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Cases set for argument in the NY State Court of Appeals

By: admin//March 22, 2001

Cases set for argument in the NY State Court of Appeals

By: admin//March 22, 2001

As you ate your breakfast this morning and made the commute to the office, some of your colleagues reviewed their notes and prepared for a day of arguments before the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany in the following cases:

In People v. Anthony Lee, No. 57, the court will consider the question whether jurors can be allowed to hear expert testimony on the reliability of eyewitness identifications.

Nine months after a carjacking incident in Manhattan, the victim identified the defendant from a photo array and a lineup. At a pretrial hearing, and again at trial, defendant’s attorney sought permission to call a psychological expert on eyewitness identifications, to inform the jury about the difficulty of witness identification across racial lines, a tendency of victims in gun crimes to focus on the gun instead of the face, brevity of the encounter, and the passage of time.

Following a conviction of first degree robbery, the defendant argues that the preclusion of expert testimony deprived him of a fair trial. The prosecution contends that the trial judge properly exercised his discretion to deny the request for expert testimony since no special difficulties of identification were brought to light.

The court in People v. Carl Amorosi, Jr., No 58 will hear arguments regarding revocation of probation upon defendant’s failure to pay restitution ordered by the Cheektowaga Town Court.

Defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of petit larceny for stealing $6,560 from his employer, Lottery Enterprises. The trial judge ordered full restitution, and gave him three years of probation, with two and a half years to pay his debt.

Upon failure to make any payments during the two and a half year period, the court revoked probation and sentenced him to a year in jail.

Arguing that the resentencing violates Criminal Procedure Law § 420.10, the defendant asserts constitutional grounds for treating defendants identically whether their restitution is a condition of a sentence of probation or not.

Ulster Home Care Inc. v. Vacco combined with People v Daniel Rubin, No. 59, 60, consider the State Attorney General’s appeal of the lower court ruling that struck down a Medicaid rate restriction as unconstitutionally vague and blocked criminal prosecutions or civil recoupment efforts.

Both cases arose during a statewide investigation of home care providers. Personal care services for homebound Medicaid patients were being supplied by homes in Ulster, Dutchess, and Columbia Counties. The Attorney General’s office alleged larceny and fraud, accusing the homes of over-billing the Medicaid program.

Rubin Allstate Home Care, Inc., was convicted of nine counts of larceny, but Ulster Home Care challenged the validity of the “general public” rate regulation before the case reached trial.

The Appellate Division, Third Department, agreed that the regulation was unconstitutionally vague, and enjoined further prosecution of Ulster Home Care. It reversed Rubin’s larceny conviction and vacated the restitution order.

On appeal, the Attorney General contends the defendants were not misled by vague regulations but deliberately misrepresented their billing rates to defraud the Medicaid program.

Stay tuned to see who prevails in these and other upcoming disputes before the Court of Appeals.

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