The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant’s motion to vacate his judgment of conviction should not have been denied without a hearing. There was a question of fact whether defense counsel was aware he could call an expert to testify defendant, who had ingested drugs, did not have the required mental state (depraved indifference). The First Department noted Supreme Court may have improperly relied on Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) 440.30 (d) which applies only if the motion is based solely on an allegation by the defendant (not the case here):
While the motion court had a sound basis for its conclusion that there was “no reasonable possibility” that defendant’s trial counsel “was unaware that he could call an expert to testify about the defendant’s state of mind,” we find that this was not an adequate basis for denying the motion without a hearing in these circumstances. First, to the extent the court may have been relying on CPL 440.30(d), that section permits summary denial when “there is no reasonable possibility that such an allegation is true,” but it applies only when the allegation “is made solely by the defendant.” That is not the case here, where the allegation at issue regarding trial counsel’s statements was made by defendant’s motion counsel based on his own knowledge.
Nor do we believe that this is a case such as People v Samandarov (13 NY3d 433 ), where the lack of merit of a CPL 440.10 motion could be determined on the parties’ submissions, despite it being “theoretically possible that a hearing could show otherwise” (id. at 440). Here, while the court’s perception may well be borne out, there are issues of fact sufficient to warrant a hearing … . People v Martin, 2020 NY Slip Op 00067, First Dept 1-7-20