The First Department reversed defendant’s conviction because the judge refused to grant defendant a one-day adjournment to bring in a witness after granting the People’s request for a missing-witness jury instruction:
Having granted the People’s request for the [missing witness] instruction, the court should have granted defendant a short adjournment. A missing witness issue “must be raised as soon as practicable so that the court can appropriately exercise its discretion and the parties can tailor their trial strategy”… . Here, the moving party raised the issue after defendant’s testimony, when the issue became apparent. The court should have then accorded the nonmoving party the opportunity to avoid the missing witness charge by calling the witness. Although defendant was willing to call the witness, the court effectively rendered the witness unavailable, thus negating the availability requirement for a missing witness charge.
The court apparently denied the adjournment on the ground that defendant should have anticipated the missing witness issue. However, an adjournment to the next day would have been reasonable under the circumstances. People v Manzi, 2014 NY Slip Op 00280, 1st Dept 1-16-14