PEOPLE v. DUFFY

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

PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Issac M. DUFFY, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: November 15, 2002

Present PIGOTT, JR., P.J., GREEN, SCUDDER, BURNS, and GORSKI, JJ. Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society, Syracuse (Philip Rothschild of Counsel), for Defendant-Appellant. William J. Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Syracuse (David A. Rothschild of Counsel), for Plaintiff-Respondent.

 On appeal from a judgment convicting him after a jury trial of burglary in the second degree (Penal Law § 140.25[2] ) and petit larceny (§ 155.25), defendant contends that the conviction is not supported by legally sufficient evidence and that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence.   We disagree.   Although there were inconsistencies in the testimony of the People's witnesses, they were not such as to render their testimony incredible as a matter of law (see People v. Drake, 247 A.D.2d 855, 856, 668 N.Y.S.2d 809, lv. denied 92 N.Y.2d 851, 677 N.Y.S.2d 81, 699 N.E.2d 441).   Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the People (see People v. Thompson, 72 N.Y.2d 410, 413, 534 N.Y.S.2d 132, 530 N.E.2d 839, rearg. denied 73 N.Y.2d 870, 537 N.Y.S.2d 489, 534 N.E.2d 327), we conclude that it is legally sufficient to support the conviction.   Nor can we conclude “that the jurors, ‘whose credibility determinations are accorded great deference’ (People v. Clark, 292 A.D.2d 816, 816-817, 739 N.Y.S.2d 313, lv. denied 98 N.Y.2d 650, 745 N.Y.S.2d 508, 772 N.E.2d 611), failed to give the evidence the weight it should be accorded” (People v. Locke, 295 A.D.2d 991, 991, 743 N.Y.S.2d 357;  see People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672).

 Contrary to defendant's contention, County Court conducted “a sufficient inquiry to ensure that defendant was aware of the dangers and disadvantages of representing himself” (People v. Duffy, 275 A.D.2d 1006, 1007, 713 N.Y.S.2d 589;  see People v. Smith, 92 N.Y.2d 516, 520, 683 N.Y.S.2d 164, 705 N.E.2d 1205).   Defendant contends that he committed various errors during trial that prejudiced his case.   A defendant who, after sufficient inquiry, is permitted to represent himself may not be heard to complain on appeal that he was denied effective assistance of counsel (see People v. Woolnough, 180 A.D.2d 837, 839, 580 N.Y.S.2d 776, lv. denied 79 N.Y.2d 1056, 584 N.Y.S.2d 1024, 596 N.E.2d 422).   Even in a case in which a defendant “is harming himself by insisting on conducting his own defense, respect for individual autonomy requires that he be allowed to go to jail under his own banner if he so desires and if he makes the choice ‘with eyes open’ ” (United States ex rel. Maldonado v. Denno, 348 F.2d 12, 15, cert. denied 384 U.S. 1007, 86 S.Ct. 1950, 16 L.Ed.2d 1020).

It is hereby ORDERED that the judgment so appealed from be and the same hereby is unanimously affirmed.

MEMORANDUM: