People v. Rodriguez, 2022-50399

CourtNew York District Court
Writing for the CourtBERNARD C. CHENG, J.
PartiesThe People of the State of New York, Plaintiff, v. Jose Abreu Rodriguez, Defendant.
Docket Number2022-50399,CR-002390-21SU
Decision Date26 April 2022

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

Jose Abreu Rodriguez, Defendant.

No. 2022-50399

Docket No. CR-002390-21SU

District Court of Suffolk County, First District

April 26, 2022


Unpublished Opinion

Raymond A. Tierney District Attorney of Suffolk County Alicia Altidor / Of Counsel District Court Bureau

Attorney for Defendant Christopher Shannon Esq. LEGAL AID SOCIETY, SUFFOLK COUNTY

BERNARD C. CHENG, J.

On January 23, 2021, the defendant was charged with violations of (1) New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law ("VTL") section 1192.2-a; (2) VTL section 1192.3; and (3) VTL section 1163(D). He was arraigned on January 24, 2021. By motion dated February 4, 2022, defendant moves this court for an order dismissing the accusatory instrument pursuant to CPL sections 170.30 and 30.30, and striking the Certificate of Compliance [hereinafter "CoC"] pursuant to CPL sections 30.30(5) and 245.20.

On January 1, 2020, new legislation affecting both CPL § 30.30 and CPL § 245.50 went into effect. The new law required the People to file a CoC with the court prior to announcing readiness under CPL § 30.30 (see CPL § 245.50[3]). In order for the People to be ready for trial, the People must: "(1) file a certificate of good faith discovery compliance; (2) file a valid statement of readiness; and (3) certify the facial sufficiency of the accusatory instrument." (People v Ramirez-Correa, Docket CR-018674-20QN [Crim Ct, Queens Cnty 2021]).

Pursuant to CPL § 30.30(1)(b), the People are required to make an effective statement of their readiness for trial within 90 days of the commencement date of the criminal actions, taking into account all excludable time periods. The ultimate burden of proving that certain time periods should be excluded falls upon the People. (See People v Berkowitz, 50 N.Y.2d 333 [1980]).

The gravamen of the defendant's speedy trial motion is that the People's initial CoC and accompanying readiness announcement was not valid due to the People's failure to (1) certify the facial sufficiency of the accusatory instrument (Def.'s Aff. at ¶¶ 49, 59) and (2) timely produce the certain discoverable material, namely, law enforcement disciplinary files with respect to both the arresting officer and the officer who administered the Breathalyzer test (Def.'s Aff. at ¶ 66).

The record indicates the current criminal action was commenced on January 24, 2021. (People's Aff. at ¶ 7). The People served their initial discovery to the defense and filed their initial CoC/readiness announcement on February 9, 2021. (People's Aff. at ¶ 9 & Ex. C). The People later filed a supplemental CoC on October 29, 2021. (People's Aff. at ¶ 20 & Ex. N).

A. Failure to Timely Certify the Facial Sufficiency of the Accusatory Instrument

It is undisputed that the People's initial CoC was silent regarding facial sufficient of the accusatory instrument. (People's Aff. at Ex. C). Without this affirmative statement of compliance [CPL §§ 100.15 and 100.40], the People have failed to meet their burden under CPL § 30.30(5-a); therefore the People's initial CoC is invalid. The People's supplemental CoC, filed on October 29, 2021, contained this necessary certification of facial sufficiency. (see People's Aff. at Ex. N). The full compliance CoC was filed 278 days after commencement of the action.

The People contend that the October 29, 2021 supplemental CoC should "relate back to" and "validate" the February 9, 2021 CoC and statement of readiness. (People's Mem. of Law at Point I.B.ii, p. 17) (citing People v Plaza, 2021 NY Slip Op 21176 and People v Lewis, 2021 NY Slip Op 21125). This Court notes appellate courts have not addressed the question of whether a second and late-filed CoC may 'relate back' or 'cure' a defect in the original CoC. This Court, however, concurs with recent decisions in which trial courts have declined to adopt the retroactive validation argument, and instead held that "the accrual of chargeable time may be tolled only when the People properly tender a statement of readiness." People v Collado, 73 Misc.3d...

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