People v. Jeffers, 2021-51284

CourtNew York Justice Court
Writing for the CourtDavid J. Wukitsch, J.
Docket Number2021-51284,File 21080055
PartiesThe People of the State of New York, Plaintiff, v. John M. Jeffers, Defendant.
Decision Date22 December 2021

The People of the State of New York, Plaintiff,
v.

John M. Jeffers, Defendant.

No. 2021-51284

File No. 21080055

Justice Court of the Town of New Scotland, Albany County

December 22, 2021


Unpublished Opinion

FOR THE PEOPLE:

HON. P. DAVID SOARES, Albany County District Attorney

Noah Engelhart, Esq., Assistant District Attorney

Albany County Judicial Center

FOR THE DEFENDANT:

STEPHEN W. HERRICK ESQ., Albany County Public Defender

Jonathan Moberg, Esq., Assistant Public Defender

David J. Wukitsch, J.

Before this court is defendant John M. Jeffers's speedy trial motion seeking dismissal of an information dated August 17, 2021 charging him with the non-criminal violation of Harassment-2nd Degree-Physical Contact in violation of Penal Law § 240.26 (1). By way of background on August 17, 2021, Trooper Meghan K. Lohman requested in writing that a criminal summons be issued to defendant Jeffers. The court was temporarily closed from August 16, 2021 until August 20, 2021. On or about August 23, 2021, the court clerk filed the non-criminal information dated August 17, 2021. On August 25, 2021, this court mailed a criminal summons to defendant Jeffers at his address-4 Swift Road Voorheesville, New York, ordering him to appear before this court for arraignment on September 9, 2021 at 5 pm.

On September 9, 2021, defendant appeared in court and the Public Defender's Office was assigned to represent him. He was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty on that date. The People announced their readiness for trial at a subsequent court session on October 5, 2021.

Defendant now moves to dismiss the accusatory instrument, with prejudice, on the ground that his statutory speedy trial rights under CPL § 30.30 have been violated. Because the information in this case charges a non-criminal violation, the People had thirty (30) days from commencement of the action to announce their readiness for trial. See, CPL § 30.30 (1) (d). Defendant contends that the action was commenced on or shortly after August 17, 2021, when the accusatory instrument was filed with this court. See, CPL § 30.30 (7) (b). The People announced readiness for trial on October 5, 2021, more than thirty days after the commencement of the action. Thus, according to defendant, the People failed to comply with the statutory speedy trial requirement, and the charge against him must be dismissed.

The People oppose the motion to dismiss. They contend that the criminal summons in this case was ostensibly an appearance ticket because it conformed with the requirements of and functioned identically to an appearance ticket under CPL § 150.10 (1). If the criminal summons is tantamount to an appearance ticket, as urged by the People, then the criminal action does not commence until the defendant first appears in court. See CPL § 30.30 (7)(b). Therefore, in this case, according to the People, the action commenced on September 9, 2021 (defendant's first appearance in court) and they announced readiness on October 5, 2021, within the thirty (30) day speedy trial period.

The issue raised on this motion is when does the action "commence" for speedy trial purposes. The People and defendant agree that since a non-criminal violation is charged, the People were required to announce readiness for trial within thirty days of the commencement of the action. CPL§ 30.30 (1)(d). The People and defendant dispute the date of commencement-the People contend that the criminal summons functioned like an appearance ticket and therefore the action commenced on September 9, 2021, the...

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