The Third Department, reversing County Court, determined defendant was eligible for judicial diversion to a drug treatment program. Defendant was stopped with four pounds of marijuana in his car. He demonstrated he was addicted to marijuana, that drug-dependence was a contributing factor re: his criminal behavior, and this was his first contact with the criminal justice system:
It is undisputed that defendant is an eligible defendant as defined in CPL 216.00 (1) and that his incarceration was not necessary to protect the public. Contrary to the determination of County Court, however, we also find that the uncontroverted evidence in the record amply supports the conclusions that defendant has a history of substance abuse and that such substance abuse and dependence were contributing factors to his criminal behavior. Specifically, among other things, defendant described that his progressively escalating marihuana use, which began socially at age 14, advanced to daily use over the ensuing years and culminated in defendant becoming a mule, transporting larger quantities of marihuana across state lines for other individuals in order to receive compensation in the form of marihuana. Defendant attested to resorting to this conduct when supporting his habit became too expensive, despite his gainful employment. We also note the expert testimony of a substance abuse counselor who opined that, based upon his history, defendant was an addict who was cannabis dependent.
Inasmuch as “[t]he statute does not require that a defendant’s . . . substance abuse or dependence be the exclusive or primary cause of the defendant’s criminal behavior” … , but instead only requires it be a contributing factor, we find no basis for County Court’s determination that the instant arrest — i.e., defendant’s only involvement with the criminal justice system — was not contributed to by defendant’s marihuana use. People v Cora, 2016 NY Slip Op 00066, 3rd Dept 1-7-15
CRIMINAL LAW (APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL DIVERSION TO A DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)/JUDICIAL DIVERSION (APPLICATION FOR DIVERSION TO A DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)/DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM (JUDICIAL DIVERSION APPLICATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)/MARIJUANA (APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL DIVERSION TO A DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)