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Judge correctly questioned witness at trial to clarify allegations of insurance fraud



Melbourne Reid appealed against a judgment of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Ira H. Margulis, J.), issued on April 20, 2018, convicting him of forging a business register in the first degree, to offer a false instrument for filing the first degree, make a punishable false written statement (two points), criminal misconduct in the fourth degree, and incorrectly report an incident in the third degree, all related to a attempted insurance fraud, following a jury assessment and imposing penalty. I The People of the State of New York v Melbourne Reid No. 2021-05593, Ind. No. 1076/17, Supreme Court of New York, Second Chamber (October 13, 2021) appealed the court quickly dismissed the appeal.

Was the defendant deprived of his right to a fair trial through the court's interrogation of a witness?

Contrary to the defendant's assertion, he was not deprived of his right to a fair trial by the Supreme Court's participation in the hearing of witnesses. The district court has an important role to play in clarifying confusing testimony and facilitating the orderly and rapid progress of the trial ( People v Yut Wai Tom 53 NY2d 44, 57; see People v Jamison [19459027)] 47 NY2d 882, 883 -884; People v Moulton 43 NY2d 944; People v De Jesus 42 NY2d 519).

When it is clear to the judge that the case for one reason or another is not presented comprehensibly to the jury, the judge can, through questions to a witness, produce relevant and important facts and may interrogate a witness after a cross-examination that seems misleading to the jury. The overriding principle that limits the discretion of the court is that it is the judge's function to protect the record at trial, not to do so.

The Court's conduct must be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively. Here, the majority of the court's injections were during the trial's testimony to clarify confusing or unresponsive responses from witnesses, or to ensure that the jury understood certain jargon used by witnesses describing law enforcement. Although the minutes showed that some of the court's questions were unnecessary or inappropriate, the court did not become an advocate for the people or exploit the role of the prosecutor. Rather, the minutes as a whole show that the court was impartial and not biased against the defendant.

A bill in a prosecution is invalid as a duplicate when the single bill prosecutes more than one crime. Even if a count is valid in the face, it is still double when the evidence presented at the trial shows that several criminal acts occurred during the relevant time period, making it almost impossible to determine which act the jury came to.

Contrary to the defendant's claim, the evidence at the trial did not make it clear that several criminal acts occurred during the counting of the indictment accusing him of falsifying business records in the first degree, as his conduct generated a single insured file filled with misinformation. Consequently, that count of the indictment was not double.

People who work to defraud an insurance company, such as Mr. Reid, who forged several documents in an attempt to defraud his insurer, simply refuse to accept the fact that they were caught and continue to use and abuse the courts to defeat that fact that a jury of his comrades found him guilty. Judges do not wear gags. They can and must ask questions about a witness answer or lack of answers confuses the jury. Reid tried to use legitimate questions from the trial judge to a witness to avoid his punishment. He will spend time at the gray bar hotel.


© 2021 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to working as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, bad faith insurance and insurance fraud almost as much for insurers and policyholders.

He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance and claims management attorney and more than 54 years in the insurance industry.

Subscribe to Excellence in Claims Handling at https://barryzalma.substack.com/welcome.

He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com. Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award. For the past 53 years, Barry Zalma has devoted his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurance companies and their indemnity staff to become liable for insurance.

Go to training available at https://claimschool.com; articles at https://zalma.substack.com, the podcast Zalma On Insurance at https://anchor.fm/barry-zalma; Follow Mr. Zalma on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bzalma ; Go to Barry Zalma videos at https://www.rumble.com/zalma; Go to Barry Zalma on YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCysiZklEtxZsSF9DfC0Expg; Go to Insurance Claims Library-https: //zalma.com/blog/insurance-claims-library/ T the last two issues of ZIFL are available at https://zalma.com/zalmas-insurance-fraud- letter -2 / podcast now available at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/zalma-on-insurance/id1509583809?uo=4


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