Criminal Case Dismissed - Invalid Certificate of Compliance
Criminal Lawyers can get your New York Criminal Case dismissed if your Certificate of Compliance is Invalid. Here, in People v. Brickus, the Court does not excuse the People's failure to file a valid Certificate of Compliance based on audio records in its possession.
In this case, Defendant is charged by information with violating Penal Law §120.20, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, Penal Law §145.00(1), Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree; Penal Law §150.01, Arson in the Fifth Degree; and Penal Law §145.25, Reckless Endangerment of Property. Defendant’s Lawyer made a Motion to Invalidate the Certificate of Compliance - while discovery should be automatic, the motion is not automatic and the attorney must make an effort to file such a motion - which is granted and, therefore, the case is dismissed.
In New York, after the 2020 changes, New York Criminal Attorneys now have a great deal of information that should automatically come to them, to the accused, and for which the People, the prosecutor, must certify that it has done what is was required to do by law:
Discussion Criminal Procedure Law §245.20 (1) provides a non-exhaustive list of items that the People must automatically disclose to the defendant. Pursuant to CPL 245.20 (2), the People shall make a diligent, good faith effort to ascertain the existence of those items and cause them to be made available for discovery. CPL 245.20 (1)(c) requires that the People disclose to defendant “[t]he names and adequate contact information for all persons other than law enforcement personnel whom the prosecutor knows to have evidence or information relevant to any offense charged or to any potential defense thereto….” Criminal Procedure Law §245.50 (1) states, “when the prosecution has provided the discovery required by [CPL 245.20 (1)]…it shall serve upon the defendant and file with the court a certificate of compliance.” Further, “the certificate of compliance shall state that, after exercising due diligence and making reasonable inquiries to ascertain the existence of material and information subject to discovery, the prosecutor has disclosed and made available all known material and information subject to discovery.”
Criminal Defense Attorneys in New York now have some meaningful ability to challenge Speedy Trial Violation and false statements by New York State Prosecutors for New York Criminal Offenses. The Defendant, the Criminal Defense Attorney, is successful in Invalidate the Certificate of Compliance, dated October 29, 2021:
Defendant moves for an order deeming invalid the People’s Certificate of Compliance (COC) because the People failed to disclose contact information for the complaining witness as required by Criminal Procedure Law §245.20 (1)(c). Defendant’s motion is granted. Facts Defendant’s DAT arraignment occurred on March 12, 2021. On June 9, 2021, the People filed a Supporting Deposition, certificate of compliance (COC), a certificate of readiness (COR), an automatic disclosure form (ADF), and an addendum to the ADF. On the addendum to the ADF, the People disclosed the name of the complaining witness...only “WitCom.” ... In court on August 27, 2021, the People announced ready for trial.
The argument was quite simple but the Criminal Defense Attorney was required to file a motion, paperwork, that often time criminal defense clients are otherwise unaware. Here, the Criminal Defense Lawyer filed a "Notice of Motion on October 8, 2021, defendant moved for an order deeming the People’s COC invalid because when their COC was filed, the People had not provided the complaining witness’ contact information, as required by CPL 245.20 (1)(c)." The Court notes that the Criminal Defense Attorney was correct: "It is undisputed that the contact information at issue here must be disclosed pursuant to CPL 245.20 (1)(c), that the People were in possession of that contact information on June 9, 2021, when they served and filed their COC, and that the People had not disclosed that contact information to the defense when they filed their COC."
Criminal Defense Lawyers - File the Motion! It is incumbent upon the Criminal Lawyer to challenge it, because although "The People argue that their failure to file a valid COC should be excused for several reasons," the Court finds "That the People have not described efforts made to disclose the contact information, or any obstacles to doing so, further undermines any claim of a diligent, good faith effort to cause the contact information to be made available for discovery as required by CPL 245.20 (2)." The People were required to file a supplement Certificate of Compliance, to state in writing its diligence, and the Court rejects the idea that the Certificate "should not be deemed invalid despite their failure to disclose contact information"
The Court, like others reaching this issue, are holding the people accountable - dismissal of criminal charges - for violating the law that "the People do not dispute that they were aware of their obligation to disclose..." because "There is no learning curve that is relevant here...from the outset, the People were in possession of the complaining witness’ contact information yet failed to disclose it.
It is important to note the holding here, the premise of law to be utilized by the accused, where "This court, however, finds no statutory authority for deeming a COC to be valid once it is determined that the People have not met their discovery obligations prior to the filing of the COC. Conclusion For these reasons, defendant’s motion is granted." The Court concludes that "The People’s COC filed on June 9, 2021 is invalid" and "because the People cannot be deemed ready for trial until a proper COC is filed (CPL 30.30 [statement of trial readiness must be accompanied by a COC]), the COR also filed by the People on June 9, 2021 is invalid for want of a valid COC."
The case is People v. Brickus, and the Court makes clear that there is solution to make an invalid Certificate of Compliance valid because the consequences may mean that the People are not ready and, therefore, the criminal case may be dismissed on Speedy Trial Grounds.
Cory H. Morris, Esq. New York and Florida, Injury, Addiction, Accident, Call the Law Offices of Cory H. Morris, 631-450-2515 (NYS) (954) 998-2918 (FLA)
Call 631-450-2515 or E-Mail info@CoryHMorris.com to arrange for an evaluation of your criminal defense, appellate matter or for assistance in filing a criminal defense motion.