People v Thorpe
2007 NY Slip Op 06731
Decided on September 13, 2007
Appellate Division, First Department
In the above cited case, after denying the defendant an opportunity to even present a defense, we learn the the judge felt the need to "participate" in the case a little differently than allowed by law. She joined in the questioning interrupting defense counsel's crossexamination of the police witnesses.
Here is the First Dept's excerpted decision on the issue of the court's interference.:
We also find reversible error in the trial court's almost continuous interference, during cross examination of the People's witnesses, in defense counsel's exploration of issues relevant to defendant's intent to sell (see People v Canto, 31 AD3d 312 , lv denied 7 NY3d 900 ; People v Melendez, 31 AD3d 186 , lv denied 7 NY3d 927 ; People v Retamozzo, 25 AD3d 73 ; People v Garriga, 189 AD2d 236 , lv denied 82 NY2d 718 ). While we recognize that the dynamics of a criminal trial may result in some intervention by the trial judge in the examination of witnesses, the cumulative effect of the court's extraordinarily incessant interference in this case was to obstruct counsel's effort to present a defense for his client. This is simply unacceptable.
Hattip: ABA Journal on line found here