The Second Department, reversing defendant’s conviction, determined County Court abused its discretion by not allowing defendant to serve a late notice of his intent to offer psychiatric evidence:
“Psychiatric evidence is not admissible upon a trial unless the defendant serves upon the people and files with the court a written notice of his intention to present psychiatric evidence. Such notice must be served and filed before trial and not more than thirty days after entry of the plea of not guilty to the indictment. In the interest of justice and for good cause shown, however, the court may permit such service and filing to be made at any later time prior to the close of the evidence” (CPL 250.10). Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the evidence he proffered, in opposition to the People’s motion, for the purpose of negating intent, constituted “psychiatric evidence” under the statute (CPL 250.10 … ). The defendant failed to provide the People with timely notice of his intent to offer this evidence. However, the determination as to whether late notice should be permitted is a discretionary one, which requires the court to weigh the defendant’s constitutional right to present witnesses in his own defense against the prejudice to the People arising from late notice … .
Here, the record indicates that the trial court failed to exercise any discretion over whether to permit the defendant to serve late notice of his intent to offer psychiatric evidence … . Exercising our own discretion, we conclude that, under the particular circumstances of this case, the defendant should have been granted permission to serve late notice, and the People’s preclusion motion therefore should have been denied. The evidence that the defendant previously had suffered auditory hallucinations had high probative value to corroborate the defendant’s testimony that he entered the home with the intent to aid a woman who was yelling, rather than to damage the house … . Further, the preclusion of testimony regarding those portions of the defendant’s conversation with the responding officer which involved his past auditory hallucinations, and his resultant hospitalization, deprived the jury of the full context of the interaction. Any prejudice to the People was substantially outweighed by the defendant’s extremely strong interest in presenting the evidence … . People v Morris, 2019 NY Slip Op 05160, Second Dept 6-26-19