Defendants often complain that they have to keep coming back to Court and the prosecution is never ready for trial. Witnesses, evidence and sometimes the theory of the case disappears and, over time, criminal defendants answer ready for trial over and over yet no trial ever occurs. “At issue on this appeal is whether the People’s repeated declarations of unreadiness in court rendered their prior off-calendar statements of readiness illusory.” Pp. 2. New York Speedy Trial rights attach to a criminal defendant facing a crime or violation charge. While there are exceptions, a violation of New York Speedy Trial rights may entitled a defendant to move for a dismissal on these grounds alone.
A statement of readiness certifies that the People are ready to proceed to trial and, thus, tolls the “speedy trial clock” from running. People v. Stirrup, 91 NY2d 434, 440 (1998). Such a statement, while presumptively truthful and accurate, “entails more than a mere empty assertion of readiness.” Stirrup, 91 NY2d at 440. It must be a good faith, affirmative representation on the record of present and actual readiness. See People v. Kendzia, 64 NY2d 331, 337 (1985); People v. Robinson, 171 AD2d 475, 477 (1991)). While a post-readiness declaration by the People that they are not ready does not necessarily render the prior statement of readiness illusory. People v. Brown, 126 AD3d 516, 517-518 (1st Dep’t. 2015), leave granted. The Court here found that an issue remains as to what makes a prior off-calendar statement of readiness illusory. Reviewing what happened, the Court finds that:
Clark said in a statement she would create an internal task force trained in the jail’s procedures and station a prosecutor at the facility. She also said she would ask the Office of Court Administration to put a judge there to speed up arraignments and other proceedings.
Outgoing DA Robert Johnson has been faulted for declining to write up new felony arrest complaints against inmates. Instead, he was concentrating on reducing a backlog that Bronx DA public information director Terry Raskyn on Monday said has been eliminated.
Clark said the office needed to work together with city agencies and that she would request “adequate funding” from the City Council for Rikers cases.
She called for bail reform for low-level, nonviolent offenders as well as improved information sharing with the city’s other district attorneys.
Clark said she would “demand and expect that my office will be prepared to achieve real-time prosecution on every case possible, and I look forward to working with all the stakeholders to bring safety and the rule of law to Rikers Island.”
These reforms are long overdue as the story of Kalief Browder has proliferated throughout New York: