PEOPLE v. COCKETT

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

The PEOPLE, etc., respondent, v. Arthur COCKETT, appellant.

Decided: May 23, 2012

PETER B. SKELOS, J.P., RUTH C. BALKIN, JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, and LEONARD B. AUSTIN, JJ. Alice A. Nicholson, Brooklyn, N.Y., for appellant. Thomas J. Spota, District Attorney, Riverhead, N.Y. (Michael J. Miller of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the County Court, Suffolk County (Ambro, J.), rendered December 3, 2010, convicting him of grand larceny in the third degree (two counts), scheme to defraud in the first degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, and falsifying business records in the first degree (eight counts), upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, and the matter is remitted to the County Court, Suffolk County, for further proceedings pursuant to CPL 460.50(5).

 Contrary to the defendant's contention, the People established by a preponderance of the evidence that Suffolk County had geographical jurisdiction over the crimes of which the defendant was convicted (see CPL 20.40[2][c];  20.10[4];  People v. Lumpkins, 11 A.D.3d 563, 564, 782 N.Y.S.2d 804;  cf. Matter of Taub v. Altman, 3 N.Y.3d 30, 36, 781 N.Y.S.2d 492, 814 N.E.2d 799).   Further, we reject the defendant's contention that he was not given adequate notice of the basis on which Suffolk County asserted geographical jurisdiction.   The indictment, as supplemented by the People's bill of particulars, sufficiently apprised the defendant of the asserted basis of geographical jurisdiction (see Matter of Taub v. Altman, 3 N.Y.3d at 40, 781 N.Y.S.2d 492, 814 N.E.2d 799).

 The defendant's challenge to the legal sufficiency of the evidence is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05[2];  People v. Hawkins, 11 N.Y.3d 484, 492, 872 N.Y.S.2d 395, 900 N.E.2d 946).   In any event, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 621, 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.   Moreover, in fulfilling our responsibility to conduct an independent review of the weight of the evidence (see CPL 470.15[5];  People v. Danielson, 9 N.Y.3d 342, 849 N.Y.S.2d 480, 880 N.E.2d 1), we nevertheless accord great deference to the jury's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear the testimony, and observe demeanor (see People v. Mateo, 2 N.Y.3d 383, 410, 779 N.Y.S.2d 399, 811 N.E.2d 1053, cert. denied 542 U.S. 946, 124 S.Ct. 2929, 159 L.Ed.2d 828;  People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 495, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672).   Upon reviewing the record here, 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 defendant's contention that the County Court erred in admitting evidence of uncharged crimes is without merit.   The evidence of uncharged crimes was probative on the issue of the defendant's knowledge and intent with respect to the charged crimes (see People v. Bayne, 82 N.Y.2d 673, 676, 601 N.Y.S.2d 464, 619 N.E.2d 401;  People v. Bastian, 294 A.D.2d 882, 883, 743 N.Y.S.2d 217;  People v. Evans, 294 A.D.2d 445, 445–446, 741 N.Y.S.2d 903;  People v. Carelock, 278 A.D.2d 851, 719 N.Y.S.2d 412;  People v. Renzulli, 100 A.D.2d 945, 474 N.Y.S.2d 834;  cf. Matter of Brandon, 55 N.Y.2d 206, 211, 448 N.Y.S.2d 436, 433 N.E.2d 501).   Moreover, inasmuch as the probative value of this evidence outweighed any potential for undue prejudice, the County Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in admitting this evidence (see People v. Gamble, 18 N.Y.3d 386, 397–398, 941 N.Y.S.2d 1, 964 N.E.2d 372;  People v. Alvino, 71 N.Y.2d 233, 242, 525 N.Y.S.2d 7, 519 N.E.2d 808;  cf. People v. Wilkinson, 71 A.D.3d 249, 254, 892 N.Y.S.2d 535).   Finally, the Supreme Court gave appropriate limiting instructions as to the proper use of the challenged evidence (see People v. Holden, 82 A.D.3d 1007, 1008, 918 N.Y.S.2d 773;  People v. Rock, 65 A.D.3d 558, 559, 882 N.Y.S.2d 907;  People v. Melendez, 8 A.D.3d 680, 681, 778 N.Y.S.2d 894).

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

The defendant's remaining contentions are without merit.

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