The Fourth Department, vacating defendant’s plea to depraved indifference murder, determined the plea colloquy negated an essential element of the offense:
… [W]e agree with defendant that, although his admissions during the plea allocution established the mens rea element of recklessness … , his recitation of the facts underlying the charge of murder in the second degree pursuant to Penal Law § 125.25 (2) “cast significant doubt upon his guilt insofar as it negated the [second mens rea] element of depraved indifference” … . In response to the court’s question whether defendant did not care if harm happened to the victim or how the risk to the victim turned out, defendant stated through defense counsel that “[h]e did care for [the victim].” We conclude that defendant’s statement negated the element of depraved indifference because the second mens rea element of the crime required that defendant “did not care whether [the] victim lived or died” … or, in other words, that he did “not care how the risk turn[ed] out” … . Defendant, however, conveyed during the factual recitation the exact opposite of the requisite mental state, i.e., that he did, in fact, care for the victim. People v Bovio, 2022 NY Slip Op 03591, Fourth Dept 6-3-22
Practice Point: The defendant, during the plea colloquy for depraved indifference murder, stated that he cared for the three-year-old victim. That statement negated the element of depraved indifference murder which requires that the defendant “not care if the victim lived or died.” The plea was vacated.