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An appeal was made by the defendant from a judgment of the Queens County Supreme Court

An appeal was made by the defendant from a judgment of the Queens County Supreme Court convicting her of forgery in the second degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

The trial court, after conducting a Molineux hearing, did not improvidently exercise its discretion in permitting the prosecutor to present at trial evidence of the defendant’s prior conviction of attempted forgery. The conviction was clearly probative of the defendant’s intent to knowingly forge the instruments in this case. Further, the trial court properly weighed the relevant factors of probative value and prejudicial effect in reaching its determination.

Similarly, the trial court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in permitting the People to cross-examine the defendant, in the event that she testified, as to her prior convictions of attempted forgery, petit larceny and attempted petit larceny, as well as the underlying facts of the attempted forgery conviction. A defendant may be cross-examined as to the existence of prior criminal acts where the nature of such conduct or the circumstances in which it occurred, bear logically and reasonably on the issue of credibility. Further, the commission of crimes involving individual dishonesty, such as theft, fraud and forgery demonstrate the defendant’s willingness to place [her] own interests ahead of the interests of society, thereby impacting directly upon the issue of the defendant’s credibility. The mere fact that the prior crime is similar to the crime charged is not a basis for the preclusion of the evidence since a defendant who specializes in one particular type of crime is not shielded from cross-examination thereon. In the present case, it is clear that the defendant’s convictions of crimes involving individual dishonesty were highly probative on the issue of her credibility. Moreover, inasmuch as the trial court carefully weighed the probative value of the evidence against the potential for prejudice to the defendant, we discern no basis for disturbing its compromise ruling.

In another petit larceny case, an appeal was made by the defendant from a judgment convicting him of escape in the second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, and attempted petit larceny, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

The judgment is modified, on the law, by reducing the defendant’s conviction of escape in the second degree under count six of the indictment to escape in the third degree, and vacating the sentence imposed thereon; as so modified, the judgment is affirmed, and the matter is remitted to the County Supreme Court for sentencing on the conviction of escape in the third degree.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, it was not legally sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt of escape in the second degree beyond a reasonable doubt because the People failed to prove, as required by Penal Law, that the defendant was lawfully arrested for a felony at the time of the escape. Nevertheless, the evidence presented at trial established beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was lawfully arrested for a misdemeanor at the time he escaped from custody. Accordingly, the judgment must be modified to reduce the defendant’s conviction under count six of the indictment from escape in the second degree to escape in the third degree.

Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the defendant’s request to admit evidence that he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer approximately four months after his arrest. To the extent that the proffered evidence was relevant to a material fact in this case, whatever probative value it conferred was substantially outweighed by the danger that it would unfairly prejudice the People by creating sympathy for the defendant.

The defendant’s contention that the Supreme Court erred in denying his request to charge the jury with escape in the third degree as a lesser-included offense of escape in the second degree has been rendered academic.

The defendant’s contention that the verdicts as to criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree and attempted petit larceny were against the weight of the evidence is without merit and his remaining contentions are unpreserved for appellate review.

A person charged on a crime, petty or grave ones would find it difficult to gain other people’s trust. If you want to make sure that you will be acquitted of your legal dispute, consult the Queens County Petit Larceny Lawyer or the Queens County Grand Larceny Attorney. You can also ask for the Queens County Criminal Lawyer to help you win your legal battle.

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