PEOPLE v. McCLAIN

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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Andre McCLAIN, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: November 20, 2009

PRESENT:  SMITH, J.P., PERADOTTO, GREEN, PINE, AND GORSKI, JJ. Frank H. HiscockLegal Aid Society, Syracuse (Mary P. Davison of Counsel), for Defendant-Appellant. William J. Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Syracuse (James P. Maxwell of Counsel), for Respondent.

 On appeal from a judgment convicting him, upon a plea of guilty, of murder in the second degree (Penal Law § 125.25[3] ), defendant contends that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him and that Supreme Court therefore erred in refusing to suppress his statement to the police made as the result of that allegedly unlawful arrest.   We reject that contention.   The record of the suppression hearing establishes that an identified citizen observed defendant at the crime scene and informed the police that defendant was involved in the homicide.   We note in addition that a second identified citizen verified defendant's presence at the crime scene.   It is well settled that “information provided by an identified citizen accusing another individual of the commission of a specific crime is sufficient to provide the police with probable cause to arrest” (People v. Williams, 301 A.D.2d 543, 753 N.Y.S.2d 377, lv. denied 100 N.Y.2d 589, 764 N.Y.S.2d 400, 796 N.E.2d 492;  see People v. Brito, 59 A.D.3d 1000, 872 N.Y.S.2d 621, lv. denied 12 N.Y.3d 814, 881 N.Y.S.2d 21, 908 N.E.2d 929;  People v. Grant, 254 A.D.2d 700, 700-701, 677 N.Y.S.2d 863, lv. denied 93 N.Y.2d 853, 688 N.Y.S.2d 500, 710 N.E.2d 1099).  “When the witness supplying information to the police is an identified citizen relating information about a crime the citizen personally observed, the People need not make an independent showing of the ․ reliability and basis of knowledge” of the witness (People v. Martin, 221 A.D.2d 568, 568, 634 N.Y.S.2d 147, lv. denied 87 N.Y.2d 1021, 644 N.Y.S.2d 155, 666 N.E.2d 1069;  see People v. Rivera, 210 A.D.2d 895, 620 N.Y.S.2d 652).   Moreover, “[w]e accord great deference to the determination of [Supreme] Court crediting the testimony of the police officer concerning the information provided by the citizen informant” (Brito, 59 A.D.3d at 1000, 872 N.Y.S.2d 621).   Finally, we reject defendant's contention that the sentence is unduly harsh or severe.

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

MEMORANDUM: