The Second Department, reversing defendant’s conviction, determined that prosecutorial misconduct and the admission of irrelevant evidence of another crime required reversal:
“[O]n summation, a prosecutor may not improperly encourage[ ] inferences of guilt based on facts not in evidence'” … As we determined in People v Ramirez (150 AD3d at 899-900), the prosecutor here improperly suggested that the jury should disregard the grand jury testimony of one of the People’s main witnesses, and invited the jury to speculate that a missing witness would have given supporting testimony if he had been called to testify. …
“The rule of Molineux is familiar: Evidence of uncharged crimes is inadmissible where its only purpose is to show bad character or propensity towards crime” … . However, “evidence of other crimes may be admitted to show motive, intent, the absence of mistake or accident, a common scheme or plan or the identity of the guilty party” … . “In addition, evidence of uncharged crimes may be admitted as necessary background material when relevant to a contested issue in the case, or to complete the narrative of the events if such evidence is inextricably interwoven with the crime charged” … . “Still, even if technically relevant for one of these or some other legitimate purpose, Molineux evidence will not be admitted if it is actually of slight value when compared to the possible prejudice to the accused'” … .
The fact that the defendant allegedly resisted arrest six months after the incident in question after violating an order of protection against him held by one of the complainants was not relevant in this matter. The defendant was not resisting arrest for the crimes charged at trial, and resisting arrest in this instance was too far removed from the underlying incident to be deemed admissible as evidence of consciousness of guilt … . People v Ramirez, 2020 NY Slip Op 01087, Second Dept 2-13-20