The Third Department, reversing defendant’s conviction by guilty plea, determined the defendant made statements during the plea allocution which negated elements of criminal possession of a weapon. At that point, the sentencing judge should have made an inquiry. This issue falls within an exception to the preservation requirement:
Penal Law § 265.03 (3) requires the possession of a “loaded firearm,” meaning “an operable gun with either live ammunition in the gun or held on [the defendant’s] person” with the gun … . … [D]efendant negated that element at sentencing when he stated that the handgun in question was in his bedstand drawer, not on his person, and that it “wasn’t loaded.” At that point, it was incumbent upon County Court to either “conduct a further inquiry or give . . . defendant an opportunity to withdraw the plea” … . People v Reese, 2022 NY Slip Op 04194, Third Dept 6-30-22
Practice Point: When a defendant makes statements during the plea allocution which negate an element of the charged offense, the judge must make an inquiry or give the defendant the opportunity to withdraw the plea. The error need not be preserved for appeal.