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MATTER JOSEPH P (09/02/69)

FAMILY COURT OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK COUNTY


September 2, 1969

IN THE MATTER OF JOSEPH P, A PERSON ALLEGED TO BE A JUVENILE DELINQUENT, RESPONDENT

Louis A. Pagnucco, J.

Author: Pagnucco

 In this juvenile delinquency proceeding the respondent is alleged to have perpetrated acts which if committed by an adult would constitute two homicides. He now seeks through motions of his counsel to simultaneously employ all the pretrial disclosure proceedings provided in the CPLR, contending that, "they are suitable to the proceeding involved" (Family Ct. Act, § 165).

Recognizing that such civil discovery procedures for discovery and disclosure are difficult if not impossible to utilize in this type of case within the purposes and limitations of the Family Court Act, learned counsel forthrightly alternatively urges that "The respondent is willing to forego civil discovery procedures if he can avail himself of the standard criminal procedures such as the right to a preliminary hearing, a 'Huntley' hearing, trial by jury, prior statements of adverse witnesses, rigorous evidentiary requirements and other like requirements."

The speed with which a "fact finding hearing" in the absence of proper adjournments, is provided for in the legislative pattern of the Family Court Act together with the requirement that the petition be laid before and indorsed by the court directing the issuance of a summons on it negates the need for a preliminary hearing. Counsel's argument that in all criminal cases a defendant is afforded a preliminary hearing is not entirely accurate since a Grand Jury may indict without notice to defendant, thus eliminating the right to a prior hearing on the right to be heard by the Grand Jury. Thus a plea for providing a preliminary hearing in addition to the safeguards already provided in the Family Court Act to avoid unwarranted detentions must be addressed to the Legislature.

The movant has failed to demonstrate or even to argue the right to or the need for a jury trial and his application for such a trial is denied.

The motion for a "Huntley hearing" on the voluntariness of the confession in advance of the trial is granted and such hearing shall proceed before the Judge designated to preside on the fact finding hearing. The portion of the motion seeking to have the fact-finding hearing conducted by a different Judge is respectfully referred to the Judge who will conduct the "Huntley hearing" who after its conclusion will be in a better position to assess the need for another Judge to conduct the fact finding hearing.

The motions to furnish respondent with copies of witnesses' statements, autopsy reports and his own statements are denied as to witnesses' statements and granted as to the autopsy reports and his own statements as already agreed to in open court by the Corporation Counsel.

Accordingly the motions for interrogatories, pretrial depositions of witnesses and other CPLR disclosure are denied and the alternative relief requested is granted to the extent herein indicated.

Disposition

Accordingly the motions for interrogatories, pretrial depositions of witnesses and other CPLR disclosure are denied and the alternative relief requested is granted to the extent herein indicated. 95:

Infants -- pretrial procedures in juvenile delinquency proceeding -- motion, made by alleged juvenile delinquent, to utilize pretrial procedures provided for in CPLR or, in alternative, "standard" criminal procedures denied as to civil discovery procedures and, as to alternative relief, granted to extent of directing "Huntley" hearing and furnishing copies of autopsy reports and movant's own statements but denied as to furnishing copies of witnesses' statements and as to preliminary hearing and trial by jury.

In a juvenile delinquency proceeding a person who allegedly perpetrated acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute homicides moves to utilize the pretrial discovery procedures provided for in CPLR, alleging they are "suitable to the proceeding involved" (Family Ct. Act, § 165), or, in the alternative, the "standard" criminal procedures. His motion is denied as to the civil discovery procedures, which are difficult, if not impossible, to utilize in this type of proceeding, and, as to the alternative relief, it is granted to the extent of directing a "Huntley" hearing before the Judge designated to preside at the fact-finding hearing, who, after its conclusion, will be in a better position to assess the need for another Judge to conduct the fact-finding hearing, and to the extent of furnishing him with copies of autopsy reports and his own statements, as agreed to in open court by the Corporation Counsel, but is denied with respect to furnishing him with copies of witnesses' statements and granting him a preliminary hearing and trial by jury. The speed with which a fact-finding hearing is provided for in the Family Court Act and the requirement that the court indorse the petition negates the need for a preliminary hearing. It would be for the Legislature to add a provision for such a hearing to the safeguards already provided in the statute. As to a jury trial, there has been no argument or demonstration with respect to movant's right to, or need for, one.

19690902

© 1998 VersusLaw Inc.



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