People v Plummer
2009 NY Slip Op 08879 [68 AD3d 416]
December 1, 2009
Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
As corrected through Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The People of the State of New York, Respondent,
Keith Plummer, Appellant.

[*1] Richard M. Greenberg, Office of the Appellate Defender, New York (Joseph M. Nursey of counsel), and Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, New York (Andrew S. Pak of counsel), for appellant.

Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Melissa Pennington of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Robert Stolz, J.), rendered February 26, 2008, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third and seventh degrees and sentencing him, as a second felony offender, to an aggregate term of six years, unanimously affirmed.

The People made a sufficiently particularized showing of an overriding interest justifying the court's closure of the courtroom during the testimony of two undercover officers (see People v Ramos, 90 NY2d 490, 498-500 [1997], cert denied sub nom. Ayala v New York, 522 US 1002 [1997]). Each officer established that he expected to resume undercover operations in the specific area of defendant's arrest in the very near future. The officers also had pending cases and took precautions to avoid being recognized. Accordingly, there was a substantial probability that each officer's safety and effectiveness would be jeopardized by his testimony in open court (see People v Jones, 96 NY2d 213, 220 [2001]).

The court's Sandoval ruling balanced the appropriate factors and was a proper exercise of discretion (see People v Hayes, 97 NY2d 203 [2002]; People v Walker, 83 NY2d 455, 458-459 [1994]). The court precluded elicitation of the underlying facts of defendant's convictions, and it only permitted the People to identify a few of these convictions. We conclude that the number of [*2]convictions permitted was not excessive in light of defendant's extensive record and the court's steps to limit prejudice. Concur—Mazzarelli, J.P., Sweeny, Catterson, Freedman and Roman, JJ.