People v. Goldstein

6 N.Y.3d 119, 843 N.E.2d 727 (2005)

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People v. Goldstein

New York Court of Appeals
6 N.Y.3d 119, 843 N.E.2d 727 (2005)

  • Written by Nicole Gray , JD

Facts

In 1999, Goldstein (defendant) was charged with second-degree murder after he pushed a woman he had no relation to into the path of an approaching subway train. Goldstein raised an insanity defense, and his first trial resulted in a hung jury. At Goldstein’s second trial, both his and the state’s testifying psychiatrists agreed that Goldstein was mentally ill, having a history of schizophrenia and hospitalization for mental-health treatment. However, the state’s psychiatrist did not believe that Goldstein’s mental illness reached the level of legal insanity. The state psychiatrist testified that she was a forensic psychiatrist and had used third-party interviews to form the basis of her opinion, as was her typical practice and that of a growing number of others who practiced her specialty. From her interviews, the psychiatrist opined that Goldstein only suffered from relatively mild schizophrenia, which was substantially controlled, and that Goldstein’s murderous act was driven by sexual frustration and a personality disorder that caused him to attack women who rejected him. Over Goldstein’s objection, the psychiatrist was allowed to relay the statements made by six of her interviewees to the jury, including statements made by Goldstein’s landlady leading up to the murder, one of his roommates, another roommate’s girlfriend, and a security guard who had intervened during Goldstein’s attack of another woman three years before the murder. After deliberation, Goldstein’s second jury rejected his insanity plea and convicted him of second-degree murder as charged. The appellate division affirmed the jury’s verdict. Goldstein appealed, arguing that the state psychiatrist’s testimony recounting the interviewee’s statements was inadmissible hearsay and admission of the testimony violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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