Does the Burden of Proving the Truth of An Alibi Lie With the Defendant ?
In People v. Hughes, 159 Misc2d 663, 606 N.Y.S.2d 499 (Supreme Court, Monroe County 1992) the court found that the evidence presented to the Grand Jury was legally insufficient to support an indictment inasmuch as it was never established that the defendant was the person whom the police officer identified from a photo array as the seller of cocaine.
Moreover, there was no evidence before the Grand Jury that the substance allegedly purchased was, in fact, cocaine.
The defendant, his grandmother and aunt also testified before the Grand Jury and offered an alibi defense. Under those circumstances, the court found that, "at a minimum, the Grand Jury should have been instructed that a defendant does not have the burden of proving the truth of his alibi and that even if the Grand Jury disbelieved his alibi, no inference of guilt could be drawn from their disbelief." Hughes, supra, at 669.
The court, in dismissing the indictment noted that "any one of the errors 'may' have resulted in prejudice to the defendant.
Together, the errors substantially prejudiced to the defendant." Hughes, supra.
Therefore, it is not altogether certain whether the indictment would have been dismissed if the only "error" was the prosecutor's failure to charge the jury on alibi.