Skip navigation


92 N.Y.2d 823, 699 N.E.2d 415, 677 N.Y.S.2d 56 (1998).
June 4, 1998

1 No. 117 SSM 20

[98 NY Int. 0066]
Decided June 4, 1998

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the New York Reports.
Submitted by Pamela Tishman, for appellant.
Submitted by Amy Donner, for respondent.


The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed.

The Appellate Division correctly concluded that the trial court erred in permitting the prosecutor to cross examine defendant about two prior crimes which the court's earlier Sandoval ruling had previously disallowed ( see, People v Sandoval, 34 NY2d 371). As the court below noted, defendant's equivocal statements on cross examination did not open the door to questions about those crimes, both of which involved knife point robberies in Central Park ( see, People v Fardan, 82 NY2d 638, 646). The exchange on which the People rely is as follows:

PROSECUTOR: [Did you tell the victim that the park c]ould be a dangerous place because people get robbed * * * ?


COURT: Overruled

DEFENDANT: I don't know what takes place there.

PROSECUTOR: You told [the victim] this part of the park could be dangerous, right?

DEFENDANT: No, I did not. I did not tell him this part of the park could be dangerous.

PROSECTOR: What did you say?

DEFENDANT: I said, this park can be dangerous.

PROSECUTOR: Means what just happened to you * * * is a dangerous thing, right?


PROSECTOR: What did you mean?

DEFENDANT: Anything else could happen.

PROSECTOR: He could have been robbed at knife point?

DEFENDANT: Who's me to say (emphasis supplied).

The underscored comments are, as best, ambiguous and cannot fairly be construed, as the People urge, as assertions by defendant that he had not previously committed robberies in Central Park. Thus, they do not provide a justification for modifying the earlier Sandoval ruling and permitting cross examination about defendant's convictions based on factually similar crimes ( cf., People v Rodriguez, 85 NY2d 591; People v Fardan, supra).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On review of submissions pursuant to § 500.4 of the Rules, order affirmed, in a memorandum. Chief Judge Kaye and Judges Titone, Bellacosa, Smith, Levine, Ciparick and Wesley concur.

Decided June 4, 1998