Regardless of the particular misdemeanor you are accused of perpetrating, it is imperative that you obtain the assistance of knowledgeable counsel to guide you through the process, analyze the case and set forth particular defenses. While it may not be apparent to you, your best defense might be right in front of you. In the case of People v. Buchy, a Westchester County Village Justice found that he needed to look no further than the document right in front of him. Fortunately for Mr. Buchy, the information against the defendant contained hearsay and the court dismissed the complaint.
By way of background, Criminal Procedure Law section 100.40(1)(c) sets forth the requirement that an information (the written complaint against the accused) must contain “[n]on-hearsay allegations of the factual part of the information, and/or of any supporting depositions [to] establish, if true, every element of the offense charged and the defendant’s commission thereof.” In other words, if the facts are established with hearsay, the case must be dismissed.
In the Buchy case, the information alleged that the defendant perpetrated Aggravated Harassment (NY PL 240.30) after he called the complainant and left a threatening message. However, the call was made from a blocked number and the complainant could not identify the caller. It was not until a detective obtained phone records and informed the complainant who the caller was, that the defendant was identified. This fact was set forth in the the body of the information.
As a result, the court dismissed the case and found that:
“The identity of the caller was a fundamental element of the charge. Because [the complainant’s] statement concerning the identity of the caller was based on hearsay, the detective’s quoted statement in the supporting deposition, the information does not comply with CPL 100.40 (1) (c). The People’s contention that the detective’s knowledge came from phone business records which are admissible as business records at trial, does not overcome the fact that the imparting by him of that knowledge to [the complainant] constituted hearsay.
While each case requires its own unique factually and legal analysis, this particular case make it overwhelmingly clear that an experienced legal review is often necessary to identify the holes in a case. While the facts may have been strong and clearly against the defendant, the information failed to set forth the legal requirements establishing sufficiency.
For further information defining the crime of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment (NY Penal Law 240.30), please follow the highlighted link to Saland Law PC’s Aggravated Harassment website page. A wealth of information on the crimes found in the New York Penal Law, legal decisions and newsworthy cases can be located on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.
Founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors, the New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC represent the accused from investigation through trial in the New York City area.