PEOPLE v. AREVALO

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

The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Jose AREVALO, appellant.

Decided: August 12, 2008

A. GAIL PRUDENTI, P.J., PETER B. SKELOS, JOSEPH COVELLO, and RUTH C. BALKIN, JJ. Arza Feldman, Uniondale, N.Y. (Steven A. Feldman of counsel), for appellant. Kathleen M. Rice, District Attorney, Mineola, N.Y. (Judith R. Sternberg and Jason R. Richards of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Nassau County (Sullivan, J.), rendered January 19, 2007, convicting him of robbery in the second degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth 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 officials.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

 We find no basis to disturb the hearing court's determination that the defendant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his Miranda rights (see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694).  “Intoxication alone is insufficient to render a statement involuntary.   Only where it is demonstrated that defendant was intoxicated to a degree of mania or of being unable to understand the meaning of his statements is suppression warranted” (People v. Benjamin, 17 A.D.3d 688, 689, 793 N.Y.S.2d 547 [citations omitted];  see People v. Schompert, 19 N.Y.2d 300, 305, 279 N.Y.S.2d 515, 226 N.E.2d 305;  People v. Ginsberg, 36 A.D.3d 627, 831 N.Y.S.2d 81).   In this case, the evidence failed to establish that the defendant was intoxicated to such a degree.   Moreover, the evidence supported the hearing court's determination that the defendant recognized the immediate import of the Miranda warnings (see People v. Williams, 62 N.Y.2d 285, 290, 476 N.Y.S.2d 788, 465 N.E.2d 327;  People v. Hernandez, 46 A.D.3d 574, 846 N.Y.S.2d 371).

 The defendant received effective assistance of counsel under both state and federal standards (see People v. Benevento, 91 N.Y.2d 708, 713-714, 674 N.Y.S.2d 629, 697 N.E.2d 584;  see also Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674).   The defendant failed to demonstrate that he was deprived of meaningful representation (see People v. Baldi, 54 N.Y.2d 137, 147, 444 N.Y.S.2d 893, 429 N.E.2d 400) or that there were no strategic or other legitimate explanations for counsel's alleged shortcomings (see People v. Benevento, 91 N.Y.2d 708, 674 N.Y.S.2d 629, 697 N.E.2d 584;  People v. Rose, 307 A.D.2d 270, 761 N.Y.S.2d 686).

Contrary to the defendant's contention, the testimony of the People's witnesses was not incredible as a matter of law, and merely raised issues for resolution by the jury (see People v. Wilson, 50 A.D.3d 711, 854 N.Y.S.2d 540;  People v. Sedney, 6 A.D.3d 632, 633, 774 N.Y.S.2d 799).   Moreover, “the evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to the prosecution, [proved] beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused acted with the mental culpability necessary to commit the crime charged and that, in furtherance thereof [he or] she solicited, requested, commanded, importuned or intentionally aided the principal to commit such crime” (Matter of Bianca W., 267 A.D.2d 463, 464, 700 N.Y.S.2d 497;  see People v. Mendez, 34 A.D.3d 697, 824 N.Y.S.2d 416;  Matter of Peter J., 184 A.D.2d 511, 584 N.Y.S.2d 195).   Upon the exercise of our factual review power (see CPL 470.15[5] ), we are satisfied that the verdict of guilt 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).

The sentence imposed was not excessive (see People v. Suitte, 90 A.D.2d 80, 455 N.Y.S.2d 675).

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