People v. Blakley

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtRABIN; BREITEL
Citation313 N.E.2d 763,34 N.Y.2d 311,357 N.Y.S.2d 459
Decision Date12 June 1974
Parties, 313 N.E.2d 763 The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. George BLAKLEY, Jr., Appellant.

Page 459

357 N.Y.S.2d 459
34 N.Y.2d 311, 313 N.E.2d 763
The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,
v.
George BLAKLEY, Jr., Appellant.
Court of Appeals of New York.
June 12, 1974.

[34 N.Y.2d 312]

Page 460

[313 N.E.2d 764] Philip A. J. Giangrande, White Plains, for appellant.

[34 N.Y.2d 313] Carl A. Vergari, Dist. Atty. (Janet Cunard, Asst. Dist. Atty., of counsel), for respondent.

RABIN, Judge.

This appeal requires us to decide whether a prosecutor may condition an offer to recommend a reduced plea upon the defendant's withdrawal of his claim that his right to a speedy trial has been

Page 461

violated. We conclude that the nature of the speedy trial guarantee renders such a condition inherently coercive in a plea bargaining situation and that the plea so conditioned must be vacated. Having so concluded, we also reach, in the interests of judicial economy, the underlying speedy trial claim, and hold that the defendant's right to a speedy trial has been violated and that the indictment must be dismissed.

The defendant George Blakley, Jr. (Blakley) was arrested on November 15, 1965 and indicted on January 11, 1966, for assault in the second degree (four counts) and possession of a loaded firearm. It was alleged that Blakley shot and wounded Thaddeus Young and Freddie Bryant in a parking lot in White Plains on November 14, 1965. For various reasons discussed subsequently, the case did not come to trial until February 4, 1969, almost three years and one month following the indictment. On the second day of trial, following the testimony of Young and Bryant, Blakley offered to change his plea from not guilty, to guilty to two counts of assault in the second degree.

The Assistant District Attorney questioned Blakley concerning the circumstances of his change of plea, and then said 'Before recommending acceptance of this plea, I would ask [34 N.Y.2d 314] defense counsel) to withdraw any motions made heretofore by prior counsel and himself.' Blakley's counsel agreed and the Assistant District Attorney stated 'In that case, your Honor, under the circumstances, upon examination of the file and in the interest of justice, we recommend acceptance of these pleas.' The only motion that had been made on the defendant's behalf up to that time was a motion made in February, 1968 to dismiss the indictment for failure to prosecute. Although the motion was made over two years after the indictment and the '(d)efendant made no pre-trial motion, nor were there any adjournments by his request', the County Court denied the motion finding that the People showed 'good cause' for the delay as required by section 668 of the then effective Code of Criminal Procedure. No appeal lies from such an intermediate nonfinal order (see People ex rel. La Belle v. Harriman, 35 A.D.2d 13, 312 N.Y.S.2d 623), and the defendant now appeals from the judgment of conviction rendered upon his plea of guilty.

The improper denial of a motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the defendant has not been afforded a speedy trial survives a plea of guilty and may be raised on appeal (People v. Wallace, 26 N.Y.2d 371, 310 N.Y.S.2d 484, 258 N.E.2d 904; People v. Henderson, 20 N.Y.2d 303, 305, 282 N.Y.S.2d 734, 735, 229 N.E.2d 422, 423; People v. Chirieleison, 3 N.Y.2d 170, 164 N.Y.S.2d 726, 143 N.E.2d 914). Here the prosecutor attempted, in effect, to deprive the defendant

Page 462

of his right to appeal the adverse determination of his speedy trial claim, by confronting him with a possibly unfair trial (because so tardy) on the one hand, and, on the other, offering him a reduced plea only if he would reinquish the speedy trial claim.

