People v. Strawn, 2021-50939

CourtNew York City Court
Writing for the CourtBrian J. Herman, J.
PartiesPeople of the State of New York, Plaintiff, v. Raymond Strawn III, Defendant.
Decision Date06 October 2021
Docket Number2021-50939

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

Raymond Strawn III, Defendant.

No. 2021-50939

City Court of Hudson, Columbia County

October 6, 2021


Unpublished Opinion

MOTION DECISION

For the People: Paul Czajka, Esq., Columbia County District Attorney, by Shawn Lally, Esq., Assistant District Attorney

For the Defendant: Michael Howard, Esq., Assistant Columbia County Public Defender

Brian J. Herman, J.

Background of Case

This criminal matter was commenced by the filing with this court two accusatory instruments which allege that on February 3, 2019, the defendant violated Penal Law §120.00(1), Assault in the Third Degree (a Class A Misdemeanor) and violated Penal Law §260.10(1), Endangering the Welfare of a Child (also a Class A Misdemeanor).

On May 8, 2019, the defendant was arraigned and entered not guilty pleas to the two charges.

At the next court appearance on May 9, 2019, the court was advised that this matter was likely going to be transferred to the Integrated Domestic Violence Part of the Columbia County Court. Thereafter the matter was in fact removed to the Integrated Domestic Violence Part of the Columbia County Court.

Approximately three months later, the court learned that the matter was not resolved in County Court, and the case was returned to Hudson City Court to proceed to disposition. The next appearance was on August 29, 2019, at which time a motion schedule was set.

On September 19, 2019, defense counsel filed an omnibus motion which the People opposed. The court decided the motion by written decision dated November 13, 2019. As a result of the court's decision, a Huntley Hearing was scheduled for December 5, 2019.

Then on January 1, 2020, the procedures and requirements for disclosure and discovery in criminal matters were drastically revised when the New York State Legislature repealed former CPL Article 240 and replaced it with CPL Article 245. Under the new statute, most discovery disclosures must be made without a request and within 15 days of arraignment [1]. The statute also requires that disclosing parties file a Certificate of Compliance, certifying that disclosure is complete. The new law also prohibits the People from announcing readiness for trial until their disclosure is complete and a Certificate of Compliance is served and filed with the court.

Meanwhile, the date for the jury trial in this matter was set by the court for January 11, 2020. On the joint request of the People and the defendant, the jury trial was rescheduled for February 24, 2020. Thereafter there was a further request on consent to adjourn the jury trial. The court reschedule the trial for May 11, 2020.

Shortly thereafter, the COVID-19 crisis impacted the New York State judicial system. As all were pending criminal matters in New York State, this matter was held in hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic suspension of trials in New York. In the Spring of 2021, New York State courts were able to resume scheduling jury trials. A trial date was rescheduled for April 1, 2021.

On the joint request of the People and the defendant, the trial was rescheduled for June 14, 2021. Again, on the joint request of the People and the defendant, the trial was postponed. At a court appearance on June 24, 2021, the People advised that the trial would have to be further delayed, since the People will be providing the defense names of witnesses which had not been previously provided. The defendant did not lodge any object to the adjournment request.

The next court appearance was July 8, 2021. At this appearance the People and the Defendant again requested that the trial be further adjourned so the People had additional time to provide names and contact information of witnesses to the defendant, and to allow the defendant time to investigate this new information before a new trial date is set. On August 5, 2021, the defendant filed this instant motion seeking dismissal of the charges.

Arguments

The defendant is seeking dismissal of the pending charges on, "statutory and constitutional speedy trial grounds and for such other and further relief as to the court seems just and proper."

Specifically, the defendant brings to the attention of the court that the People, "... failed to disclose the name and contact information of the school nurse who received the initial report from the alleged victim and alleged victim's grandmother until July 14, 2021." Defense further asserts that since the names and contact information of these two witnesses were not disclosed prior to the filing of the People's Certificate of Compliance, the Certificate of Compliance filed by the People is "illusory." The defendant concludes that since the People were in fact not ready for trial within the speedy trial time period, the charges must be dismissed.

Discussion

Clearly, it is unfortunate the progress of this case has been delayed numerous times for various reasons. Shortly after arraignment, this case was delayed by the removal of the case for approximately four months to the Integrated Domestic Violence Part of the Columbia County Court. Upon this case's return to Hudson City Court, motions were made and decided. Then, the court proceedings were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These intervening factors delayed and interrupted the progress of this case. However, these delays are not chargeable to the People.

The People concede that for an unspecified reason, disclosure of the names and...

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