Depraved Indifference Assault in New York Example Case

In People v. S.E-W., (13 Misc 3d 1050, 827 NYS2d 557 [Sup Ct, Nassau County 2006]), the court examined the legal sufficiency of an indictment charging depraved indifference assault and other charges. Defendant, who had allegedly been involved in an altercation in a bar, had been escorted out of the bar by a bouncer and an other patron. Defendant, who was cursing and threatened to "kill all you guys" (at 1051), entered his car, drove to the exit of the parking area, and then suddenly made a U-turn. He accelerated toward a crowd of patrons at a high rate of speed, causing physical injury to two of them, and then drove directly at the bouncer and the patron who had removed him from the bar, causing serious physical injury to these individuals. Refusing to decide whether the alleged conduct was intentional or reckless, the court noted (at 1054) that, "On the one hand, defendant had threatened to kill two specific individuals and ultimately drove at them causing serious physical injury. On the other hand, the proof fits one of the quintessential examples of depraved indifference by driving through a crowd without regard to the consequences." The court therefore found that the evidence was legally sufficient to support the indicted charge of depraved indifference assault.