PEOPLE v. RUIS

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

The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Luis Eduardo Buenos RUIS, a/k/a Jorge Rodriguez, appellant.

Decided: October 25, 2004

FRED T. SANTUCCI, J.P., THOMAS A. ADAMS, WILLIAM F. MASTRO, and ROBERT A. SPOLZINO, JJ. Lynn W.L. Fahey, New York, N.Y. (Sarah J. Berger of counsel), for appellant. Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Leonard Joblove, Victor Barall, and Michael Tenenbaum of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Reichbach, J.), rendered October 15, 2002, convicting him of manslaughter in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, upon a jury verdict, imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

 Although it is a violation of the Confrontation Clause for a prosecutor to elicit testimony which implies that a non-testifying witness identified the defendant as the perpetrator of a crime (see Mason v. Scully, 16 F.3d 38, 42-43), “ ‘[t]he [Confrontation] Clause ․ does not bar the use of testimonial statements for purposes other than establishing the truth of the matter asserted’ ” (People v. Reynoso, 2 N.Y.3d 820, 821, 781 N.Y.S.2d 284, 814 N.E.2d 456, quoting Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 59 n. 9, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 1369 n. 9, 158 L.Ed.2d 177 [2004] ).   Here, the investigating officer was permitted to testify that after speaking with an eyewitness who did not testify at trial and obtaining from the eyewitness a photograph of the defendant, the officer investigated further and the defendant subsequently was apprehended in Costa Rica. This testimony was properly admitted for the purpose of explaining the sequence of events leading to the defendant's apprehension (see People v. Perez, 9 A.D.3d 376, 779 N.Y.S.2d 584;  People v. Spencer, 212 A.D.2d 645, 622 N.Y.S.2d 580).   In any event, the evidence of the defendant's guilt, including the identification of the defendant at trial by four eyewitnesses, was overwhelming, making any resulting error harmless (see People v. Latta, 295 A.D.2d 449, 743 N.Y.S.2d 315;  People v. Elliott, 256 A.D.2d 418, 682 N.Y.S.2d 625).

Under the facts of this case, the sentence was neither illegal nor excessive.

The defendant's remaining contention is without merit.

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