The Fourth Department, reversing defendant’s conviction and ordering a new trial, determined: (1) a written statement by a prosecution witness should not have been admitted as “past recollection recorded;” and (2) the jury instruction on accomplice liability prejudiced defendant. The jury-instruction error was not preserved but was considered in the interest of justice:
“The foundational requirements for the admissibility of a past recollection recorded are: (1) the witness must have observed the matter recorded; (2) the recollection must have been fairly fresh at the time when it was recorded; (3) the witness must currently be able to testify that the record is a correct representation of his or her knowledge and recollection at the time it was made; and (4) the witness must lack sufficient present recollection of the information recorded” … . ,,,
… [T]he prosecution witness in question did not testify that his written statement accurately represented his knowledge and recollection when made. To the contrary, the witness testified that the statement was not accurate when given because he was under the influence of narcotics at that time … . Moreover, because the statement was made more than six months after the alleged events recorded therein, the recollection was not “fairly fresh” when recorded … . …
Penal Law § 20.00 provides that a “person is criminally liable for [the conduct of another] when, acting with the mental culpability required for the commission thereof, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or intentionally aids such person to engage in such conduct” ,,, . … [W]e conclude that the court’s use of the phrase “potentially aids” rather than “intentionally aids” significantly prejudiced defendant, who was alleged to have aided and abetted the principal by driving him to and from the crime scene…. . People v Gardner, 2022 NY Slip Op 02911, Fourth Dept 4-29-22
Practice Point: Here the written statement did not meet the criteria for admissibility as past recollection recorded. The witness testified the statement was not accurate when given because he was high and the statement was not “fresh” because it was made six months after the events described in it.