PEOPLE v. ROUNDTREE

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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Juel ROUNDTREE, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: March 22, 2007

TOM, J.P., ANDRIAS, SULLIVAN, WILLIAMS, GONZALEZ, JJ. Stanley Neustadter, Cardozo Appeals Clinic, New York (Mark Abramson of counsel), for appellant. Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Elizabeth A. Squires of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Edwin Torres, J.), rendered November 15, 2005, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of robbery in the third degree, and sentencing him, as a second felony offender, to a term of 2 1/212 to 5 years, unanimously affirmed.

While the court should have avoided singling out the intoxication defense as a matter upon which the jury should “proceed with caution,” the charge, viewed as a whole, conveyed the proper standards and did not deprive defendant of a fair trial (see People v. Fields, 87 N.Y.2d 821, 637 N.Y.S.2d 355, 660 N.E.2d 1134 [1995] ).   The court carefully instructed the jury on the People's burden of proof, and it never suggested that defendant had any such burden (compare People v. Velazquez, 77 A.D.2d 845, 431 N.Y.S.2d 37 [1980], lv. denied 51 N.Y.2d 884, 434 N.Y.S.2d 1032, 414 N.E.2d 717 [1990] ), or that the court had any opinion on the intoxication issue.   Defendant's argument concerning the court's supplemental charge is unpreserved and without merit.