People v. Knorr, 2021-21218

CourtNew York Justice Court
Writing for the CourtROBERT L. COOK, J.
PartiesThe People of the State of New York, Plaintiff v. Desarie A. Knorr, Defendant.
Docket Number2021-21218
Decision Date16 August 2021

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

Desarie A. Knorr, Defendant.

No. 2021-21218

Justice Court of the Town of Henrietta, Monroe County

August 16, 2021


For the People: Anthony Freeman, Assistant District Attorney

For the Defendant: T.J. Marletta, Assistant Public Defender

ROBERT L. COOK, J.

The Defendant moves for an order invalidating the People's certificate of compliance and statement of readiness for trial ("COC") and dismissing the People's misdemeanor accusatory instrument on the grounds that she has been denied a speedy trial by virtue of incomplete and untimely discovery. The motion is granted. The certificate of COC is declared invalid and the misdemeanor accusatory instrument is dismissed.

On October 22, 2020, Defendant was arraigned on charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs, VTL §1192(4); driving without a license, VTL §509(1); unregistered vehicle, VTL §401(1)(a); and following too closely, VTL §1129(A). All charges were alleged to have occurred on August 26, 2020. At arraignment, the People offered a plea to the misdemeanor, VTL §1192(4), in full satisfaction of all charges. Discovery being incomplete, the matter was adjourned to December 1, 2020.

On November 23, 2020, court activities were restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the matter was administratively adjourned to February 22, 2021. On November 24, 2020, the People filed an initial COC, which indicated readiness for trial and that all discovery was complete, except for a tow slip and rolling logs. A supplemental COC was filed on December 21, 2020 stating that the "rolling logs of Dep Corona" had been provided to the Defendant.

On February 22, 2021, a virtual conference was held and adjourned to March 10, 2021 to afford the Defendant additional time to consider the filing of motions and the People's offer. At the March 10, 2021 virtual conference, the Defendant indicated that no motions would be filed, requested a trial and asked for an adjournment to decide between a bench and jury trial. The matter was adjourned to April 22, 2021 for that decision. At the April 22, 2021 virtual conference, the Court queried the People about their COC and was assured that all discovery was complete. The Defendant did not raise any issues with discovery at that time, but did request another month to consider whether to waive a jury trial. An adjournment to May 24, 2021 was granted.

On May 21, 2021, the Defendant requested and was granted a further adjournment to July 8, 2021 due to the death of the Defendant's father. Also on that date, the Defendant emailed a request to the People for the Drug Recognition Expert's Full Rolling Log (the "Log"), noting that a previous request for the Log to the Assistant District Attorney formerly handling the file had gone unanswered. Only Log entry No.96 concerning the Defendant's toxicology evaluation was provided on December 21, 2020. Having received no response to its request, the Defendant emailed the Drug Recognition Expert ("DRE") directly on July 7, 2021. The Log was obtained from the DRE on July 8, 2021 and this motion was filed. The People provided Defendant with additional discovery material, filed a second supplemental COC and requested time to respond to Defendant's motion. Consequently, argument was scheduled for July 28, 2021.

The core of Defendant's argument is that the December 21, 2020 supplemental COC was illusory because discovery was not complete at that time. Most significantly, the Log had not been produced. The Defendant argues that the Log, which includes toxicology evaluations of subjects obtained prior and subsequent to the Defendant's evaluation is essential for evaluating the DRE's work and for possible impeachment of the DRE's testimony at trial. As such, production of the Log is mandated by the automatic discovery provisions of CPL §245.20.

The Defendant further argues that by reasonable inquiry and the exercise of due diligence the People should have provided the Log since what they produced was clearly a partial document, consisting only of entry #96. The Defendant's position is that the COC being invalid and well more than 90 days having elapsed since Defendant's arraignment, the misdemeanor accusatory instrument must be dismissed pursuant to CPL §30.30(1)(b).

The People concede that the Log was discoverable and relevant to Defendant's defense, but argue that the COC was not illusory. It was offered in good faith and reasonable under the circumstances because the Log is not readily available and is often produced only after further inquiry. The People further argue that the failure to provide the Log prior to July 8, 2021 was not prejudicial to the Defendant because she now has the information necessary to prepare for trial. In addition, the People argue that the Defendant waited an inordinate amount of time to demand additional discovery, that the Defendant has an obligation to promptly point out discovery deficiencies and should not sit and wait for the speedy trial clock to run out.

The automatic discovery provisions of CPL §245.20, coupled with the speedy trial dictates of CPL §30.30 (1)(b) require the People to complete relevant discovery to the Defendant within 90 days after a misdemeanor arraignment. The People are required to provide, "results administered or taken within the past ten years of each expert witness whom the prosecutor intends to call," CPL §245.20(1)(f); "All reports concerning physical or mental examinations, or scientific tests made by or at the request or direction of a public servant engaged in law enforcement activity [including] any conflicting analyses or results by laboratory personnel," §245.20(1)(j); and "[a]ll evidence and information, including that which is known to the police that tends to (iv) impeach the credibility of a testifying prosecution witness," §245.20(k)(iv).

Pursuant to CPL §245.20(2), "all items and information related to the prosecution of a charge in the possession of any New York state or local police or law enforcement agency shall be deemed to be in the possession of the prosecution."

CPL §245.50 requires the People to file a COC when discovery is complete certifying that...

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