People v. Ehlerman, 2021-50751

CourtNew York Justice Court
Writing for the CourtMATTHEW M. ROZEA, J.
PartiesThe People of the State of New York, v. Alan W. Ehlerman, Defendant.
Docket Number2021-50751
Decision Date03 August 2021

The People of the State of New York,
v.

Alan W. Ehlerman, Defendant.

No. 2021-50751

Justice Court of the Village of Massapequa Park

August 3, 2021


Unpublished Opinion

The People of the State of New York were represented by Matthew White, Esq., Walsh Markus McDougal & DeBellis LLP, 229 Seventh Street, Garden City, New York 11530.

The Defendant, Alan Ehlerman, was pro se.

MATTHEW M. ROZEA, J.

Before the Court is a motion by the pro se Defendant to vacate a judgment that was entered and docketed in 2019. In an undated letter received by the Court on June 7, 2021, Defendant requests that the judgment be vacated because he "could not take off from work." Thereafter, the Defendant filed a document denoted as an "order to show cause" seeking then same relief as set forth in the undated letter. For the reasons explained in this Memorandum and Order, the Defendant's motion is denied.

I. Background.

a. Facts.

This matter involves four summonses issued to the Defendant on two separate occasions. On the first occasion, April 11, 2016, the Defendant was summonsed for a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law ("VTL") § 1202(c), (entitled "stopping, standing or parking prohibited in specified places"). On the second occasion, June 11, 2018, the Defendant was summonsed for a violation of VTL §§ 1202(c), 401(1)(a) (entitled "registration of motor vehicles; fees; renewals"), and 306(b) (entitled "enforcement").

As relevant to the subject default judgment, by letter dated November 29, 2018, the Defendant was notified that all of the summonses were returnable (i.e. due) in Court in excess of thirty days. [1] Because of his failure to address the summonses, the Defendant was placed on notice that a default plea of guilty would be entered pursuant to the provisions of VTL § 1806-a on or after January 11, 2019. Evidently, the Defendant did not respond to the notice, and on January 15, 2019, a default judgment in the amount of $1, 000 was signed by this Court (Giannattasio, V.J.). That judgment was entered in the Office of the Nassau County Clerk on January 17, 2019.

Notwithstanding that the judgment was entered, the Defendant failed to address or satisfy that judgment. And, in fact, the Defendant was sent letters on March 3, 2020, March 13, 2020, August 18, 2020, and September 23, 2020 regarding the summonses and the fines owed. Then, on February 17, 2021, the Defendant was sent a letter describing the Village's COVID-19 amnesty, which suspended late fees on fines owed during the pandemic period. However, the COVID-19 amnesty did not apply to judgments, a fact that was raised with the Defendant. In any event, the Defendant did appear in Court on two occasions following his receipt of the amnesty letter, and sought to have the judgment vacated. At those times, the Court informed the Defendant that the request must be raised by motion, leading to this motion practice.

The Defendant submitted his letter application for vacatur of the judgment to the Court, and the People submitted opposition on July 6, 2021. Following submission of his letter application, the Defendant filed a document denoted as an order to show cause. The Court did not sign such order, but rather treated the document as a notice of motion, and set a briefing schedule by letter dated July 8, 2021 and which was sent to all parties. The People opposed the motion by affirmation dated July 22, 2021.

II. Discussion.

a. Procedure.

Under Uniform Justice Court Act § 1001, "[m]otion practice in the court, including time provisions for the making and decision of motions... and practice relating to motions before, during and after trial, shall be governed by the CPLR, except as this act otherwise provides. Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prevent the court, if the parties consent, from entertaining any matter, which might be raised by formal motion, without a formal motion or at...

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