People v. Sergio Cerda: Conviction Reversed

Donna Aldea Obtains Landmark Victory in New York’s Highest Court Redefining the Breadth of New York’s Rape Shield Law and Overruling Prior Precedent of Intermediate Appellate Court for 10 New York Counties

Donna Aldea, who heads the Appellate and Post-Conviction Litigation group at BEKAL, secured a tremendous victory in the Court of Appeals, not only obtaining a reversal of Sergio Cerda’s conviction, but also persuading the state’s highest court to examine and redefine the breadth of New York’s Rape Shield Law to bring it in line with criminal defendants’ fundamental constitutional rights to present a defense and to due process of law.

Containing a substantial and detailed discussion of the purpose and application of New York’s Rape Shield Law, and significantly redefining its contours, the Court of Appeals’ decision in this case overruled prior appellate case law on this issue from the Appellate Division, Second Department -- which encompasses Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties -- underscoring the state-wide significance of this decision and the far-reaching impact it will have on sexual abuse cases in the future.

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