New York State Court of Appeals
Limiting Prosecutor’s Inquiry & Jury Instruction
People v. Smith
Background: The issue before the court was whether it was an abuse of discretion to a “Sandoval” ruling which permitted the prosecutor to refer to the defendant’s prior drug-related felony convictions by naming the specific crimes, should he choose to testify.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals found no abuse of discretion. The trial court’s “Sandoval” ruling limited the prosecutor’s inquiry to the name of the crime, county and date of conviction. In addition, the court instructed the jury that the prior convictions were not evidence of the defendant’s guilt.
Richard M. Greenberg for the appellant; Cyrus R. Vance Jr. for the respondent