Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Buffalo murder conviction reversed

Verdict was against the weight of evidence

By: Bennett Loudon//July 11, 2023

Buffalo murder conviction reversed

Verdict was against the weight of evidence

By: Bennett Loudon//July 11, 2023//

Listen to this article

A state appeals court has reversed a murder conviction and dismissed the indictment because the jury verdict was against the weight of the evidence.

Defendant Gregory Ramos was convicted in July 2018 in state Supreme Court in Buffalo before Justice Christopher J. Burns of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

In a recent decision the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Fourth Department, vacated the conviction, which was based on a theory of accessorial liability for the defendant’s alleged involvement in a fatal shooting at a bar.

The Fourth Department previously affirmed the conviction of a codefendant, who was the actual shooter, on an appeal after a separate trial.

Ramos’s appellate attorney, Susan Hutchison, of counsel at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, argued the appeal.

“The Appellate Division rectified a miscarriage of justice in its decision,” Hutchison said in a news release from the Legal Aid Bureau.

She argued that the evidence was legally insufficient to support the conviction and the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.

“We agree with defendant that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence and therefore reverse the judgment and dismiss the indictment,” the Fourth Department wrote.

The prosecution presented evidence at trial that Ramos was best friends with the codefendant and that Ramos owned a white sedan in which he and the codefendant were seen shortly before the shooting.

The crux of the People’s case consisted of video evidence collected from surveillance cameras in the bar and the surrounding area. But there was no video surveillance of the codefendant entering or exiting the white sedan, which was parked on a side street with no video surveillance, according to the decision.

The video of the white sedan was pixelated to such an extent that the vehicle could not be conclusively identified as belonging to Ramos, according to the decision.

A defendant’s presence at the scene of the crime alone, is insufficient for a finding of criminal liability, the court wrote.

“Evidence that a defendant was at the crime scene and even assisted the perpetrator in removing evidence of that crime is insufficient to support a defendant’s conviction where the People fail to offer evidence from which the jury could rationally exclude the possibility that the defendant was without knowledge of the perpetrator’s intent,” the court wrote.

The evidence presented by the prosecutor only shows that Ramos may have dropped off the codefendant near the bar prior to the shooting, the court wrote.

The prosecution also called a jailhouse informant who testified that Ramos confessed to him that he planned and participated in the shooting.

“We find that the version of events that the informant attributed to defendant is completely at odds with the video evidence establishing that the codefendant took an efficient, one-block circuitous route from the side street where the white sedan parked to the bar and then back to the sedan,” the court wrote.

“Further, the informant’s testimony is too specific to permit the conclusion that any inconsistency between it and the video evidence is the innocuous result of an imprecise account,” the court wrote.

“Absent the informant’s testimony, there is no evidence from which to reasonably infer that defendant shared the codefendant’s intent to cause the death of another person, or that defendant knew that the codefendant was armed at the time defendant transported him to the bar,” according to the decision.

“We are simply not convinced that the jury was justified in finding that guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt … We therefore conclude that, viewing the evidence in light of the elements of the crimes as charged to the jury, the verdict is against the weight of the evidence,” the court wrote.

[email protected] / (585) 232-2035

Case Digests

See all Case Digests

Law News

See All Law News


How Is My Site?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...