New York's top court unanimously has upheld the conviction of a Uniondale man who murdered a rival in 2007.
Grady Hampton, 27, convicted of gunning down a man who had an affair with his girlfriend, had asked the state Court of Appeals to overturn his case. His lawyers claimed that a critical error occurred during the trial.
Judge Jerald Carter presided over the 2009 trial, during which a jury convicted Hampton of second-degree murder. Hampton's lawyers then filed a motion seeking to dismiss the conviction based on lack of evidence. But Carter recused himself from that decision after learning of a potential conflict, Court of Appeals spokesman Gary Spencer said.
A substitute judge weighed Hampton's motion and dismissed it. Hampton's lawyers claimed the substitute couldn't legally decide the motion since he didn't preside over the case.
Tuesday, the Court of Appeals rejected Hampton's claim in a 6-0 decision. It also said there was plenty of evidence to convict Hampton.
"We conclude that legally sufficient evidence supports his convictions," Judge Susan Read wrote for the court. In addition to murder, Hampton was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon.
Hampton was given a 20-years-to-life sentence. He is currently held at Green Haven Correctional Facility, just southeast of Poughkeepsie, state prison records show.
Prosecutors have said Hampton in December 2007 shot to death Kareem Sapp, 19, who had driven to Hampton's house to give Hampton's girlfriend a ride.