Ed Sapone’s DECISIONS OF THE WEEK -July 26, 2019

by | Jul 26, 2019 | Ed Sapone’s Decisions of the Week

Another quiet summer week, with no criminal cases decided by the Second Circuit, only a single unremarkable modification in the Second Department, and one reversal upstate in the Third Department.

Appellate Division, Second Department

In People v. Delcid, AD2 modified defendant’s Nassau County convictions by vacating his convictions for driving while intoxicated as a felony in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(3), and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree, vacating the sentences, and dismissing those counts of the indictment. AD2 took this action, because they were inclusory concurrent counts of the count that alleged aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree, Vehicle and Traffic Law §§ 511[2][a][ii]; [3][a][i] and 1192, of which defendant was also convicted.

AD2’s decision can be found here.

Appellate Division Third Department

In People v. Adamo, AD3 reversed the order of the Rensselaer County Court that had denied defendant’s CPL § 440.10 motion to vacate his conviction on the grounds that he had not knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently entered his guilty plea to attempted murder and he was denied the effective assistance of counsel in connection with his plea of guilty.

Defendant’s motion showed that, at the time of the crime and at the time that he pleaded guilty, he was suffering from mental health issues and had been prescribed various antidepressants and antipsychotic medications. He produced expert affidavits to establish that, based upon testing of his DNA, he had a genetic deficiency that affected his ability to metabolize antidepressants and antipsychotic medications and that such metabolic deficiency had been scientifically linked to increased rates of drug-induced psychiatric symptoms. These symptoms included “increased states of psychosis, depression, agitation, violence and suicide.” Defendant also presented proof that, before and after his guilty plea, he continued to suffer

from documented mental health issues, which his doctors attempted to treat with changing dosages and complements of prescription medications.

AD3 found that, given the evidence of defendant’s metabolic deficiency and the ongoing efforts to chemically treat his mental health issues before and after his guilty plea, further development of the record is required to determine whether defendant’s mental capacity was impaired at the time of his plea and, if so, whether he was able to knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently plead guilty to attempted murder in the second degree.

AD3 also found that the motion raised questions as to whether interactions between defendant and defense counsel impacted upon defendant’s ability to knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently enter into the plea agreement. Defendant’s proof revealed that a psychiatrist determined in May 2014 that defendant suffered from “diminished capacity,” that defense counsel was well aware of defendant’s mental health issues and that defendant’s father and sister had forwarded defense counsel numerous articles regarding drug-induced violence. Yet, counsel wrote a letter to defendant in which he reported that he told defendant many times that he had no defense to the charges, when there appeared to be non-frivolous mental-health defenses.

AD3 found that a hearing was needed to resolve the factual issues raised by defendant’s motion.

AD3’s decision can be found here.

I hope everyone is having a nice summer.


Warm regards,

Edward V. Sapone


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