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Defendant Claims Rights Against Doube Jeopardy Violated

This is a case of appeal being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Department, Appellate Division. The respondent of the case is the People of the State of New York. The appellant of the case is Dawson Sharpe.

The defendant is appealing an order that was made by the Queens County Supreme Court on the 30th of October, 1986. The order convicted the defendant of first degree burglary, first degree robbery, second degree kidnapping, and unlawful imprisonment in the first degree. There are two judgments that convicted the defendant for first degree rape and attempted sodomy in the first degree as well as other counts of robbery, rape, and sodomy.

Case History

The defendant along with two codefendants, David Jones and Asher Cain, robbed a restaurant in Brooklyn at gunpoint. The robbers ordered the owner to take them to his house located in Queens. While at the owners home the defendants took his six family members by force and ransacked the house for valuables. After the other two defendants left, the defendant, Dawson Sharpe sodomized and raped one of the stepdaughters of the restaurant owner. He attempted to sodomize and rape another stepdaughter as well. The three defendants were later arrested.

The defendant was charged with burglary and robbery in the first degree, two additional counts of robbery, rape, and sodomy in the first degree, kidnapping in the second degree and the unlawful imprisonment of six individuals under the first indictment. Under the second indictment he was charged with rape and attempted sodomy in the first degree.

Court Discussion

The defendant’s contention that the principles for double jeopardy were violated in this case is found to be unpersuasive in this case. The defendant was tried for several offenses based on the same incident, but was not tried for the same crime twice, which is what the laws of double jeopardy protect against.

The defendant is found to be correct in stating that his right to be present during all material aspects of the first trial was violated as the colloquy with a juror and supplemental instructions to the jury were given while the defendant was not present.

The defendant also contends that he was denied the right to the counsel of his choice in the second trial. However, the record shows that on the night before his trial the defendant told the court that he was unhappy with is counsel and wished to have a new attorney. The court granted the defendant a one day recess to obtain a new attorney, but a new attorney was not obtained in a timely fashion and the selection of the jury was started. During the second day of the jury selection a new attorney appeared, but the court did not allow a further recess in the case.

Court Decision
After reviewing all of the facts of the case it is ordered that the judgment from the 30th of October that convicted the defendant of second degree kidnapping is dismissed. The counts for burglary, robbery, and unlawful imprisonment will be submitted for a new trial. The judgments dated the 24th of July, 1987 are affirmed.

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