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Court Finds Burden of Proof Not Met


The respondent for this particular case is the People of the State of New York. The appellant of the case is Robert J. Wofford. The case is being heard in the Second Department, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

The defendant is appealing a judgment that was made by the Kings County Supreme Court. The judgment was made during a nonjury trial and the defendant was convicted of murder and possession of weapons. He was charged with a misdemeanor and is now serving a 20 years to life sentence for the murder charge.

Case Facts

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant was 16 at the time the crimes were committed. Shortly after committing the crimes he made two confessions. The first confession was made to the police and the second confession was made to the District Attorney. A Huntley hearing was conducted and the motion made by the defendant to suppress these confessions was denied.

During his confessions the defendant stated that while he worked as a porter he was instructed to install windows for Ms. Schwartz, one of the tenants. He said that she would call him baby, sexy, and other names of this nature. He states that he told her that he did not like to be called these things, but she just kept doing it. He said that when she would not stop he dragged her into her bedroom and then beat her with his fists. He hit her in the face, head, and all over her body until she fell to the floor. He states that he hit her head on the floor about 10 times and she then just lay there spitting out blood. He then went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and stabbed her three times. During this process he cut himself on the hand.

He left the knife in the victim and ran down five flights of stairs and then out onto a street and into what he believed was a hospital. The building was actually a fire station. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he told the fireman that he had cut his hand on barbwire. Another fireman took him to the hospital and the defendant gave a fake name and another story about how he injured his hand.

The prosecution submitted medical and police witnesses, supportive testimony, and the autopsy to establish their case.

Case Issue

The problem in this matter is that the only defense provided for the defendant was an insanity plea. It was submitted that the defendant had been previously involved in an altercation and was examined by Dr. William David Jeffrey, a psychiatrist. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the defendant had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic-paranoid type. The doctor states that the defendant’s condition was severe and could be dangerous and lead to a homicide.

Witnesses called for the defense testified to the fact that the defendant was impulsive, out of control, and often violent.

Court Discussion and Decision

After reviewing the facts of the case including the testimonies provided by both the People and the defendant, the court finds that the People failed to justify the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt in this particular case.

The court rules that the judgment of conviction should be reversed and the case should be moved to the Criminal Term for further judgments.

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