The People v. Steven ScottAnnotate this Case
Defendant was charged with rape in the first degree, rape in the second degree, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. At issue was whether the trial court erred in precluding evidence of the victim's sexual conduct around the time of the incident pursuant to New York's rape shield law and in disqualifying one juror and failing to discharge another. The court held that the county court appropriately accepted defendant's argument that evidence of the complainant's sexual conduct would be relevant to his defense if the prosecution introduced evidence of her bruising caused by sexual contact and attributed such evidence to him. The court concluded that such evidence would have been relevant to both charges of rape but the prosecutor decided not to offer evidence of bruising. The court also held that although the county court failed to make a probing inquiry regarding a sworn juror's ability to render an impartial verdict, its discharge was not error as such action was authorized by CPL 270.15(4) and that there was no error in refusing to disqualify a prospective juror due to a former professional relationship with the prosecutor where the relationship was distant in time and limited in nature.