The First Department, over an extensive dissent, determined the People’s two statements of readiness (for trial) were illusory. The defendant’s case should have been dismissed on speedy trial grounds:
First, the People provided no explanation why, after filing and serving the certificate of readiness on August 30, 2011, shortly after defendant’s arraignment on August 25, 2011, they answered not ready at the next court date on September 7, 2011 … . Nothing in the record, express or inferred, explains their change in status from ready to not ready. As the People “gave no explanation for the change in circumstances between the initial statement of readiness and the subsequent admission that the People were not ready to proceed,” and the statement of readiness thus “did not accurately reflect the People’s position,” the People should have been charged with the entire period, a total of 70 days … . The People argue that the court did not ask for any reason, but the burden rests on the People to clarify, on the record, the basis for the adjournment … .
Second, after the People answered not ready on January 31, 2012, because the prosecutor was on trial in another case, the matter was adjourned to March 20, 2012. On February 7, 2012, the People filed and served a certificate of readiness. At the next court date, March 20, 2012, however, they again answered not ready because the prosecutor was on trial in another case. The court properly deemed the entire period chargeable to the People, “notwithstanding” the February 7, 2012 certificate of readiness, but should have also charged subsequent adjournments to the People. If the prosecutor was on trial at the prior and subsequent adjournments, it is unclear why the People filed and served an off-calendar certificate of readiness, or whether the prosecutor was on trial in the same or a different case. As a result, the February 7, 2012 certificate of readiness was illusory, and the entirety of subsequent adjournment periods (not merely the number of days the People requested), until the People next announced that they were ready, should have been charged to them. Specifically, the 50 days from March 20, 2012 until May 9, 2012, 61 days from May 9, 2012 to July 9, 2012, and 52 days from July 9, 2012, until August 30, 2012, when the People validly declared their readiness, should have been charged. People v Rodriguez, 2016 NY Slip Op 00423, 1st Dept 1-21-16
CRIMINAL LAW (SPEEDY TRIAL, PEOPLE’S STATEMENTS OF READINESS DEEMED ILLUSORY)/SPEEDY TRIAL (PEOPLE’S STATEMENTS OF READINESS DEEMED ILLUSORY)/STATEMENT OR READINESS (SPEEDY TRIAL, STATEMENTS OF READINESS DEEMED ILLUSORY)