People Could Not Show Good Cause for the Nearly Five-Year Pre-Indictment Delay—Indictment Dismissed
The Third Department, over a dissent, determined, in a child pornography case, the nearly five-year delay between when defendant’s computer was seized and defendant questioned (2009) and the indictment (2013) required dismissal of the indictment. The case was not complex and no additional information beyond that gathered in 2009 was needed to indict. The People therefore did not demonstrate good cause for the extensive delay:
The parties agree that there has been a protracted preindictment delay that places the burden on the People to establish good cause for that delay … . The People state in their brief that there are no issues of fact regarding the issue before this Court and the record on appeal provides an adequate basis to determine whether the protracted delay was justified.
In determining whether there is an undue delay, the trial court must consider “(1) the extent of the delay; (2) the reason for the delay; (3) the nature of the underlying charge; (4) whether or not there has been an extended period of pretrial incarceration; and (5) whether or not there is any indication that the defense has been impaired by reason of the delay” … . Here, although defendant was not incarcerated during the period of delay and the nature of the charges are serious, the extent of the delay was clearly extensive. The People attribute the delay to the fact that the matter was initially referred to the office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York for prosecution, and point to vague references of personnel changes within that office, as well as that office’s decision, at some point, not to prosecute.
This was not a complex legal matter and the record establishes that no further evidence was needed in order to charge defendant beyond that gathered in the 2009 … . People v Montague, 2015 NY Slip Op 05721, 3rd Dept 7-2-15