The Second Department, reversing defendant’s conviction, determined: (1) the evidence of a sexual touching of complainant by defendant captured on video in the laundromat was legally insufficient; (2) the evidence that defendant attacked the complainant after she left the laundromat was legally sufficient; (3) but the convictions stemming from the attack on the complainant after she left the laundromat were against the weight of the evidence because of the weakness or absence of identification evidence. So this is a rare decision where the evidence was explicitly found legally sufficient but the related convictions were found to be against the weight of the evidence:
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, here, there was legally sufficient evidence to support the defendant’s convictions of sexual abuse in the first degree and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. The surveillance video footage showed the defendant leaving the laundromat just after the complainant had left. Both the complainant and the defendant were shown walking down Woodhaven Boulevard, and the defendant’s clothing matched the complainant’s description of the clothes worn by her assailant. Therefore, a rational juror could have concluded that the defendant was the perpetrator of the assault on the complainant that occurred near her home.
However, the evidence was not legally sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction of sexual abuse in the third degree. …
… [O]ur viewing of the video recording taken inside the laundromat did not establish that the contact between the defendant and the complainant as he was exiting the laundromat was of a sexual nature. At best, the video was ambiguous as to the nature of the touching depicted. * * *
In the face of the markedly disparate descriptions offered by the detectives and the complainant, and in the absence of an in-court identification, the verdict of the jury finding the defendant guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation was against the weight of the evidence … . People v Kassebaum, 2020 NY Slip Op 05529, Second Dept 10-7-20