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People v. LaFont

Criminal Court of the City of New York, New York County

January 15, 2014

The People of the State of New York
v.
Suzanne LaFont, Defendant.

For the defendant, Arshack, Hajek and Lerhman, by Daniel N. Arshack, Esq.

For the People, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York County District Attorney, by ADA Christopher Hirsch

Steven M. Statsinger, J.

Defendant, charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 195.05) and Harassment in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 240.26(1)), moves to dismiss the Information in furtherance of justice, pursuant to CPL §§ 170.30 and 170.40(1) and People v. Clayton, 41 A.D.2d 204 (2d Dept 1973). For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the motion to dismiss. [1]

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. The Allegations

According to the Information, at 10:50 p.m. on April 11, 2013, Police Officer Anthony Giambra responded to a 911 call at 30 West 83rd Street, in Manhattan. In the lobby of that building Officer Giambra encountered Karl Peltomaa, "an emotionally disturbed person." Peltomaa said that he was willing to be placed in handcuffs "for his protection, " but fought back when Giambra tried to cuff him, ultimately requiring the assistance of a second officer.

Defendant then grabbed Giambra's arm and shoulder in an effort to pull his arm away from Peltomaa, and yelled for Giambra to release Peltomaa. This behavior lasted "thirty to sixty seconds." When Giambra told the defendant that she would be arrested if she did not stop, she replied, "Go ahead."

B. Legal Proceedings

On April 12, 2013, defendant was arraigned on an Information charging her with Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 195.05) and Harassment in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 240.26(1)). The People served statement notice that defendant said to Officer Giambra, in substance, "He had heart surgery - get off him."

The People's offer at arraignment was a plea to Disorderly Conduct (Penal Law § 240.20) and a sentence of time served. Defendant declined the offer and was released on her own recognizance.

At subsequent calendar calls on May 31, 2013, September 4, 2013, and October 16, 2013, the People offered defendant an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal ("ACD"). Defendant declined the offer on each of those occasions.

Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss on October 16, 2013. The People filed opposition papers on December 5, 2013, and ...


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