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Defendant Requests Case be Moved to Prevent Prejudice


This case is being heard in the Court of Appeals in the State of New York. The People of the State of New York are the appellants in the case. The respondent of the case is Sterling Moore. Judge Wachtler is hearing the case.

The defendant was convicted in Kings County for sexual abuse and rape in the first degree. The offenses that the defendant was charged with occurred in his car that was parked in Queens County near the border of Kings County. The trial court gave jurisdiction to the Kings County Court for prosecution. The Appellate division reversed this order of jurisdiction and ordered a new trial. The reason was that there was a question of if the crimes were committed within 500 yards of the boundary of the two counties in question.

The People of the State of New York are appealing this reversal and argue that Kings County did have jurisdiction over the case under CPL 20.40 that states that any offense that is committed in a vehicle can be tried in any county that the vehicle passed through during the trip.

Case Background

The complainant in the case testified that she lived in Brooklyn and the defendant was an acquaintance. She stated that she had known the defendant for around three years before the incident. On the 12th of May, 1974 the complainant went with the defendant to a club where he worked. They rode in his car to the location. They picked up one of her friends on the way to the club. At around 10 p.m. the women asked to be taken home. The defendant took the friend of the complainant home and then returned to the club. The complainant and the defendant then left the club and on the way to her home he entered Highland Park and stopped in a parking lot. The defendant told the complainant that he wanted to have sex with her. She refused and he assaulted and then raped her. When they were leaving the park the defendant stopped the car at a red light and the complainant jumped out and fled.

Case Discussion and Decision

The location where the incident took place, Highland Park, is on the border of Queens County and Kings County. The parking lot in question is located in Queens County.

In this particular case the statute in regard to the vehicle trip should be construed liberally. The defendant was convicted of sexual abuse and rape in Kings County. A retrial would require the complainant to participate in another trial, which would be stressful.

The defendant has not given a substantial reason for the case being tried in Kings County. The main reason to move a case such as this is to protect the defendant from prejudice in the matter. However, no prejudice existed in the case.

After considering the details and the issues of the case, the Court will reverse the order made by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The original judgment convicting the defendant will stand.

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