PEOPLE v. TURNER

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

PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. James E. TURNER, Appellant.

Decided: February 04, 1998

Before DENMAN, P.J., and LAWTON, HAYES, BALIO and BOEHM, JJ. David Nelson, Attica, for Appellant. Frank J. Clark by Joseph Notaro, Buffalo, for Respondent.

 Defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him of two counts each of grand larceny in the third degree and issuing a bad check stemming from the purchase of vehicles by the automobile dealership that he owned.   County Court did not err in submitting to the jury a verdict sheet with “identifying factual annotations, such as dates and names of the victims” (People v. Brown, 90 N.Y.2d 872, 875, 661 N.Y.S.2d 596, 684 N.E.2d 26).   Additionally, we reject the contention that the court improperly exercised its discretion in permitting the People to reopen their case.

 After a Sandoval hearing, the court determined that the prosecutor could cross-examine defendant with respect to a prior Federal conviction for rolling back vehicle odometers, including the underlying facts, and 30 prior bad acts involving the issuance of bad checks for the purchase of automobiles from the same victim involved in one of the counts of grand larceny and issuing a bad check for which he was on trial.

 The court improvidently exercised its discretion in determining that defendant could be cross-examined regarding those prior bad acts.   Although a defendant “is not entitled to be shielded from cross-examination regarding prior crimes * * * merely because they are similar to the crimes on which he is being tried” (People v. Jay, 187 A.D.2d 454, 455, 589 N.Y.S.2d 529, lv. denied 81 N.Y.2d 841, 595 N.Y.S.2d 740, 611 N.E.2d 779;  see also, People v. Castaldi, 209 A.D.2d 961, 619 N.Y.S.2d 983, lv. dismissed 84 N.Y.2d 1029, 623 N.Y.S.2d 185, 647 N.E.2d 457), the number of prior bad acts allowed by the court was more “than was appropriate or necessary to the jury's evaluation of defendant's credibility” (People v. Bowles, 132 A.D.2d 465, 467, 517 N.Y.S.2d 155, lv. denied 70 N.Y.2d 798, 522 N.Y.S.2d 115, 516 N.E.2d 1228) and impermissibly tended “to show from defendant's character or experience that he is predisposed to commit the crime for which he is on trial” (People v. Carmack, 52 A.D.2d 264, 266, 383 N.Y.S.2d 738, affd. 44 N.Y.2d 706, 405 N.Y.S.2d 446, 376 N.E.2d 919;  see also, People v. Myrick, 128 A.D.2d 732, 513 N.Y.S.2d 227, lv. denied 70 N.Y.2d 652, 518 N.Y.S.2d 1045, 512 N.E.2d 571).   However, the proof of defendant's guilt is overwhelming, and there is no significant probability that the jury would have acquitted defendant had it not been for the error.   Thus, the error is harmless (see, People v. Shields, 46 N.Y.2d 764, 765, 413 N.Y.S.2d 649, 386 N.E.2d 257;  People v. Castaldi, supra ).

 The court did not impose an unlawful condition of probation by directing defendant to refrain from the purchase, sale, inspection or repair of motor vehicles.   That condition was reasonably necessary “to insure that the defendant will lead a law-abiding life or to assist him to do so” (Penal Law § 65.10[1];  see, People v. Bilello, 124 A.D.2d 665, 666, 507 N.Y.S.2d 910).

Judgment unanimously affirmed.

MEMORANDUM: