Even Though the People Indicated They Were Not Ready for Trial After Filing a Certificate of Readiness, the Presumption the Statement of Readiness Was Accurate and Truthful When Made Was Not Rebutted/How to Interpret a Plurality Opinion by the Court of Appeals Explained
The First Department determined the People’s off-calendar statement of readiness was not illusory and, therefore, the defendant’s speedy-trial motion was properly denied. The First Department explained how it interpreted the Court of Appeals decision in People v Sibbles, 22 NY3d 1174, which included two three-judge concurrences, one by Judge Lippman and one by Judge Graffeo:
The three judge concurrence by Chief Judge Lippman “would hold that, if challenged, the People must demonstrate that some exceptional fact or circumstance arose after their declaration of readiness so as to render them presently not ready for trial” at the next court appearance after filing the certificate (22 NY3d at 1178). Chief Judge Lippman found that the People’s desire to strengthen their case did not satisfy this requirement.
The three judge concurrence by Judge Graffeo “would decide th[e] case on a narrower basis” (22 NY3d at 1179). While recognizing established precedent that the requirement of actual readiness under CPL 30.30 “will be met unless there is proof that the readiness statement did not accurately reflect the People’s position'”(id. at 1180, quoting People v Carter, 91 NY2d 795, 799 ) and that “there is a presumption that a statement of readiness is truthful and accurate” (22 NY3d at 1180), Judge Graffeo found the statement of readiness “illusory” because “[t]he People initially declared that they were ready for trial on February 22 but within days sought copies of the injured officer’s medical records,” admitted at the next calendar call that they “were not in fact ready to proceed because they were continuing their investigation” and that they “needed to examine the medical records to decide if they would pursue introduction of the records into evidence at trial”, and then “gave no explanation for the change in circumstances between the initial statement of readiness and the[ir] subsequent admission that the[y] … were not ready to proceed without the medical records” (22 NY3d at 1181).
Following analogous precedent pertaining to plurality opinions by the United States Supreme Court, we apply the narrower approach of Judge Graffeo, which leaves intact well- settled law that a post-certificate assertion that the People are not ready does not, by itself, vitiate the previously filed certificate of readiness … . * * *
[Here], unlike, Sibblies, there is no “proof that the readiness statement did not accurately reflect the People’s position,” so as to render the prior statement of readiness illusory (Sibblies, 22 NY3d at 1180 …). Rather, defense counsel merely speculated that the certificate of readiness was illusory because the People announced that they were not ready at the next court appearance after it was filed, which is insufficient to rebut the presumption that the certificate of readiness was accurate and truthful … . People v Brown, 2015 NY Slip Op 02042, 1st Dept 3-17-15