Appellate Division Reverses Legally Insufficient Attempted Murder Conviction

On November 1, 2016, the Appellate Division reversed Raheim Bruno’s attempted second-degree murder conviction because the evidence was legally insufficient to establish accessorial liability. Mr. Bruno gave a statement to the police in which he described how he and a friend went to a Bronx apartment and, while they were in the apartment, another man shot and killed two of the occupants and seriously wounded a third man. When the man turned the gun on Mr. Bruno and his friend, it jammed and he and his friend were able to escape. Despite suffering from a traumatic brain injury, the surviving victim subsequently identified Mr. Bruno’s friend as the person who shot him, although he had previously named someone else as the shooter. The victim placed Mr. Bruno in the apartment at the time of the shooting, but did not ascribe any role to him. Despite the slim evidence against him, Mr. Bruno was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison. On appeal, OAD argued that the evidence was legally insufficient, as it showed no more than Mr. Bruno’s mere presence in the apartment at the time of the shooting. In a unanimous decision, the Appellate Division agreed and ordered that the charges against Mr. Bruno be dismissed. Raheim Bruno was represented by former staff attorney Alejandro Fernandez and Acting Attorney-in-Charge Rosemary Herbert. To read the decision, click here.