People v. Benitez, Index No. 1884/2019

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New York)
Writing for the CourtSteven M. Statsinger, J.
Citation155 N.Y.S.3d 751,73 Misc.3d 804
Docket NumberIndex No. 1884/2019
Decision Date28 October 2021
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of New York v. Felix BENITEZ, Defendant.

73 Misc.3d 804
155 N.Y.S.3d 751

The PEOPLE of the State of New York
v.
Felix BENITEZ, Defendant.

Index No. 1884/2019

Supreme Court, New York County, New York.

Decided on October 28, 2021


Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney (Kathryn Suma of counsel), for plaintiff.

The Legal Aid Society (Lamar Miller of counsel) for defendant.

Steven M. Statsinger, J.

73 Misc.3d 805

Defendant has moved for an Order "[d]eeming the prosecution's certificate of compliance (COC), filed on August 3, 2021, to be improper." He also asks that the requirement that the defense file its own COC, see C.P.L. §§ 245.10(2) and 245.50(2), be deferred until 30 days after "the prosecution files and serves a valid COC." Defendant's motion is DENIED in its entirety. The defense is directed to file its own COC within thirty days of this decision.

155 N.Y.S.3d 752

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On June 15, 2019, defendant was arrested on an outstanding parole violation warrant in the vicinity of 50 Avenue D, in New York County. An inventory search of his fanny pack revealed small packages containing drugs - crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

The indictment charges the defendant with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, fourth degree, and seventh degree, and he was arraigned on the indictment on July 30, 2019. The People provided discovery and, on August 3, 2021, filed a COC.

Defendant filed the instant motion on September 24, 2021. The motion specifies that the "following discovery materials were not provided to the defense prior to the [People's] filing of the COC in this case: Radio Runs. See C.P.L. § 245.20(1)(e)." Affidavit of Lamar Miller, Esq., at ¶ 8, double emphasis in original. The People have acknowledged that they did not provide recordings of the radio runs, explaining that by the time they sought them from the NYPD the recordings had been deleted. Affidavit of Kathryn Suma, Esq., at ¶ 13. The People did, however, turn over to the defense the Sprint reports, which included transcriptions of the radio runs. Id. at ¶.

73 Misc.3d 806

The defendant's motion also alludes, in a non-specific way, to disclosures relating to police officer disciplinary records. Miller Aff. at ¶¶ 32-69. However, it does not identify any particular item or items of discovery, relating to any particular individual, that the defense believes it is entitled to but did not receive.

LEGAL DISCUSSION

1. The Motion Is Moot Because the People Have Not Yet Answered Ready for Trial

In People v. Barnett , 68 Misc. 3d 1000, 129 N.Y.S.3d 293 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County 2020), this Court held that a defendant's motion seeking a stand-alone declaration that a COC was invalid - that is, a declaration of a COC's invalidity not associated with a parallel claim that the People's statement of trial readiness (SOR) was invalid - was moot. Barnett reasoned that, since the only purpose of a COC is to serve as "a necessary prerequisite to a valid statement of readiness" for C.P.L. § 30.30 purposes, it follows that the question of the validity of a COC is only ripe for adjudication in the context of a judicial determination of the validity of an SOR. See C.P.L.§§ 30.30(5) ; 245.50). Barnett , 68 Misc. 3d at 1002, 129 N.Y.S.3d 293.

The case at bar is identically postured. The People have yet to answer ready, the speedy trial clock is currently tolled due to motion practice, and defendant explicitly asserts in his motion that he is not seeking relief pursuant to C.P.L. § 30.30. Miller Aff. at ¶ 14. The defense does not even mention, let alone attempt to distinguish, Barnett in its motion papers, but the Court cannot see any reason why its holding would not apply here.

Indeed, the only cases the defense cites are cases in which a court considered the validity of a COC as a means of determining the validity of...

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2 practice notes
  • People v. Henry, Indictment 70277-21
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • April 11, 2022
    ...statement of trial readiness would be illusory (People v. Barnett, 68 Misc.3d 1000 [NY County Supreme Ct. 2020]; People v. Benitez, 73 Misc.3d 804 [NY County Supreme Ct, 2021]). This Court notes that "good faith, due diligence, and reasonableness under the circumstances are the touchstones ......
  • People v. Henry, Indictment No. 70277-21
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • April 11, 2022
    ...statement of trial readiness would be illusory ( People v. Barnett, 68 Misc 3d 1000 [NY County Supreme Ct. 2020] ; People v. Benitez , 73 Misc 3d 804 [NY County Supreme Ct, 2021] ).This Court notes that "good faith, due diligence, and reasonableness under the circumstances are the touchston......
2 cases
  • People v. Henry, Indictment 70277-21
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • April 11, 2022
    ...statement of trial readiness would be illusory (People v. Barnett, 68 Misc.3d 1000 [NY County Supreme Ct. 2020]; People v. Benitez, 73 Misc.3d 804 [NY County Supreme Ct, 2021]). This Court notes that "good faith, due diligence, and reasonableness under the circumstances are the touchstones ......
  • People v. Henry, Indictment No. 70277-21
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • April 11, 2022
    ...statement of trial readiness would be illusory ( People v. Barnett, 68 Misc 3d 1000 [NY County Supreme Ct. 2020] ; People v. Benitez , 73 Misc 3d 804 [NY County Supreme Ct, 2021] ).This Court notes that "good faith, due diligence, and reasonableness under the circumstances are the touchston......

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