For a variety of reasons, a prosecutor must not make the right to a speedy trial an item of barter in a plea bargaining situation. As the United States Supreme [313 N.E.2d 765] Court recently pointed out in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 519, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 2186, 33 L.Ed.2d 101, 'there is a societal interest in providing a speedy trial which exists separate from, and at times in opposition to, the interests of the accused.' (Listing interests.) Deprivation of the right to a speedy trial may affect the fundamental fairness of a trial since one of the purposes of the speedy trial guarantee is to prevent a defendant 'from being 'exposed to the hazard of a trial, after so great a lapse of time' that 'the means of proving his innocence may not be within his reach'--as, for instance, by the loss of witnesses or the dulling of memory.' (People v. Prosser, 309 N.Y. [34 N.Y.2d 315] 353, 356, 130 N.E.2d 891, 893.) It is possible...

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86 practice notes
  • Smith v. Maher, No. 04-CV-0404 (VEB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • November 28, 2006
    ...defendant." People v. Staley, 41 N.Y.2d 789, 791, 396 N.Y.S.2d 339, 364 N.E.2d 1111 (N.Y.1977) (citing, inter alia, People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 313 N.E.2d 763, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459 (N.Y.1974)) ("Absence of prejudice, however, while relevant under the Barker rules, has not been a factor to......
  • People v. Pelchat
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • May 15, 1984
    ...or raise arguments of a constitutional dimension (see People v. Lee, 58 N.Y.2d 491, 462 N.Y.S.2d 417, 448 N.E.2d 1328 People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459, 313 N.E.2d 763 People v. Francabandera, 33 N.Y.2d 429, 354 N.Y.S.2d 609, 310 N.E.2d 292 People v. Lynn, 28 N.Y.2d 196, 32......
  • People v. Thomas
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • May 19, 1980
    ...be debatable, but the right to appellate review of a denial of a speedy trial motion also survives a plea of guilt (People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459, 313 N.E.2d 763; People v. Wallace, 26 N.Y.2d 371, 310 N.Y.S.2d 484, 258 N.E.2d 904). Claims that the guilty plea was induce......
  • People v. Wiggins
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • October 6, 2016
    ...531, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 ; see also People v. Johnson, 38 N.Y.2d at 279, 379 N.Y.S.2d 735, 342 N.E.2d 525 ; People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 317, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459, 313 N.E.2d 763 [1974] ).One adjournment was attributable to a fire in the courthouse in or about March 2010. Some of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
86 cases
  • Smith v. Maher, No. 04-CV-0404 (VEB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • November 28, 2006
    ...defendant." People v. Staley, 41 N.Y.2d 789, 791, 396 N.Y.S.2d 339, 364 N.E.2d 1111 (N.Y.1977) (citing, inter alia, People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 313 N.E.2d 763, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459 (N.Y.1974)) ("Absence of prejudice, however, while relevant under the Barker rules, has not been a factor to......
  • People v. Pelchat
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • May 15, 1984
    ...or raise arguments of a constitutional dimension (see People v. Lee, 58 N.Y.2d 491, 462 N.Y.S.2d 417, 448 N.E.2d 1328 People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459, 313 N.E.2d 763 People v. Francabandera, 33 N.Y.2d 429, 354 N.Y.S.2d 609, 310 N.E.2d 292 People v. Lynn, 28 N.Y.2d 196, 32......
  • People v. Thomas
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • May 19, 1980
    ...be debatable, but the right to appellate review of a denial of a speedy trial motion also survives a plea of guilt (People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459, 313 N.E.2d 763; People v. Wallace, 26 N.Y.2d 371, 310 N.Y.S.2d 484, 258 N.E.2d 904). Claims that the guilty plea was induce......
  • People v. Wiggins
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • October 6, 2016
    ...531, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 ; see also People v. Johnson, 38 N.Y.2d at 279, 379 N.Y.S.2d 735, 342 N.E.2d 525 ; People v. Blakley, 34 N.Y.2d 311, 317, 357 N.Y.S.2d 459, 313 N.E.2d 763 [1974] ).One adjournment was attributable to a fire in the courthouse in or about March 2010. Some of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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