The First Department determined the People offered an adequate explanation of the 5 1/2 year delay between when defendant’s DNA was matched to evidence collected from the victims and the indictment. The court further determined the hearsay evidence of third-party culpability was properly excluded as unreliable:
In the intervening years, the prosecution had sought to obtain evidence to strengthen their case, which was based on circumstantial evidence, and the investigative delays were satisfactorily explained … . Furthermore, the resulting prejudice, if any, was minimal. While one potential witness, of questionable reliability, told police that two other men had committed the crimes, and that witness died during the period of delay at issue, the jury nevertheless heard testimony that one of those men had been arrested early in the case. Moreover, ‘a determination made in good faith to delay prosecution for sufficient reasons will not deprive defendant of due process even though there may be some prejudice to defendant’ … .
The court properly exercised its discretion in denying, on the ground of lack of sufficient indicia of reliability, defendant’s motion to admit hearsay evidence of third-party culpability … . The declarant, the above-discussed man who died during the pendency of the investigation, contradicted himself in numerous statements … . Moreover, other evidence in the case directly undermined the reliability of his statements. People v Fleming, 2016 NY Slip Op 05334, 1st Dept 7-5-16
CRIMINAL LAW (5 1/2 YEAR DELAY BEFORE INDICTMENT ADEQUATELY EXPLAINED; HEARSAY EVIDENCE OF THIRD-PARTY CULPABILITY PROPERLY EXCLUDED AS UNRELIABLE)/EVIDENCE (CRIMINAL LAW, HEARSAY EVIDENCE OF THIRD-PARTY CULPABILITY PROPERLY EXCLUDED AS UNRELIABLE)/PRE-INDICTMENT DELAY (5 1/2 YEAR DELAY BEFORE INDICTMENT ADEQUATELY EXPLAINED)/THIRD PARTY CULPABILITY (CRIMINAL LAW, HEARSAY EVIDENCE OF THIRD-PARTY CULPABILITY PROPERLY EXCLUDED AS UNRELIABLE)