CAL in the Courts

AD1 Unanimously Reduces Client's Sentence by 15 Years


On November 16, 2017, the Appellate Division unanimously reduced the 40-years-to-life aggregate sentence of our client, S.M., to 25 years to life.  Convicted, after a jury trial, of felony murder and second-degree (“simple”) weapon possession, he had received consecutive sentences of 25 to life and 15 years.  On appeal, we had challenged, as unduly suggestive, a lineup identification of our client and the court’s charge on accomplice corroboration.  The appellate panel rebuffed these arguments.  We also challenged the consecutive sentence as unlawful under People v. Brown, 21 N.Y.3d 739 (2013), arguing that, since the weapon (a gun) was obtained only because of and after the plan to commit the crime with it was allegedly hatched — the intended crime being a robbery —  it did not pass Brown’s test for consecutive sentencing.  The Appellate Division thought otherwise.  In the alternative, we had argued that such consecutive sentencing constituted an abuse of discretion, since our client had allegedly sought to unload the gun prior to the robbery and had also expressed interest in the court’s guilty-plea offer of 20-to-life that had been tendered to him and his co-defendant following the declaration of a mistrial and prior to the start of the retrial that resulted in their convictions.  Conditioned on both defendants’ accepting it, the plea did not come to fruition because the co-defendant rejected it.  See People v. Fiumefreddo, 82 N.Y.2d 536, 544 (1993).  The Appellate Division did not give any reasons, but reduced our client’s sentence as a matter of discretion.  He is represented by CAL attorney Susan Salomon.