The Third Department determined County Court should not have ruled defendant could be cross-examined about a 1991 burglary conviction in this assault, DWI and reckless driving case arising from a single car accident. The defendant’s record had been unblemished for 23 years, when he was released from prison. The defendant argued that, but for the Sandoval ruling, he would have testified. The Third Department found the error harmless, however:
In gauging whether a conviction is too remote, courts often consider the period of time during which the defendant was incarcerated, as County Court did here. For instance, in People v Wright (38 AD3d 1004 , lv denied 9 NY3d 853 ), this Court allowed inquiry about 20-year-old rape and robbery convictions where the defendant had been released from prison “only nine months prior to the present offense” … .
By comparison, here, defendant had been released from prison for 23 years, with an unblemished record leading up to this event. Under these circumstances, we conclude that County Court abused its discretion in allowing inquiry into the 1991 conviction, which was simply too remote … . People v Cole, 2019 NY Slip Op 08452, Third Dept 11-21-19