People v. Clayton

CourtNew York Supreme Court Appellate Division
Writing for the CourtHOPKINS
Citation342 N.Y.S.2d 106,41 A.D.2d 204
Decision Date02 April 1973
PartiesThe PEOPLE, etc., Appellant, v. Robert CLAYTON, Respondent.

Page 106

342 N.Y.S.2d 106
41 A.D.2d 204
The PEOPLE, etc., Appellant,
v.
Robert CLAYTON, Respondent.
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department.
April 2, 1973.

Page 107

George J. Aspland, Dist. Atty. (John M. Lockwood, Riverhead, and Vincent A. Malito, Asst. Dist. Atty., Suffolk County, of counsel), for appellant.

Frederic Block, Centereach, for defendant.

Before RABIN, P.J., and HOPKINS, MARTUSCELLO, SHAPIRO and CHRIST, JJ.

HOPKINS, Justice.

The County Court on its own motion has dismissed an indictment returned in November, 1952 charging the [41 A.D.2d 205] defendant with murder in the first degree. The court so acted upon the return of a motion by the defendant for the same relief. The district attorney by this appeal challenges the propriety of the dismissal. For reasons stated beyond, we reverse and remand the case to the County Court for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

This appeal is prefaced by a long history of legal involvement. The Indictment alleges that the defendant committed the crime of murder in the first degree on November 2, 1952. He was found guilty after trial in February, 1953 of murder in the second degree and was sentenced to a term of 30 years to life. In part, at least, his conviction rested on alleged confessions and incriminating evidence obtained as a result of the confessions. He did not appeal. 1

Following the rule laid down in People v. Huntley, 15 N.Y.2d 72, 255 N.Y.S.2d 838, 204 N.E.2d. 179, the County Court held a hearing in 1965

Page 108

to determine whether the defendant's confessions were voluntary and thereupon determined that the confessions were voluntary. The holding was affirmed by a divided vote in this court; the Court of Appeals affirmed and the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari (People v. Clayton, 28 A.D.2d 543, 279 N.Y.S.2d 605 (Christ, Acting P.J. dissenting), affd., 22 N.Y.2d 841, 293 N.Y.S.2d 104, 239 N.E.2d 734, cert. den. sub nom., Clayton v. New York 394 U.S. 909, 89 S.Ct. 1018, 22 L.Ed.2d 219). 2

Having thus exhausted his State remedies, the defendant instituted a habeas corpus proceeding in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. At the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing in 1971 the District Court found that the confessions were not voluntary; that decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, and certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court (United States ex rel. Clayton v. Mancusi, 326 F.Supp. 1366, affd. sub nom., Mancusi v. United States ex rel. Clayton, 454 F.2d 454, cert. den. sub nom., Montanye v. Clayton, 406 U.S. 977, 92 S.Ct. 2413, 32 L.Ed.2d 677). 3 The mandate of the United States Court of Appeals issued on January 17, 1972 put into effect the order of the District Court requirint the defendant's release from custody unless he were re-tried within 30 days. 4

[41 A.D.2d 206] After the decision of the United States Court of Appeals and pending the application by the People for certiorari, the defendant in March, 1972 was released on his own recognizance by that court and he has been since gainfully employed. On June 30, 1972 he moved in the County Court for a dismissal of the indictment on the ground that he had not been brought to trial as required by the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals. The County Court dismissed the indictment, not, however, on the ground of the defendant's application, but on its own motion, as authorized by CPL 210.40. This appeal followed.

CPL 210.40 is a successor to section 671 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which in turn has been said to be merely a substitute for the ancient right of the Attorney General to discontinue a prosecution (Matter of McDonald v. Sobel, 272 App.Div. 455, 462, 72 N.Y.S.2d 4, 10, affd., 297 N.Y. 679, 77 N.Ed.2d 3; People v. Willis, 23 Misc. 568, 571, 52 N.Y.S. 808, 810). But section 671 allowed the court to dismiss an indictment 'in furtherance of justice' either on motion of the district attorney or on its own motion; moreover, the Code removed the right

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of the prosecutor to abandon the...

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243 practice notes
  • People v. Thompson
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • March 30, 1994
    ...criteria for the exercise of the interests of justice dismissal power, the Judiciary filled the interstice (People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106 [Hopkins, J.]. Spurred by that traditional common-law development (see also, People v. Belge, 41 N.Y.2d 60, 62, 390 N.Y.S.2d 867, 35......
  • Cummings v. Burge, No. 03-CV-6632L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • September 23, 2008
    ...served by the termination of the prosecution," even where there is no basis for such a dismissal as a matter of law. People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204, 206, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106 (App.Div.2d Dept.1973) (citations omitted); N.Y.CRIM. PROC. LAW § 210.40. This motion failed and the case was re-prese......
  • May v. Shinn, Nos. 17-15603
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 27, 2020
    ...or circumstance clearly demonstrate[s] that conviction or prosecution ... would constitute or result in injustice"); People v. Clayton , 41 A.D.2d 204, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106, 109 (1973) (finding the use of § 210.40 "depended only on principles of justice, not on the legal or factual merits of th......
  • People v. Stewart
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • April 8, 1997
    ...The court observed that Stein might indeed be able to establish his innocence but that he had not met the standards of People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106 and that "[t]he defendant really seeks summary judgment in this criminal matter through the vehicle of a motion for dismi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
243 cases
  • People v. Thompson
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • March 30, 1994
    ...criteria for the exercise of the interests of justice dismissal power, the Judiciary filled the interstice (People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106 [Hopkins, J.]. Spurred by that traditional common-law development (see also, People v. Belge, 41 N.Y.2d 60, 62, 390 N.Y.S.2d 867, 35......
  • Cummings v. Burge, No. 03-CV-6632L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • September 23, 2008
    ...served by the termination of the prosecution," even where there is no basis for such a dismissal as a matter of law. People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204, 206, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106 (App.Div.2d Dept.1973) (citations omitted); N.Y.CRIM. PROC. LAW § 210.40. This motion failed and the case was re-prese......
  • May v. Shinn, Nos. 17-15603
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 27, 2020
    ...or circumstance clearly demonstrate[s] that conviction or prosecution ... would constitute or result in injustice"); People v. Clayton , 41 A.D.2d 204, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106, 109 (1973) (finding the use of § 210.40 "depended only on principles of justice, not on the legal or factual merits of th......
  • People v. Stewart
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • April 8, 1997
    ...The court observed that Stein might indeed be able to establish his innocence but that he had not met the standards of People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204, 342 N.Y.S.2d 106 and that "[t]he defendant really seeks summary judgment in this criminal matter through the vehicle of a motion for dismi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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