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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Vincent BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: February 18, 1999

SULLIVAN, J.P., ELLERIN, LERNER and RUBIN, JJ. Shelly A.R. Chichester, for Respondent. Julia Pamela Heit, for Defendant-Appellant.

Judgment, Supreme Court, Bronx County (Phylis Skloot Bamberger, J.), rendered February 28, 1995, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of robbery in the first degree, assault in the second degree and attempted assault in the first degree, and sentencing him, as a persistent violent felony offender, to concurrent terms of 20 years to life, unanimously affirmed.

The verdict was supported by legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence.   Credibility issues were properly presented to the jury and we see no reason to disturb its determinations.

 The court properly exercised its discretion in denying defendant's request for a fourth attorney to be assigned to represent him since he failed to establish good cause for a substitution (see, People v. Sides, 75 N.Y.2d 822, 552 N.Y.S.2d 555, 551 N.E.2d 1233).   Defendant's groundless lack of confidence in, and hostility toward, his attorney did not require substitution (see, People v. Medina, 44 N.Y.2d 199, 404 N.Y.S.2d 588, 375 N.E.2d 768).   Moreover, the record supports the conclusion that his request was made merely for purposes of delay.   Since defendant failed to raise his ineffective assistance of counsel claims via a CPL 440.10 motion, his claims are not reviewable on direct appeal because they are based on facts dehors the record and counsel has had no opportunity to explain his trial tactics (see, People v. Love, 57 N.Y.2d 998, 457 N.Y.S.2d 238, 443 N.E.2d 486).   Based on the existing record, we conclude that counsel provided meaningful representation (People v. Benevento, 91 N.Y.2d 708, 674 N.Y.S.2d 629, 697 N.E.2d 584).

 Statements made by defendant to the complainant during the incident to the effect that he had previously stabbed his former girlfriend were properly admitted to show the complainant's state of mind and to enhance the jury's understanding of the crime, after defendant opened the door to such testimony by placing in issue the complainant's conduct and state of mind immediately prior to the attack (see, People v. Steinberg, 170 A.D.2d 50, 72-74, 573 N.Y.S.2d 965, affd. 79 N.Y.2d 673, 584 N.Y.S.2d 770, 595 N.E.2d 845).   Any possible prejudice to defendant was eliminated by the court's appropriate limiting instructions.


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