PEOPLE v. ALSTON

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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Ameil ALSTON, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: March 21, 2006

BUCKLEY, P.J., FRIEDMAN, MARLOW, NARDELLI, McGUIRE, JJ. Robert S. Dean, Center for Appellate Litigation, New York (Lyssa M. Sampson of counsel), for appellant. Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Tracy L. Conn of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Bruce Allen, J.), rendered December 1, 2003, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of robbery in the first degree and three counts of attempted robbery in the first degree, and sentencing him to concurrent terms of 8 years, unanimously affirmed.

The verdict was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672 [1987] ).   There is no basis for disturbing the jury's determinations concerning identification and credibility.   The People's case featured reliable identification testimony by multiple witnesses.

At a Sirois hearing (Matter of Holtzman v. Hellenbrand, 92 A.D.2d 405, 460 N.Y.S.2d 591 [1983] ), the People proved, by clear and convincing evidence, that defendant caused a witness's unavailability.   A chain of circumstantial evidence led to the inescapable conclusion that defendant was responsible for threatening the witness (see People v. Geraci, 85 N.Y.2d 359, 369-372, 625 N.Y.S.2d 469, 649 N.E.2d 817 [1995] ).   The court properly admitted the grand jury testimony of the intimidated witness, as well as other statements made by her that bore sufficient indicia of reliability (see People v. Cotto, 92 N.Y.2d 68, 77-78, 677 N.Y.S.2d 35, 699 N.E.2d 394 [1998] ).