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People v. Amalfi

Justice Court of the Town of Webster, Monroe County

January 13, 2020

The People of the State of New York, Plaintiff,
Francis M. Amalfi, Defendant.

          Sandra Doorley, District Attorney, Monroe (Alexa Parcell, of counsel)

          Michael Pattison, Esq., Attorney for Defendant

          Thomas J. DiSalvo, J.

         Facts of the Case.

         The defendant was charged with speeding in violation of VTL § 1180 (b) on July 8, 2018 by means of an electronically generated simplified traffic information, which was returnable on August 1, 2018. It as alleged that he was driving 85 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone westbound on New York State Route 104. At the same time that the defendant was provided with the said simplified traffic information he was also provided with an electronically generated supporting deposition. On July 10, 2018 defense counsel faxed a letter to the court indicating he had been retained to represent the defendant and was in need of an adjournment. In addition, he requested that a supporting deposition be provided to him. On August 14, 2018 defense counsel faxed another letter to the court requesting a further adjournment of the August 15th court appearance and indicated it was his intention to submit a plea by mail. The matter was then adjourned by the court to September 19, 2018. Prior to that dated the matter was adjourned again. Subsequently the court granted defense counsel various other adjournments. In any event, defense counsel finally filed motions dated December 11, 2019, requesting that the said accusatory be dismissed "on the ground of defectiveness, pursuant to CPL § 170.30 (1) (a)" because a supporting deposition was never provided to defense counsel as requested. A review of the court's file does not reveal any request to the NYS Trooper who issued the ticket to issue another supporting deposition.

         Issue Presented.

         Is a defendant charged with a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, who has received a supporting deposition at the same time as the issuance of a simplified traffic information, entitled to have a second supporting deposition provided directly to an attorney upon a request for same?

         Legal Analysis.

         CPL § 100.25 (1) states that "A simplified information must be substantially in the form prescribed by the commissioner of motor vehicles, the commissioner of parks and recreation, or the commissioner of environmental conservation, as the case may be." Defense counsel did not raise any objection to the form of the said accusatory. In addition, CPL § 100.40 (2) states that"A simplified information is sufficient on its face when, as provided by subdivision one of section 100.25, it substantially conforms to the requirement therefor prescribed by or pursuant to law; provided that when the filing of a supporting deposition is ordered by the court pursuant to subdivision two of said section 100.25, a failure of the complainant police officer or public servant to comply with such order within the time provided by subdivision two of said section 100.25 renders the simplified information insufficient on its face."

         The defendant's motion is based on the requirements of CPL § 100.25 (2), which states in pertinent part

"A defendant charged by a simplified information is, upon a timely request, entitled as a matter of right to have filed with the court and served upon him, or if he is represented by an attorney, upon his attorney, a supporting deposition of the complainant police officer or public servant, containing allegations of fact, based either upon personal knowledge or upon information and belief, providing reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed the offense or offenses charged. To be timely, such a request must, except as otherwise provided herein and in subdivision three of this section, be made before entry of a plea of guilty to the charge specified and before commencement of a trial thereon, but not later than thirty days after the date the defendant is directed to appear in court as such date appears upon the simplified information and upon the appearance ticket issued pursuant thereto. [1]

         The defendant's attorney contends that since a second supporting deposition was not provided to him within thirty days of his request, said simplified traffic information was rendered defective pursuant to CPL §§ 170.30 (1) (a). [2] Certainly, this provision was written before the advent of either "e-tickets" or "e-supporting depositions". In fact, when hand written simplified traffic informations were issued, supporting depositions were generated at a subsequent time, usually upon request by the defendant or by defense counsel.

         Counsel for the defendant relies on People v. Rossi, 154 Misc.2d 511, 587 N.Y.S.2d 511 (Justice Ct., Village of Muttontown 1992) in support of his contention that the People must in a timely fashion serve the attorney for the defendant with the supporting deposition if asked to do so despite a supporting deposing having been voluntarily provided to the defendant at the time of the traffic stop. That reliance is misplaced. In that case, defense counsel submitted a letter of representation, dated January 3, 1991, to the court wherein he requested a supporting deposition. [3] A supporting deposition was then duly prepared by the officer in question, dated January 22, 1991, and was then sent by the police department directly to the defendant at his place of residence rather that to defense counsel on the same date. The same police department employee also sent a copy to the clerk of the court, which was received just before February 8, 1991. [4] The court clerk then took it upon herself to provide a copy to defense counsel who received it just after February 8, 1991, which was more than 30 days after it had been requested by counsel. [5]

         The court dismissed the accusatory instrument as being "jurisdictionally defective", because the supporting deposition was not served on the attorney of record for the defendant within the thirty day period required by CPL § 100.25 (2). [6] However, the court did not make that decision based solely on the specific language of the statute. That section states "If the defendant's request is mailed to the court, the request must be mailed within such thirty day period. Upon such a request, the court must order the complainant police officer or public servant to serve a copy of such supporting deposition upon the defendant or [emphasis added] his attorney, within thirty days ...

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