People
v.
Cruz

Not overruled or negatively treated on appealinfoCoverage
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.Apr 15, 2015
6 N.Y.S.3d 644 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015)
6 N.Y.S.3d 644127 A.D.3d 9872015 N.Y. Slip Op. 3178

2015-04-15

The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Humberto CRUZ, appellant.

Brendan O'Meara, Yonkers, N.Y., for appellant. David M. Hoovler, District Attorney, Middletown, N.Y. (Elizabeth L. Schulz and Andrew R. Kass of counsel), for respondent.



Brendan O'Meara, Yonkers, N.Y., for appellant. David M. Hoovler, District Attorney, Middletown, N.Y. (Elizabeth L. Schulz and Andrew R. Kass of counsel), for respondent.
RUTH C. BALKIN, J.P., L. PRISCILLA HALL, ROBERT J. MILLER, and COLLEEN D. DUFFY, JJ.


Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Orange County (De Rosa, J.), rendered April 14, 2010, convicting him of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the second degree, and endangering the welfare of a child (seven counts), upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

The defendant, a youth pastor at the Church of God in Newburgh, was accused of sexually abusing three boys who were students in the Sunday school class that he taught. The defendant's contention that the evidence at trial was legally insufficient to support his convictions of criminal sexual act in the first degree and sexual abuse in the second degree, as charged in the indictment, is unpreserved for appellate review ( seeCPL 470.05[2]; People v. Hawkins, 11 N.Y.3d 484, 872 N.Y.S.2d 395, 900 N.E.2d 946). In any event, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, and giving it the benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn therefrom ( see People v. Ramos, 19 N.Y.3d 133, 136, 946 N.Y.S.2d 83, 969 N.E.2d 199; People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672), we find that it was legally sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed these offenses during the summer of 2005, as charged in the indictment. In addition, we find that the designated time period of July 1, 2005, through August 31, 2005, during which the offenses were alleged to have occurred, as charged in the indictment and established by the evidence, was sufficiently specific to satisfy the requirementsof CPL 200.50(6) ( see e.g. People v. Spencer, 119 A.D.3d 1411, 1413, 989 N.Y.S.2d 735; People v. Smith, 272 A.D.2d 713, 714, 710 N.Y.S.2d 648). Moreover, in fulfilling our responsibility to conduct an independent review of the weight of the evidence ( seeCPL 470.15[5]; People v. Danielson, 9 N.Y.3d 342, 849 N.Y.S.2d 480, 880 N.E.2d 1), we nevertheless accord great deference to the trier of fact's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear the testimony, and observe demeanor ( see People v. Mateo, 2 N.Y.3d 383, 410, 779 N.Y.S.2d 399, 811 N.E.2d 1053; People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d at 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672). Upon reviewing the record here, we are satisfied that the verdict of guilt as to those crimes was not against the weight of the evidence ( see People v. Romero, 7 N.Y.3d 633, 826 N.Y.S.2d 163, 859 N.E.2d 902).

In determining whether a defendant has been deprived of the effective assistance of counsel, a court must examine whether “the evidence, the law, and the circumstances of a particular case, viewed in totality and as of the time of the representation, reveal that the attorney provided meaningful representation” (People v. Baldi, 54 N.Y.2d 137, 147, 444 N.Y.S.2d 893, 429 N.E.2d 400; see People v. Oliveras, 21 N.Y.3d 339, 346, 971 N.Y.S.2d 221, 993 N.E.2d 1241). Here, the record reveals that defense counsel “prepared and pursued trial strategies and defense theories, presented a clear and cogent opening and summation, and adequately cross-examined the People's witnesses” (People v. Tomlinson, 67 A.D.3d 826, 827, 887 N.Y.S.2d 862; see People v. Lee, 105 A.D.3d 870, 871, 962 N.Y.S.2d 696; People v. Dashosh, 59 A.D.3d 731, 732, 873 N.Y.S.2d 730). As such, the defendant received meaningful representation of counsel. “Hindsight does not elevate counsel's unsuccessful trial strategies to ineffective assistance of counsel” (People v. Tomlinson, 67 A.D.3d at 827, 887 N.Y.S.2d 862; People v. Dashosh, 59 A.D.3d at 731, 873 N.Y.S.2d 730; People v. Monroe, 52 A.D.3d 623, 860 N.Y.S.2d 564).

The sentence imposed was not excessive ( see People v. Suitte, 90 A.D.2d 80, 455 N.Y.S.2d 675).

The defendant's remaining contentions are without merit.