The Fourth Department, reversing County Court’s speedy-trial dismissal of the indictment, over a dissent, determined County Court should not have deemed several of the prosecutor’s statements of readiness illusory because the witnesses were not ready for trial at the time the statements were made:
Prior to August 4, 2021, no adjournment was caused by the People’s failure to have their witnesses ready for trial. Rather, the matter was adjourned on those occasions due to other, older matters proceeding to trial before this case was reached. “The People are not required to contact their witnesses on every adjourned date . . . , nor do they have to be able to produce their witnesses instantaneously in order for a statement of readiness to be valid” … . To the contrary, ” ‘[p]ostreadiness delay may be charge[able] to the People when the delay is attributable to their inaction and directly implicates their ability to proceed to trial’ ” … . Here, although the time after the People withdrew their statement of readiness was properly charged to them, there was no prior delay attributable to the People’s inaction. Consequently, the prior statements of readiness were not illusory … . People v Hill, 2022 NY Slip Op 05626, Fourth Dept 10-7-22
Practice Point: Here the prosecutor acknowledged the trial witnesses had not be contacted at the time statements of readiness were made because other trials were scheduled before the trial in this case. No delay was attributable to the People’s inaction. Therefore the statements of readiness should not have been deemed illusory and the indictment should not have been dismissed on speedy-trial grounds.