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People v. Ormanian

City Court of Gloversville, Fulton County

November 9, 2016

The People of the State of New York,
v.
Jamie L. Ormanian, Defendant.

          For the People: Chad W. Brown Fulton County, Acting District Attorney By: Amanda M. Nellis, ADA. Johnstown, New York

          For the Defendant: William F. Martuscello, Esq.

          Traci DiMezza, J.

         On May 20, 2016, the Defendant, Jamie L. Ormanian, was charged with the crimes of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree, in violation of Penal Law §195.05; Resisting Arrest, in violation of Penal Law §205.30; Attempted Assault, in violation of Penal Law §110/120.00-1; Attempted Escape 3rd, in violation of Penal Law §110/205.05; Harassment 2nd, in violation of PL §240.26-1; and Disorderly Conduct, in violation of Penal Law §240.20-1.

         By Notice of Motion dated September 16, 2016, Defendant moves, through her attorney, William Martuscello, for dismissal of all six (6) accusatory instruments as facially insufficient. The People have responded through the Affirmation in Opposition of Amanda M. Nellis, Esq., dated September 29, 2016. The matter now comes before the Court for a decision.

          Facial Sufficiency of Accusatory Instruments

         It is well settled that a "valid and sufficient accusatory instrument is a non-waivable jurisdictional prerequisite to a criminal prosecution." (People v. Dreyden, 15 N.Y.3d 100, 103 [2010], quoting People v. Case, 42 N.Y.2d 98, 99 [1977]).

         An information, in order to be sufficient, must contain an accusatory portion that charges a "designated offense" (CPL §100.15[2]) and a factual portion, that alleges "facts of an evidentiary character supporting or tending to support the charges" (CPL §100.15[3]). In addition, the provisions of CPL §100.40 require that the factual portion contains "non-hearsay allegations of fact" which establish every element of the offense charged, and provide reasonable cause to believe that the Defendant committed the offense (CPL §100.40[1][b] and [c]).

          The Prima Facie Case Requirement

         The New York State Court of Appeals holds that the statutory requirements of CPL §100.40 are not the same as the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and does not rise to the level of legally sufficient evidence necessary at trial. (People v. Kalin, 12 N.Y.3d 225, 230 [2009]; People v. Henderson, 92 N.Y.2d 677, 679 [1999]; See also Preiser, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Cons. Law of NY Book 11A, CPL §100.40, at 388 [2004 ed]). "So long as the factual allegations of an information give an accused sufficient notice to prepare a defense, and are detailed enough to prevent a defendant from being tried twice for the same offense, they should be given a fair and not overly restrictive or technical reading."(People v. Casey, 95 N.Y.2d 354, 360 [2000]).

          Obstructing Governmental Administration 2nd

         The relevant portion of Penal Law §195.05 reads as follows: "A person is guilty of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree when he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act..."

         Under New York law, an arrest for Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree requires probable cause to believe that: (1) a person prevented or attempted to prevent another from performing a function; (2) the other person was a public servant; (3) the function was an official action authorized by law; and (4) the obstruction was sought to be accomplished by means of intimidation, physical force or interference. (Diehl v. Munro, 170 F.Supp.2d 311');">170 F.Supp.2d 311 [2001]).

         The information charging Defendant with the crime of Obstruction is signed by complainant officer J. DiCristofaro, who alleges that on "May 20, 2016, the Defendant obstructed, impaired and prevented him from performing his official function...by lying via telephone, about the location of her and her daughter with the intent of hiding her daughter from the police, who was the subject of a mental health complaint, where her daughter made suicidal comments to a friend. Once the complainant learned of the daughter's location, via GPS tracking, the defendant attempted to physically prevent the officers ...


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