Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Peter LUCIANO, appellant.
Decided: March 24, 2021
CHERYL E. CHAMBERS, J.P., ROBERT J. MILLER, HECTOR D. LASALLE, ANGELA G. IANNACCI, JJ.
Paul Skip Laisure, New York, N.Y. (Jonathan Schoepp–Wong of counsel), for appellant, and appellant pro se. Melinda Katz, District Attorney, Kew Gardens, N.Y. (John M. Castellano, Johnnette Traill, Joseph N. Ferdenzi, Tina Grillo, and Josette Simmons McGhee of counsel), for respondent.
DECISION & ORDER
Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Leslie G. Leach, J.), rendered April 7, 2017, convicting him of assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.
The defendant's contention that the prosecution failed to disprove the defense of justification beyond a reasonable doubt is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05; People v. Carncross, 14 N.Y.3d 319, 324–325, 901 N.Y.S.2d 112, 927 N.E.2d 532; People v. Hawkins, 11 N.Y.3d 484, 492, 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 (see People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 621, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932), we find that it was legally sufficient to disprove the defendant's justification defense beyond a reasonable doubt (see People v. Terrero, 31 A.D.3d 672, 672, 818 N.Y.S.2d 288).
Moreover, in fulfilling our responsibility to conduct an independent review of the weight of the evidence (see CPL 470.15; 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 jury'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 490, 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672). Upon reviewing the record here, we are satisfied that the jury's rejection of the justification defense and the verdict of guilt were 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; People v. McLaurin, 33 A.D.3d 819, 820, 826 N.Y.S.2d 279).
The defendant's claim that he was deprived of his constitutional right to present a defense is unpreserved for appellate review (see People v. Angelo, 88 N.Y.2d 217, 222, 644 N.Y.S.2d 460, 666 N.E.2d 1333; People v. Paixao, 23 A.D.3d 677, 677–78, 806 N.Y.S.2d 672). In any event, the defendant was not deprived of his right to present a defense, as he was permitted to testify regarding his personal observations of the complainant's aggressive behavior (see People v. Fore, 33 A.D.3d 932, 933, 826 N.Y.S.2d 289).
The defendant's contention that the prosecutor made improper comments during summation is unpreserved for appellate review. The defendant either failed to object to the challenged remarks or registered one-word general objections (see CPL 470.05; People v. Collins, 109 A.D.3d 482, 482, 970 N.Y.S.2d 80; People v. Gill, 54 A.D.3d 965, 965–966, 864 N.Y.S.2d 135). In any event, the challenged remarks constituted fair response to arguments made by defense counsel in summation or fair comment on the evidence (see People v. Pringle, 136 A.D.3d 1061, 1063, 25 N.Y.S.3d 635).
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, raised in his pro se supplemental brief, are without merit.
CHAMBERS, J.P., MILLER, LASALLE and IANNACCI, JJ., concur.
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