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Fourth Department – Suppression: People v. Saeli

By: Daily Record Staff//October 3, 2023

Fourth Department – Suppression: People v. Saeli

By: Daily Record Staff//October 3, 2023//

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New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department


Particularity requirement – Juror challenge

People v. Saeli

KA 19-00015

Appealed from Chautauqua County Court

Background: The defendant appealed from his conviction of kidnapping arising from an incident in which he lured a young boy with disabilities from a store when he was separated from his family and sexually abused him.  He argues that the court erred in denying his challenges for cause with respect to four prospective jurors and to the denial of his motion to suppress evidence from his cellular phone.

Ruling: The Appellate Division reversed and ordered a new trial. The court noted that the jurors challenged provided assurances to overcome any doubt regarding their impartiality. The challenge arose from a question from defense counsel wherein the jurors raised their hands expressing agreement with the statement that the defendant must have done something wrong. However, all jurors explained that they believed he was accused of doing something wrong and had no personal opinions either way. They also indicated that they believed he was presumed innocent. However, the Appellate Division further held that the court ought to have suppressed evidence obtained by a search warrant as the warrant failed to meet the particularity requirement as it simply stated that police were directed to search the defendant’s cellular phone for digital and/or electronic evidence. It did not contain any other documents or facts, nor was it restricted by reference to any particular crime.

John A. Cirando, of D.J. & A.J. Cirando, for the defendant-appellant; Samuel J. Saeli, pro se; Erik D. Bentley, of the district attorney’s office, for the respondent.


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