The Second Department held that the trial court’s failure to comply with Criminal Procedure Law 310.10 with respect to responding to a note from the jury concerning accomplice liability required reversal (despite the absence of an objection):
A new trial is required due to the trial court’s failure to meaningfully comply with CPL 310.10. During deliberations, the jury sent four notes to the trial court. The record reflects that, on the fourth occasion, the court did not disclose the contents of the note to the prosecutor and defense counsel until serially reading, and immediately responding to, the questions contained therein in the presence of the jury. All three of the questions in this note concerned the subject of accomplice liability.
The jury’s requests for further explanation of the meaning of accomplice liability within the context of this case required a “substantive response”, rather than a merely “ministerial” one … . As such, the trial court’s failure to afford defense counsel “the opportunity to provide suggestions” … regarding the court’s responses to the jury’s questions constituted “a mode of proceedings error . . . requiring reversal” …, despite defense counsel’s failure to object to the trial court’s handling of the jury’s fourth note … . People v Gadson, 2013 NY Slip Op 07059, 2nd Dept 10-30-13