The Third Department, reversing Family Court, determined this juvenile delinquency proceeding should not have been dismissed “in furtherance of justice.” The respondent was charged with acts of violence against the mother of his child:
Dismissal in the furtherance of justice is an extraordinary remedy that must be employed “sparingly, that is, only in those rare cases where there is a compelling factor which clearly demonstrates that prosecution . . . would be an injustice” … . In determining such a motion, the statutory factors which must be considered, individually and collectively, are as follows: “(a) the seriousness and circumstances of the crime; (b) the extent of harm caused by the crime; (c) any exceptionally serious misconduct of law enforcement personnel in the investigation and arrest of the respondent or in the presentment of the petition; (d) the history, character and condition of the respondent; (e) the needs and best interest of the respondent; (f) the need for protection of the community; and (g) any other relevant fact indicating that a finding would serve no useful purpose” … . “At least one of these factors must be readily identifiable and sufficiently compelling to support the dismissal” …
According to the sworn statement of the victim — the mother of respondent’s child — respondent became verbally abusive toward her when she got pregnant, and physically abusive after their child was born, including pinching, punching and slapping her, once when she was holding the child. On the date in question, respondent threw a full, eight-ounce baby bottle at the victim, which hit her in the face, when she asked him to feed the child, who was crying. The victim stated that, although she was bleeding heavily, respondent and his father discouraged her from seeking medical attention. When she eventually did go to the hospital the next day, a cut on her face was glued shut by a doctor and she was told to return for X rays after the swelling had abated. The victim indicated that she felt unsafe living with the child in the home of respondent and his father. Matter of James JJ., 2022 NY Slip Op 03555, Third Dept 6-2-22
Practice Point: The allegations of violence in this juvenile delinquency proceeding were deemed too serious to warrant dismissal of the juvenile delinquency proceeding “in furtherance of justice.” This remedy should be used sparingly and at least one of the statutory factors for dismissal in furtherance of justice must be readily identifiable.