PEOPLE v. MAISONETT

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

The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Angelo MAISONETT, a/k/a Angelo Maisonette, appellant.

Decided: July 28, 2009

MARK C. DILLON, J.P., HOWARD MILLER, JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, and CHERYL E. CHAMBERS, JJ. Lynn W.L. Fahey, New York, N.Y. (Erin R. Collins of counsel), for appellant. Richard A. Brown, District Attorney, Kew Gardens, N.Y. (John M. Castellano, Nicoletta J. Cafferri, and Ushir Pandit of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Lasak, J.), rendered August 22, 2007, convicting him of reckless endangerment in the first degree and reckless driving, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

The defendant's contention that the evidence was legally insufficient to support his conviction of reckless endangerment in the first degree is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05[2];  People v. Hawkins, 11 N.Y.3d 484, 492-493, 872 N.Y.S.2d 395, 900 N.E.2d 946;  People v. Finger, 95 N.Y.2d 894, 895, 716 N.Y.S.2d 34, 739 N.E.2d 290).   In any event, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932), we find that it was legally sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.   The defendant led police on a car chase covering several different highways at speeds of over 90 miles per hour, forcing other cars to pull over to avoid colliding with his car.   He proceeded into oncoming traffic, disregarded traffic control devices and stopped only when his vehicle skidded off the roadway (see People v. Taberas, 60 A.D.3d 791, 875 N.Y.S.2d 172;  People v. Wolz, 300 A.D.2d 606, 752 N.Y.S.2d 382;  People v. Kenney, 288 A.D.2d 323, 733 N.Y.S.2d 124;  People v. Finger, 266 A.D.2d 561, 699 N.Y.S.2d 119;  People v. Walker, 258 A.D.2d 541, 685 N.Y.S.2d 452;  People v. Ruiz, 159 A.D.2d 656, 553 N.Y.S.2d 173).   Moreover, upon our independent review pursuant to CPL 470.15(5), we are satisfied that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v. Romero, 7 N.Y.3d 633, 826 N.Y.S.2d 163, 859 N.E.2d 902).

There is no merit to the defendant's contention that he was denied a fair trial because the prosecutor made improper remarks during his opening statement and summation.   The challenged remarks were either permissible rhetorical comment (see People v. Galloway, 54 N.Y.2d 396, 446 N.Y.S.2d 9, 430 N.E.2d 885;  People v. Stiff, 60 A.D.3d 1094, 875 N.Y.S.2d 795), fair response to the arguments and issues raised by the defense (see People v. Halm, 81 N.Y.2d 819, 595 N.Y.S.2d 380, 611 N.E.2d 281), fair comment on the evidence (see People v. Ashwal, 39 N.Y.2d 105, 383 N.Y.S.2d 204, 347 N.E.2d 564), cured by the trial court's charge to the jury to which the defendant did not object (see People v. Olds, 222 A.D.2d 531, 635 N.Y.S.2d 61), or constituted harmless error (see People v. Crimmins, 36 N.Y.2d 230, 367 N.Y.S.2d 213, 326 N.E.2d 787).

The defendant received the effective assistance of counsel (see People v. Benevento, 91 N.Y.2d 708, 674 N.Y.S.2d 629, 697 N.E.2d 584;  People v. Baldi, 54 N.Y.2d 137, 444 N.Y.S.2d 893, 429 N.E.2d 400).

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