A Bronx judge ruled on October 7th that the Bronx DA failed to meet the requirements of “exceptional circumstances” in failing to produce police witnesses in the criminal trial of a man accused of felony assault and marijuana possession, among other charges. The DA had argued that the witnesses, two police officers, were unable to testify because of injuries sustained during the defendant’s arrest. Both officers suffered wrist injuries during the arrest.
Under New York Criminal Procedure Law section 170.30(1)(e), a criminal court may dismiss charges when a defendant is denied his or her right to a speedy trial. Further, under section 30.30(1)(a), a motion made pursuant to 170.30(1)(e) must be granted when the prosecution is not ready for trial within six months of the commencement of the criminal action, if at least one of the charges against the defendant is a felony. Article 30 outlines an “exceptional circumstances” exemption from this speedy trial requirement, however the court in this case ruled that the officers’ respective wrist injuries did not meet the standard for this exemption. Their wrist injuries did not affect their ability to testify. Additionally, the People failed to produce relevant medical documents to support the delay. As such the court ordered a recalculation of the speedy trial time.