g. People v. Smart, 96 N.Y.2d 793, 795, 726 N.Y.S.2d 343, 750 N.E.2d 45 [2001]; People v. Longtin, 92 N.Y.2d 640, 644, 684 N.Y.S.2d 463, 707 N.E.2d 418 [1998]; People v. Monroe, 54 N.Y.2d 35......
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    ...failed to show that the potential was realized—i.e. that the conflict operated on the representation. People v. Smart, 96 N.Y.2d 793, 726 N.Y.S.2d 343, 750 N.E.2d 45 (2001),People v. Ennis, 11 N.Y.3d 403, 872 N.Y.S.2d 364, 900 N.E.2d 915 (2008) and People v. Konstantinides, 14 N.Y.3d 1, 896......
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