People
v.
Williams

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.Jan 24, 2013
958 N.Y.S.2d 297 (N.Y. App. Div. 2013)
958 N.Y.S.2d 297102 A.D.3d 5662013 N.Y. Slip Op. 401

2013-01-24

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Alexander WILLIAMS, Defendant–Appellant.

Steven Banks, The Legal Aid Society, New York (David Crow of counsel), and Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, New York (John O. Enright of counsel), for appellant. Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney, Bronx (Jason S. Whitehead of counsel), for respondent.


Steven Banks, The Legal Aid Society, New York (David Crow of counsel), and Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, New York (John O. Enright of counsel), for appellant. Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney, Bronx (Jason S. Whitehead of counsel), for respondent.


Judgment, Supreme Court, Bronx County (Elizabeth Foley, J.), rendered December 17, 2008, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and sentencing him to an aggregate term of three months of intermittent imprisonment to be served on weekends and three years' probation, unanimously affirmed.

The court properly declined to charge justification. There was no reasonable view of the evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to defendant, that supported a justification defense ( see People v. Watts, 57 N.Y.2d 299, 301–302, 456 N.Y.S.2d 677, 442 N.E.2d 1188 [1982];People v. Hubrecht, 2 A.D.3d 289, 290, 769 N.Y.S.2d 36 [2003],lv. denied 2 N.Y.3d 741, 778 N.Y.S.2d 467, 810 N.E.2d 920 [2004] ). Neither the prosecution nor the defense case provided a factual basis for such a charge. In any event, any error in declining to charge justification was harmless. Defendant was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, a crime to which the defense of justification generally does not apply ( see People v. Varela, 164 A.D.2d 924, 559 N.Y.S.2d 756 [2d Dept. 1990],lv. denied76 N.Y.2d 1025, 565 N.Y.S.2d 775, 566 N.E.2d 1180 [1990];People v. Fields, 134 A.D.2d 365, 520 N.Y.S.2d 842 [2d Dept. 1987],lv. denied72 N.Y.2d 956, 534 N.Y.S.2d 670, 531 N.E.2d 302 [1988] ). Even assuming that this defense could apply to an endangering charge, under the present circumstances, there is no reasonable possibility that a justification instruction would have resulted in a more favorable verdict.

TOM, J.P., SAXE, MOSKOWITZ, ABDUS–SALAAM, GISCHE, JJ., concur.