Sunday, October 4, 2009

Insufficient Evidence of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree

In rejecting the People's appeal from the dismissal of an indictment for Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, the Court in People v Hatch (2009 NY Slip Op 07075 [4th Dept 10/02/09]) held that
Defendant's actions in driving a vehicle off a street and "doing donuts" with the vehicle in an open field at night with the headlights on do not constitute the "hallmarks of wanton recklessness necessary to demonstrate circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life' " (People v Dudley, 31 AD3d 264, 264, lv denied 7 NY3d 866; cf. People v Gomez, 65 NY2d 9, 10-12; People v Mooney, 62 AD3d 725; People v Robinson, 16 AD3d 768, 769-770, lv denied 4 NY3d 856). Further, although there was evidence that defendant drove in the general direction of two witnesses, we conclude that such evidence is insufficient to establish that defendant's conduct created a grave risk of death to those witnesses (cf. Robinson, 16 AD3d at 769-770; People v Williams, 158 AD2d 253, 253-254, lv denied 75 NY2d 971).

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