PEOPLE v. GRANGER

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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Darryl GRANGER, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: February 23, 2006

BUCKLEY, P.J., MAZZARELLI, MARLOW, SULLIVAN, SWEENY, JJ. Robert S. Dean, Center for Appellate Litigation, New York (Carl S. Kaplan of counsel), for appellant. Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Richard Nahas of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Eduardo Padro, J.), rendered March 26, 2003, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, and sentencing him, as a second felony offender, to concurrent terms of 4 1/212 to 9 years, unanimously affirmed.

 The verdict was supported by legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence.   The first chemist who testified on behalf of the People performed four color tests and two microscopic tests.   He described in detail, but did not personally perform, the gas chromatography mass spectrometric (GCMS) test.   The People's second chemist performed the GCMS test and concluded that the substance recovered from defendants was cocaine.   Contrary to defendant's contention, the second chemist did not have to describe GCMS in detail (see People v. Crossland, 9 N.Y.2d 464, 466-467, 214 N.Y.S.2d 728, 174 N.E.2d 604 [1961];  People v. Moon, 256 A.D.2d 24, 682 N.Y.S.2d 133 [1998], lv. denied 93 N.Y.2d 897, 689 N.Y.S.2d 709, 711 N.E.2d 985 [1999] ), particularly since such details were already in evidence.   Nor did she have to use the precise words “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” (see Matott v. Ward, 48 N.Y.2d 455, 423 N.Y.S.2d 645, 399 N.E.2d 532 [1979];  see also People v. Brown, 67 N.Y.2d 555, 560, 505 N.Y.S.2d 574, 496 N.E.2d 663 [1986], cert. denied 479 U.S. 1093, 107 S.Ct. 1307, 94 L.Ed.2d 161 [1987] ), because it is the meaning and context, not the form, of an expert's opinion that counts.

 The trial court providently exercised its discretion in permitting the undercover officer to testify by shield number instead of name.   The People made a sufficient showing that revealing the officer's name would endanger him, and defendant then failed to “demonstrate the materiality of the requested information to the issue of guilt or innocence” (People v. Waver, 3 N.Y.3d 748, 750, 788 N.Y.S.2d 630, 821 N.E.2d 934 [2004];  see also Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 678-679, 106 S.Ct. 1431, 89 L.Ed.2d 674 [1986] ).   “[T]here is no reason to believe that disclosure of the officer's name would have provided defendant any practical benefit in cross-examining the officer or in investigating his background” (People v. Solares, 309 A.D.2d 502, 765 N.Y.S.2d 239 [2003], lv. denied 1 N.Y.3d 581, 775 N.Y.S.2d 797, 807 N.E.2d 910 [2003] ).   Defendant has not demonstrated that, as a practical matter, knowledge of an officer's name would open any “avenues of in-court examination and out-of-court investigation” (Smith v. Illinois, 390 U.S. 129, 131, 88 S.Ct. 748, 19 L.Ed.2d 956 [1968] ) not already opened by knowledge of his shield number.