Convictions Reversed, Evidence Suppressed, and a New Trial Ordered in CAL Client’s Case

On December 5, the Appellate Term, First Department, reversed J.W.’s convictions for third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching, suppressed unconstitutionally obtained evidence, and remanded J.W.’s case for a new trial. Before J.W.’s trial, the trial court held that he was subjected to an unduly suggestive show-up procedure near the scene of the alleged crimes. Then, exclusively on the hearsay testimony of a responding officer, the trial court held that, despite the unduly suggestive show-up procedure, the complainant had a basis for identifying J.W. in court. The complainant did not testify at the pre-trial hearing to establish that basis, however. This was reversible error.

In addition, the Appellate Term held that the police unconstitutionally trespassed into J.W.’s apartment, where the police stepped across his threshold without a warrant, invitation, or exigent circumstances, and then began questioning him. The Appellate Term suppressed all of the statements J.W. made in his apartment as fruits of that unconstitutional trespass. Scott H. Henney represented J.W. on appeal.