|People v Butler|
|2003 NY Slip Op 20267 [2 AD3d 1457]|
|December 31, 2003|
|Appellate Division, Fourth Department|
|As corrected through|
|Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.|
|The People of the State of New York, Respondent,|
Shondell Butler, Appellant. (Appeal No. 1.)
Appeal from a judgment of Onondaga County Court (Walsh, J.), entered October 23, 2002, convicting defendant after a jury trial of arson in the first degree and intimidating a witness in the third degree (two counts).
It is hereby ordered that the judgment so appealed from be and the same hereby is unanimously affirmed.
Memorandum: On appeal from a judgment convicting him following a jury trial of arson in the first degree (Penal Law § 150.20) and two counts of intimidating a witness in the third degree (§ 215.15 ), defendant contends that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. We disagree. "Great deference is accorded to the fact-finder's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear the testimony and observe demeanor" (People v Bleakley, 69 NY2d 490, 495 ). We see no basis to disturb the jury's resolution of credibility issues where, as here, there is no basis to conclude that the testimony of any witnesses was incredible as a matter of law.
We reject the contention of defendant that reversal is required based upon certain of County Court's evidentiary rulings. The court properly precluded a police officer from testifying to hearsay statements of a witness she interviewed (see People v Romero, 78 NY2d 355, 361 ) and properly precluded another officer from rendering an opinion on the truthfulness or veracity of the victim (see People v Allen, 222 AD2d 441, 442 , lv denied 88 NY2d 844 ). By failing to raise a specific objection, defendant has failed to preserve for our review his contention that certain testimony of a police officer constituted bolstering (see People v West, 56 NY2d 662, 663 ; People v Alshoaibi, 273 AD2d 871, 872 , lv denied 95 NY2d 960 ). In any event, the testimony of the officer that she would not have ruled out defendant as a suspect had she known certain facts did not constitute bolstering (cf. People v Brown, 262 AD2d 570, 577 , affd 95 NY2d 776 ; People v Milligan, 309 AD2d 950 ; see generally People v Holt, 67 NY2d 819, 821 ). Defendant has failed to brief any specific arguments with respect to his contention that the cross-examination of the victim was hampered and thus has abandoned that contention on appeal (see People v Jansen, 145 AD2d 870, 871 , lv denied 73 NY2d 923 ). We reject defendant's contention that the court erred in precluding defense counsel from questioning an officer about the contents of a written document. The officer who purportedly wrote the document could not authenticate the writing and defense counsel did not pursue any other method of authenticating it (see People v Boswell, 167 AD2d 928 , lv denied 77 NY2d 876; cf. People v Jean-Louis, 272 AD2d 626, 627 , lv denied 95 NY2d 890 ).
Although the prosecutor violated the court's Sandoval ruling, the court sustained defendant's objection and granted defendant's request for curative instructions. Because defendant "neither objected further nor requested a mistrial[,] . . . the curative instruction 'must be deemed to have corrected the error to the defendant's satisfaction' " (People v Williams, 277 AD2d 960, 960 , lv denied 96 NY2d 789 , quoting People v Heide, 84 NY2d 943, 944 ; see People v Trembling, 298 AD2d 890, 892 , lv denied 99 NY2d 540 ). To the extent that defendant contends that a comment by the prosecutor on summation was improper, defendant failed to object to the comment and thus has failed to preserve that contention for our review (see People v Shabazz, 289 AD2d 1059, 1060 , affd 99 NY2d 634 , rearg denied 100 NY2d 556 ; People v Perez, 298 AD2d 935, 937 , lv denied 99 NY2d 562 ). We decline to exercise our power to review that contention as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice (see CPL 470.15  [a]).
Defendant was afforded a "fair opportunity to question prospective jurors" (People v Johnson, 94 NY2d 600, 616 n ; see People v Jean, 75 NY2d 744, 745 ), and we therefore conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in imposing reasonable limitations on defense counsel's questioning of those prospective jurors (see People v Vargas, 88 NY2d 363, 377 ). Finally, based upon our review of the record, we reject the contention of defendant that he was denied a fair trial based on cumulative errors (cf. People v LaDolce, 196 AD2d 49, 53 ). Present—Pine, J.P., Wisner, Hurlbutt, Kehoe and Hayes, JJ.