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CPL 20.40 (2) (c)

The defendant, who has been charged in Bronx County with failing to register with the Sex Offender Monitoring Unit in New York County, has moved for dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the court lacks geographic jurisdiction over this prosecution because the defendant’s alleged failure to register occurred in New York County. The defendant’s motion is denied, however, because of the material effect of the alleged failure on Bronx County. As explained below, such effect is a statutory basis for jurisdiction in Bronx County.

A Bronx County Criminal lawyer said that according to a superseding complaint dated December 1, 1999, the defendant, who had previously been convicted of attempted sexual abuse in the first degree, failed to comply with the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) in violation of Correction Law § 168-t. Specifically, a police officer alleged in the complaint that on July 29, 1999, the defendant failed to verify his registration personally with the Sex Offender Monitoring Unit (SOMU), located at 314 West 40th Street, New York, New York, as he was required to do. Further, the officer alleged that the defendant resided in Bronx County and that the SOMU was “the sole designated law enforcement agency for the five boroughs of New York City” at which a sex crimes offender may register or verify his registration.

The issue before this court is whether these allegations are sufficient to sustain this court’s geographic jurisdiction.

The defendant moves to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the allegations charging the crime of failing to verify a SORA registration occurred only in New York County, and that therefore a court sitting in Bronx County does not have geographic jurisdiction over this prosecution.

Granted, the Criminal Procedure Law confers jurisdiction on a court sitting in a county where a defendant’s acts constituting at least an element of the offense are alleged to have taken place. Indeed, a defendant at common law had the “right to be tried in the county where the crime was committed.” However, the CPL provides additional bases for geographical jurisdiction, including a “protective theory of jurisdiction”, which is conferred by CPL 20.40 (2) (c).

CPL 20.40 (2) (c) provides that a person may be convicted in the criminal court of a particular county in the following circumstance: “Even though none of the conduct constituting such offense may have occurred within such county [such person may be convicted if “(c) Such conduct had, or was likely to have, a particular effect [as defined in CPL 20.10 (4)] upon such county and was performed with intent that it would, or with knowledge that it was likely to, have such particular effect therein.”

CPL 20.10 (4), in turn, defines the term, “Particular effect of an offense.” Under that definition: “When conduct constituting an offense produces consequences which, though not necessarily amounting to a result or element of such offense, have a materially harmful impact upon the governmental processes or community welfare of a particular jurisdiction such conduct and offense have a `particular effect’ upon such [county or other] jurisdiction.”

To Be Cont…

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