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

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Mark WILLIAMS, Defendant–Appellant.


Decided: December 12, 2019

Renwick, J.P., Gische, Mazzarelli, Moulton, JJ. Robert S. Dean, Center for Appellate Litigation, New York (Mark W. Zeno of counsel), for appellant. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney, New York (Frank Glaser of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Robert M. Stolz, J. at consolidation motion; Abraham L. Clott, J. at severance motion, jury trial and sentencing), rendered May 16, 2017, convicting defendant of robbery in the second degree, and sentencing him, as a second violent felony offender, to a term of nine years, unanimously affirmed.

Defendant was not deprived of a fair trial by the fact that he was tried jointly with his codefendant. Defendant's arguments in this regard are similar to arguments this Court rejected on the codefendant's appeal (People v. Hilton, 166 A.D.3d 567, 89 N.Y.S.3d 52 [1st Dept. 2018], lv denied 32 N.Y.3d 1173, 97 N.Y.S.3d 577, 121 N.E.3d 204 [2019]), and we find no basis to reach a different result.

Defendant's generalized objections failed to preserve his challenge to police testimony about the identification made by the victim, and we decline to review it in the interest of justice. As an alternative holding, we find that this testimony was properly admitted as background to explain police actions focusing on defendant leading to the arrest (see People v. Nieves, 294 A.D.2d 152, 152–153, 741 N.Y.S.2d 406 [1st Dept. 2002], lv denied 98 N.Y.2d 700, 747 N.Y.S.2d 419, 776 N.E.2d 8 [2002]). In any event, any error was harmless (see People v. Ludwig, 24 N.Y.3d 221, 230, 997 N.Y.S.2d 351, 21 N.E.3d 1012 [2014]).

The trial court providently exercised its discretion in admitting photographs taken of defendant after his arrest on this case. The photographs were relevant to demonstrate that defendant was wearing clothing similar to that described by the victim (see People v. Washington, 259 A.D.2d 365, 688 N.Y.S.2d 125 [1st Dept. 1999], lv denied 93 N.Y.2d 1006, 695 N.Y.S.2d 753, 717 N.E.2d 1090 [1999]). In any event, any error in admitting the photographs was harmless (see People v. Crimmins, 36 N.Y.2d 230, 367 N.Y.S.2d 213, 326 N.E.2d 787 [1975]).

We perceive no basis for reducing the sentence.