Criminal Defense Victory and Dismissal: Every Case – “Big” or “Small” – Requires Undivided Attention

The New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC take each and every criminal case seriously whether the case involves a misdemeanor charge of Harassment or a felony charge of Grand Larceny. Our results speak for themselves. We recognize that regardless of how “small” the case may appear to be in the scheme of the entire criminal justice system, to the accused and our criminal defense attorneys, each case is priority matter.

Recently, the attorneys at Saland Law achieved what may appear to be a small victory, but one that was hard fought over a period of months. Our client, a former employee at a one of the world’s largest media companies, was accused of Prostitution as a “high end girl.” After drafting a memorandum similar to a Clayton motion bearing out why the District Attorney’s Office should offer a disposition different than the standard offer, the prosecutor assigned to the case agreed to offer such a disposition. However, although our client accepted the offer, upon going to court to accept the plea someone other than the assigned prosecutor changed the offer. A supervisor refused to make the original offer despite the previous agreement. Therefore, our client was unable to obtain the agreed upon disposition and the case was adjourned.

Further attempts were made to obtain the previously agreed upon disposition, but again, the supervisor refused to honor the agreement. On the following court date a different, but unacceptable offer was made. Again it was rejected. Because no legal notices were given that would require motions to challenge statements or identification and there were no issues regarding property recovered from the defendant, motion practice was waived and the matter was adjourned for trial.

Upon returning to court 63 days later we made an application that the case should be dismissed. Pursuant to CPL 30.30, the People must be ready for trial within 60 days from the beginning of the case where the charge is a “B” misdemeanor. The prosecution had not indicated at any point that they were ready for trial. The People refused to concede and the case was adjourned for a decision on the matter after after parties filed legal motions.

Without going into all the details of the motion to dismiss, one of the issues was whether the prosecution is given a “reasonable” amount of time to prepare for trial after an adjournment for the purpose of starting a trial. This particular judge had previously ruled in a published decision in the the New York Law Journal on a matter with similar facts. In that decision the court relied on, among other things, an earlier decision where it was held that the prosecution should be granted a “reasonable” amount of time to prepare for trial and denied that criminal defense attorney’s motion to dismiss.

Despite the court’s previous decision, we argued that there was a critical distinction between the cases. That is, in our client’s matter motions were waived and a trial was requested. At no time did we ask to make motions to challenge legal issues because none existed at that time. The cases cited by the court in its earlier decision and those beneficial to the prosecution dealt with facts where motion practice was requested, but on the date the motions were due the criminal defense attorney waived the motions and asked for trial. Therefore, arguably, in the latter scenario, the People should be permitted a “reasonable” period of time to prepare for trial. In our client’s case there was never a request to file motions. As a practical matter we argued that granting a “reasonable” period of time to prepare for trial where there were no motions or legal issues pending would be tantamount to ruling that in every case the prosecution would always get a “bonus” period of time to prosecute the accused. Armed with numerous court decisions and applicable statutes, the court granted our motion over the prosecutor’s protest.

The fact that this case involved the charge of Prostitution is irrelevant. The same statutes and court decisions apply to criminal cases throughout New York. What is important is that we were able to identify the distinctions in the law (and a distinction from this particular judges published decision relating to the same crime and same issue), find applicable cases and apply them to our client’s legal matter to get it dismissed. Without a doubt, each case handled by Saland Law PC requires and is deserving of our experience and relentless efforts – “big” or “small.” Our results would not be the same without this effort.

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