Updated 12/01/2009 10:41 AM
Court hears Porco appeal
A New York City court listened to an appeal in the Christopher Porco case. Porco was convicted in 2006 of killing his father and attempting to kill his mother two years earlier. He's currently serving a minimum 50 year sentence in prison. Our Britt Godshalk was in court for the appeal and has the details from Brooklyn.
Courtroom video from the Christopher Porco appeal will play following Britt Godshalk's story.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- "It was the question by a detective that led to the only direct evidence presented against Christopher Porco.
"Did your son Christopher do this to you?"
The detective testified that Joan Porco, who was severely injured at the time, her husband brutally murdered, nodded yes. But defense attorney Terry Kindlon argued before an appellate court that the head nod testimony should never have been allowed in trial because Joan Porco could not be cross examined about it if she had no memory of it.
"It would have been as meaningful to cross examine a chair," said Kindlon.
In court on Monday, Kindlon said, "She has absolutely no recollection of the event or the alleged conversation. We are therefore denied the right to cross examine her about that, and that in turn violates the confrontation clause."
The prosecution argued that the defense merely missed an opportunity in trial.
"In almost any case, a defense attorney would be thrilled to have our star witness take the stand and say, 'I don't remember.' That's great cross examination material...They didn't do that," said Christopher Horn, special counsel to the Albany County District Attorney's Office.
Still, the court seemed to struggled with the prosecutor's precedence.
"This case is as unique as Mr. Kindlon said it is when compared to the cases you're relying on," said Appellate Division Justice Hon. Peter B. Skelos.
Kindlon also argued that detectives based much of their case on information on information obtained during an unconstitutional interrogation of Christopher Porco. But at least one judge challenged, wouldn't the police have found out the information by other means anyway?
Appellate Division Justice Hon. Randall T. Eng said, "What was it that was derived from his statement that they could not have gotten from any other investigation based upon common sense principles."
Kindlon said, "I mean, those are legitimate questions, and, you know, in a court like this, the court plays devil's advocate."
Meanwhile, the very woman whose injuries and alleged actions are at the focus of the court's questioning must now wait weeks, maybe months, for an answer.
Kindlon said, "She's a trooper. She really is. I mean, she's a wonderful woman and one of the strongest people I've ever met in my life."