People v. Lamountain, 2021-21362

CourtNew York Justice Court
Writing for the CourtTheodore W. Firetog, J.
Docket Number2021-21362
PartiesThe People of the State of New York v. Gayle Lamountain, Defendant
Decision Date27 December 2021

The People of the State of New York
v.

Gayle Lamountain, Defendant

No. 2021-21362

Justice Court of the Village of Farmingdale, Nassau County

December 27, 2021


Robert P. Kirk, Village Prosecutor

Gayle Lamountain, Defendant, pro se

Theodore W. Firetog, J.

FACTS AND ARGUMENTS

On November 12, 2021, an arraignment was held before this Court for defendant Gayle Lamountain whose motor vehicle was issued Parking Ticket F208342 ("hereinafter Ticket") by a Village of Farmingdale Code Enforcement Officer on July 28, 2021. The Ticket states "THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK V. OWNER/OPERATOR OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE DESCRIBED BELOW." The description of the Motor Vehicle is then provided on the Ticket. The defendant, who appeared pro se, stated on the record that she is the owner of the vehicle noted on the Ticket.

Under the description of the Motor Vehicle, the Ticket reads as follows: "YOU ARE HEREBY CHARGED WITH THE FOLLOWING VIOLATION WHICH WAS OBSERVED BY THE DEPONENT IN HIS/HER PRESENCE".

At the bottom of the Ticket there is the Signature of Deponent and a section marked "Violation" that has been filled in with the words "Expired Registration." The Deponent is Bruce Watson, who was a Village Code Enforcement Officer at the time the Ticket was issued.

On the left side of the Ticket, below the heading "Village Code," there is a column of little boxes with each box noting a numerical code section and type of offense. The Court notes that the box marked "401-1A Expired Registration" is checked off on the Ticket.

The problem is, no Village Code Section 401-1A exists. When the Court questioned the Village Prosecutor about the nonexistence of the Village Code provision noted on the Ticket, the Prosecutor informed the Court that the box marked 401-1A is a reference to the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (hereinafter "VTL") section 401-1a, and not a Village Code provision. The same explanation applies to the boxes marked 306B, 403, and 402-1 on the Ticket, all of which relate to VLT sections and not to provisions of the Village Code (although there is a Village Code section 402-1, which pertains to "Peddling and Soliciting" but not to a parking offense). Therefore, if the Ticket was issued for a violation of VTL 401-1a, it would appear that Ticket does not conform to the requirements of VTL §238(2) in that there is an incorrect "description of the charged violation, including but not limited to a reference to the applicable traffic rule or provision of this chapter."

This Court recognizes that other courts have allowed, upon motion, cross-outs or corrections on traffic tickets if the proposed amendment is a defect or error which relates to a matter of form or the numerical designation of the charge, so long as the theory of prosecution hasn't changed or the defendant has not been prejudiced. See People v. Pena, 146 Misc.2nd 767, 552 N.Y.2d 543 (Crim.Ct.N.Y.Co., 1990), and People v. Kreismann, 162 Misc.2d 726, 619 N.Y.S.2d 253 (Kensington Justice Ct., Nassau Co, 1994). In the case at bar, however, the correction, if made, changes the offense charged against the defendant from a...

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