New York State Court of Appeals
Scope — Specific Objection
People v. Daryl H.
Background: The defendant contests his conviction for assault based on allegedly improper evidentiary trial rulings. Specifically, the defense counsel wished to cross-examine a psychiatrist witness as a de facto expert witness on the issue of the defendant’s capacity. Defense counsel also sought to cross-examine a second witness on the issue of bias with respect to an unrelated lawsuit.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals affirmed. The court found that the defendant was entitled to probe the basis of a psychiatrist’s opinion had she offered an opinion on direct examination. The record made clear that the doctor’s opinion was limited to the admissions the defendant made leading up to his arrest. Further, any prior statements made by the doctor could only be admitted if inconsistent with her in-court statements. With respect to the second witness, the court found that the challenge was unpreserved as it was not made with specificity before the trial court.
Kristin M. Preve for the appellant; Matthew B. Powers for the respondent