Partner Wayne Gosnell recently secured a full dismissal for a client charged with criminal contempt.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office initially refused to dismiss the case outright, despite failing to uphold their discovery obligations as required under New York’s recently revised Criminal Procedure Law.
In response to Gosnell’s motion to dismiss, the court held that the District Attorney’s Office failed in their discovery obligations in a multitude of ways requiring dismissal: the prosecution did not exercise due diligence (as required by law) when it did not timely produce police reports and other material in the possession of law enforcement and they never attempted to explain their discovery failures, other than to claim that it was their office’s policy not to provide certain materials.
The Court’s decision is part of a trend of judicial opinions making clear that prosecutors cannot hide behind “office policy” to justify violating a defendant’s right to discovery. New York’s “open discovery” requirements brings the state’s laws in line with most other jurisdictions in the country. Despite efforts by some prosecutors not to comply with those requirements, courts are holding them to their obligations.