Law School Case Brief
People v. Harris - 271 A.D.2d 258, 706 N.Y.S.2d 392 (App. Div. 2000)
The jury's decision to credit the testimony of the prosecution witnesses must be accorded great weight on appeal.
After a jury found defendant Lee guilty of robbery in the second degree and defendant Harris guilty of robbery in the first degree and robbery in the second degree, the New York County Supreme Court set aside the jury verdicts and dismissed the indictments against the two defendants, the State appealed to the appellate court.
Did the trial court err in setting aside the jury verdict against defendant?
On appeal, the court held that trial court erred in setting aside the verdict against defendant Lee and the second-degree robbery conviction against co-defendant Harris. The court reviewed the evidence submitted to the jury and concluded that it was sufficient to establish that defendant Lee acted as co-defendant Harris's accomplice and aided him in committing the robbery while actually present; furthermore, the evidence was also sufficient to establish that defendant Lee committed robbery in the second degree. There was no uncertainty or confusion in the testimony that the complainant had identified defendant Lee when he spotted Lee on the street 10 minutes after the robbery, and it is undisputed that co-defendant Lee's appearance at that time matched the description previously provided by the complainant.
The appellate reinstated the indictment and verdict against Harris and remanded the matter for further proceedings. As to defendant Lee, the appellate court reversed the order setting aside the verdict, reinstated the jury verdict, and remanded the matter for further proceedings.
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