Indictment Dismissed Due to Discovery Violations
New York Criminal Discovery Violations can lead to dismissals - here the indictment was dismissed.
In this case, the defendant is charged with: four counts of criminal contempt in the first degree; five counts of criminal contempt in the second degree; two counts of tampering with a witness in the third degree; four counts of harassment in the second degree; four counts of forcible touching; four counts of sexual abuse in the third degree; and, stalking in the third and fourth degrees, for events alleged to have occurred over a six month span. Criminal defense attorneys are often tasked with what seems like impossible cases but this New York Criminal Defense resulted in a dismissal of the indictment because the prosecutors, the People of the State of New York, failed to comply with the new discovery scheme under the New York Criminal Procedure Law Article 245.
The New York Law, the Criminal Procedure Law, that New York Prosecutors and Prosecutions must follow is recited by the Court:
On January 1, 2020, sweeping discovery reforms went into effect, repealing C.P.L. Article 240 and replacing it with an entirely new Article — C.P.L. § 245. Newly enacted C.P.L. § 245.20(1)(g) requires the People to disclose, inter alia, "all electronic recordings of 911 telephone calls made or received in connection with the alleged criminal incident" and C.P.L. § 245.20(1)(k)(iv) requires the People to disclose, inter alia, "evidence and information . . . that tends to . . . support a potential defense . . . reduce the degree of or mitigate the defendant's culpability" or "impeach the credibility of a testifying prosecution witness." Once the People have provided said recordings, evidence, and information, they must "serve upon the defendant and file with the court a certificate of compliance." C.P.L. § 245.50(1). The certificate certifies that the People have exercised "due diligence" and made "reasonable inquiries" in obtaining and providing discoverable materials and must be filed "in good faith." Id.
New York Criminal Defense Attorney submits to the Court that the Discovery Violation should lead to a dismissal - here an indictment dismissed - because the Certificate of Compliance and the Statement of Readiness was invalid. New York Criminal Cases like this are serious and prosecutors seek, among other things, bail and orders of protection that impact the constitutional rights of the accused that are supposed to remain a presumption of innocence. The Court recites the salient facts as follows:
On April 19, 2021, the defendant filed a motion, pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law Section 245.50(1), challenging the People's March 5, 2020 certificate of compliance and statement of readiness, along with a motion to dismiss the indictment pursuant to C.P.L. §§ 30.30 and 210.20(1)(g). The People oppose the defendant's motion. Based on a review of the Supreme Court file, relevant transcripts, and the papers filed by the parties, this Court deems the People's March 5, 2020 certificate of compliance and statement of readiness to be invalid and, as such, the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted.
The People failed to file a valid certificate of compliance - albeit the law is relatively new, the same requirement that the people actually provide evidence and are actually ready for trial remains the same. Here, the Defendant, through the New York Criminal Defense Attorney, challenged the "certificate of compliance and statement of readiness, arguing that: the People did not exercise appropriate diligence and/or make meaningful inquiry into the existence of discoverable material; the certificate of compliance was not filed in good faith; and, notwithstanding the Executive Order tolling the provisions of the speedy trial statute, the People's failures prevented them from being ready for trial within the statutorily proscribed time period, and the case, therefore, must be dismissed.
The Court concludes that " In light of the foregoing, the People must be charged with the time period from October 20, 2020, when the Executive Order tolling speedy trial time was lifted, to April 19, 2021, when the defendant filed the instant motion. When combined with the time periods conceded by the People in their response to the instant motion, it is plain that the People exceeded the speedy trial time allotted to them. The indictment, therefore, is dismissed."
The case is People v. Ryklin, 2021 NY Slip Op 50678(U) [72 Misc 3d 1208(A)] (Kings July 15, 2021), New York Reporter.
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