The First Department, reversing defendant’s conviction and ordering a new trial, determined the judge’s failure to read the entire note from the jury to the parties was a mode of proceedings error. The fact that the jury announced it had reached a verdict before the note was read was not determinative:
The trial court’s failure to read to the parties the entirety of a note submitted just before the jury reached a verdict deprived counsel of meaningful notice (see CPL 310.30 … ). The note was not shown to counsel, and the court’s paraphrase omitted significant aspects of the jury’s requests, including a request for reinstruction on the count charging second-degree assault, which was the only count on which defendant was found guilty. The fact that the jury announced that it had reached a verdict before the note was read did not cure this mode of proceedings error … . People v Heyworth, 2022 NY Slip Op 06072, First Dept 10-27-22
Practice Point: Here the jury had announced it had reached a verdict before the jury note was called to the parties attention. The judge did not read the note to the parties in its entirety and the judge’s paraphrase of its contents omitted important aspects of it. This was deemed a mode of proceedings error requiring a new trial.