The Court of Appeals, over an extensive two-judge dissent, determined that the defendant did not demonstrate the misdemeanors with which he was charged triggered a right to a jury trial because conviction would result in deportation:
Defendant was originally charged with public lewdness, two counts of forcible touching, and two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree after police officers observed him masturbating on a subway platform and pressing himself against two women on a subway car. The People thereafter filed a prosecutor’s information reducing the two class A misdemeanor charges of forcible touching to attempted forcible touching, so that the top charges against defendant were Class B misdemeanors obviating his right to a jury trial under state statute … . After a bench trial, defendant was convicted of public lewdness and acquitted of all other charges. …
While the Appellate Term first improperly conducted the deportability analysis based only on the crime of conviction, that court went on to correctly analyze defendant’s deportability based on all the charges he faced (see Suazo, 32 NY3d at 508). It remained, however, “the defendant’s burden to overcome the presumption that the crime charged is petty and establish a Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial” (id. at 507). … [D]efendant’s conclusory allegation that he was deportable if convicted “on any of the charged B misdemeanors,” supported by a bare citation to 8 USC § 1227 (a) (2) (A) (ii), under which an alien is deportable if “convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct,” was insufficient to establish his right to a jury trial. People v Garcia, 2022 NY Slip Op 03359, CtApp 5-24-22
Practice Point: Generally B misdemeanors do not warrant a jury, as opposed to a bench, trial. However, if conviction will result in deportation, the defendant has a right to a jury trial. Here the Court of Appeals held the defendant did not demonstrate conviction of the B misdemeanors with which he was charged triggered deportation.