People v Wise (Ora)Annotate this Case
Decided on November 10, 2009
APPELLATE TERM OF THE SUPREME COURT, FIRST DEPARTMENT
PRESENT: McKeon, P.J., Schoenfeld, Heitler, JJ
The People of the State of New York, Respondent,
Ora Wise, Lisa Bhungalia and Katherine Barnhard, Defendants-Appellants.
In consolidated criminal appeals, defendants appeal from three judgments of the Criminal
Court of the City of New York, New York County (Raymond Guzman, J. on dismissal motion;
Robert M. Stolz, J. at trial), rendered May 22, 2004 and August l, 2005, after a jury trial,
convicting them of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree and two counts
of disorderly conduct, and imposing sentence.
Judgments of conviction (Raymond Guzman, J. on dismissal motion; Robert M. Stolz, J. at jury trial), rendered May 22, 2004 and August l, 2005, affirmed.
Defendants' challenge to the facial sufficiency of the underlying accusatory instruments is
unavailing. The informations alleged, in nearly identical form, that, at approximately 9:20 a.m.
on March 26, 2003, all three
defendants were observed "laying [sic] down in the middle of the street" with several other individuals at the
intersection of 47th Street and Fifth Avenue, with defendants Wise and Bhungalia "bound to [others] with chains inside a plastic tube"; that defendants' conduct "prevent[ed] the free movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic; and that defendants refused to leave or disperse when ordered to do so by police — with the dispersal orders in the case of defendants Wise and Bhungalia being given after police "cut" their chains. Such allegations, given a fair and not overly restrictive or technical reading (People v Casey, 95 NY2d 354, 360 ), were sufficient for pleading purposes to make out a prima facie case of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree (Penal Law § 195.05; see People v Barrett, 179 Misc 2d 261 ; People v Cronk, 2002 NY Slip Op 50184[U]).
The verdict was supported by legally sufficient evidence
and was not against the weight of the evidence. We find no basis to disturb the jury's credibility determinations, including those relating to the police issuance of dispersal
We have considered and rejected defendants' remaining argument. [*2]
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER
OF THE COURT.
Decision Date: November 10, 2009