The Fourth Department determined the evidence of serious physical injury, an element of the gang assault charge, was supported by sufficient evidence presented to the grand jury. However, prosecutorial misconduct during the grand jury proceedings warranted dismissal of the indictment (the People may represent however):
We agree with the People that the evidence before the grand jury was legally sufficient to establish that the victim sustained a serious physical injury. While the medical records introduced in evidence were uncertified and were thus hearsay, the victim himself was competent to testify to “readily apparent external physical injuries of which he obviously [had] personal knowledge” … .
We agree with the court, however, that the prosecutor engaged in a pervasive pattern of improper conduct at the grand jury proceeding that warranted dismissal of the indictment on the ground that the integrity of the proceeding was impaired … .. The prosecutor acted improperly in repeatedly asking leading questions of his witnesses … , and in introducing hearsay evidence … . During his cross-examination of defendants, the prosecutor improperly asked them whether other witnesses were lying … ., and he asked Blauvelt, without any evident good faith basis, whether defendants used illegal drugs on the night of the altercation and whether they used steroids in general … .. “Most egregiously,” as described by the court, the prosecutor acted as an unsworn witness by stating personal opinions relevant to material issues during his instructions to the grand jury, i.e., that younger people are more likely than older people to start fights, and that the victim’s injuries must have resulted from “a substantial beating” … . We remind the People that a prosecutor owes “a duty of fair dealing to the accused” at a grand jury proceeding and, more generally, that a prosecutor “serves a dual role as advocate and public officer,” and must “not only . . . seek convictions but [must] also . . . see that justice is done” … . People v Blauvelt, 2017 NY Slip Op 08948, Fourth Dept 12-21-17
CRIMINAL LAW (GRAND JURY EVIDENCE OF SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY PRESENTED THROUGH THE VICTIM’S TESTIMONY WAS SUFFICIENT, PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT DURING THE GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS WARRANTED DISMISSAL OF THE INDICTMENT (FOURTH DEPT))/ATTORNEYS (CRIMINAL LAW, GRAND JURY, PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT DURING THE GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS WARRANTED DISMISSAL OF THE INDICTMENT (FOURTH DEPT))/PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT (MISCONDUCT DURING THE GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS WARRANTED DISMISSAL OF THE INDICTMENT (FOURTH DEPT))/EVIDENCE (CRIMINAL LAW, GRAND JURY, SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY, GRAND JURY EVIDENCE OF SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY PRESENTED THROUGH THE TESTIMONY OF THE VICTIM WAS SUFFICIENT (FOURTH DEPT))