People v. John G. Glynn


AD4 order dated March 23, 2012, affirming judgment of conviction. Decision below: 93 A.D.3d 1341, 941 N.Y.S.2d 424. Lippman, Ch.J., granted leave July 30, 2012.

ISSUES PRESENTED: (1) Whether the trial judge should have recused himself because he previously represented the defendant on an unrelated matter and may have previously prosecuted him on another unrelated matter. (2) Whether the trial evidence was legally sufficient. (3) Whether defendant’s sentence penalized him for going to trial. (Assigned counsel: Paul V. Mullin, c/o Sugarman Law Firm LLP, 211 West Jefferson St., Syracuse, NY 13202.)

Issue before the Court: Whether the County Court judge abused his discretion as a matter of law in refusing to recuse himself on the basis of his prior representation of the defendant on an unrelated criminal matter.

Held: Stressing the high standard for recusal, the Court noted that there was no statutory basis for disqualification under the Judiciary Law, and the complained-of remarks by the judge were not indicative of bias but based on information in the presentencing report that was relevant to sentencing. Nor did either of the two trial attorneys render ineffective assistance, as one was replaced and the other provided meaningful representation notwithstanding a number of inappropriate exchanges with the judge.