PEOPLE v. TORRES

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

The PEOPLE, etc., Respondent, v. Malik TORRES, Appellant.

Decided: January 25, 1999

SONDRA MILLER, J.P., WILLIAM C. THOMPSON, THOMAS R. SULLIVAN and LEO F. McGINITY, JJ. M. Sue Wycoff, New York, N.Y. (Jonathan Garelick of counsel), for appellant. Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Roseann B. MacKechnie and Thomas M. Ross of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Dabiri, J.), rendered November 19, 1996, convicting him of murder in the second degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.   The appeal brings up for review the denial, after a hearing, of that branch of the defendant's omnibus motion which was to suppress his statements to law enforcement authorities.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

 The trial court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in sua sponte reopening the suppression hearing to permit further questioning of Detective Parker before it made a decision on the merits (see, People v. Havelka, 45 N.Y.2d 636, 412 N.Y.S.2d 345, 384 N.E.2d 1269;  People v. Colon, 228 A.D.2d 449, 644 N.Y.S.2d 57, revd. on other grounds, 90 N.Y.2d 824, 660 N.Y.S.2d 377, 682 N.E.2d 978;  People v. Harrington, 193 A.D.2d 756, 597 N.Y.S.2d 723).   Not only are the hearing court's factual findings and credibility determinations entitled to great deference on appeal (see, People v. Prochilo, 41 N.Y.2d 759, 395 N.Y.S.2d 635, 363 N.E.2d 1380;  People v. Gordon, 242 A.D.2d 640, 664 N.Y.S.2d 750;  People v. Pierre, 241 A.D.2d 559, 661 N.Y.S.2d 645), but, on this record, it cannot be said that Detective Parker's testimony at the reopened hearing was patently tailored to nullify constitutional objections (see, e.g, Matter of Bernice J., 248 A.D.2d 538, 670 N.Y.S.2d 207;  People v. Black, 214 A.D.2d 619, 624 N.Y.S.2d 966;  People v. Lebron, 184 A.D.2d 784, 585 N.Y.S.2d 498).

 In addition to an anonymous informant who had spoken to a detective several times over the course of an investigation, there were two identified informants who provided statements to the police with respect to their knowledge of the defendant's participation in the crime.   Accordingly, the hearing court properly concluded that almost two months before the defendant's arrest, there was probable cause to believe that an individual named “Malik”, whose description fit the defendant, was one of the perpetrators, and that this individual had been known to both the anonymous informant and one of the identified informants for some years, since both of those informants had grown up in the neighborhood.

MEMORANDUM BY THE COURT.

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