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Court Decides if Error Was Made Regarding Grand Jury Minutes


This is a case of appeal being heard in the Second Department Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The People of the State of New York are the respondents of the case and the appellant in the case is Stanley Beal.

The main question presented by this appeal is whether or not the Criminal Terms refusal to adjourn the hearing to allow the defense the chance to receive a copy of the grand jury testimony from the only witness in the case is an error that is reversible.

Case Background

On the ninth of May, 1973, an indictment was filed against the defendant. The defendant was charged with possessing dangerous weapons and appliances. This was a felony crime.

At the suppression hearing the only witness was Patrolman Albert Farrell. Farrell testified that on the 24th of March, 1973, at about five in the morning he received a message over his radio that there was a man with a gun in a gas station located on South Conduit and Farmers. He was told to see Mr. Brown. He knew who this was as he had been on this particular route for the past 9 years. Mr. Brown was the owner of the gas station located at this particular address.

He arrived about 2 minutes after receiving the call. He went to Mr. Brown and was told that a black man had tried to enter the closed gas station. The man said that he wanted to buy cigarettes. Mr. Brown stated that he refused to unlock the door for the gentleman. He then stated that the man threatened him with a revolver (Gun Crime). At this point Mr. Brown raised a shotgun to the man and the man ran off.

The man in question was described as a black male from the ages of 22 to 25 years old. Brown stated that he was around 5 foot 9 inches tall and was wearing a black leather jacket.

Officer Farrell walked across the street and noticed the only other person in the area besides the station attendants was a black male that fit the description given by Mr. Brown. Farrell’s partner approached the man from behind and drew his gun. Farrell then frisked the gentleman and removed a knife and a 38 caliber revolver. The defendant was then arrested.

The counsel for the defense asked for the grand jury testimony that was provided by Farrell as well as the UF-61 report. The minutes were being transcribed at the time and Farrell did not bring the UF-61 with him.

The motion to suppress this evidence was denied, even though the defense made a substantial case against the witness Farrell and the right to frisk the defendant.

The defendant states that the failure of providing him with the grand jury minutes and the copy of the UF-61 report is a reversible error.

Case Discussion and Decision

In this case there is no evidence to support that the UF-61 report would have helped the defense in any way. However, in the case of failing to produce the grand jury minutes, there is some question as to why these were not given to the defendant.

While it was an error to not provide the defendant with the requested documents, it is not enough for the judgment to be reversed. The court affirms the previous judgment.

If you are in need of legal advice, whether it is for a gun crime, drug possession or a theft charge contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates for help. Our offices are located throughout the city of New York. We are happy to provide our clients with a free consultation to discuss their case.

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