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Sex Crime Causes Court to Weigh Penal Law 125.27

This case is being heard in the Kings County Supreme Court. The Justice overseeing the case is Joel M. Goldberg. The defendant in the case is Otis Carr who is represented by Robert M. Baum from the Legal Aid Soc. The plaintiff in the case is the People of the State of New York. The People are represented by the Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and the Kings County Assistant District Attorney John Barker.

Case Issue

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the matter at hand involves whether the statutory language that is found in Penal Law 125.27 and states “more than 18 years old” means “at least 19 years old” as contended by the defendant.

Case History

The defendant, Otis Carr is charged in an indictment of first degree murder, attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degree. The defendant has moved for dismissal or reduction of the first degree murder charge to attempted murder in the second degree.

The defendant claims that the evidence that was provided to the grand jury was not sufficient legally to establish that the defendant was at least 19 years of age when the crime occurred.

Court Discussion and Decision

The Penal Law in question states that a person is guilty of first degree murder when there is an intent to cause death to another individual and the death of another individual is caused and if the victim is a police officer who is killed in the course of performing the official duties of the job, and the defendant either knew or should have been able to determine that the victim was a police officer and that the defendant is over 18 years old at the time the crime was committed.

The defendant makes the argument that according the Penal Law 18 year olds are not within the scope of the law. The evidence that was supplied to the grand jury in the case shows that the defendant was either 18 or 19 years old at the time the crime was committed. The discrepancy of age is a result of the defendant providing two different birthdates at two different times.

The People responded to this and contend that the age of the defendant was sufficiently established and submitted to the grand jury. The People also state that the term used in the Penal Law of more than 18 years of age is synonymous with 18 years old and more as was alleged in the indictment. A Nassau County Criminal Lawyer said the People have not authority cited for this except for a “plain reading” of the statute in question.

In the research conducted by the court there is not published decisions or history that show the exact meaning of the phrase more than 18 years old. However, it is dictated that the words in any statute should be given their obvious meaning according the ordinary usage of the phrase. When read in this matter the term more than 18 years old includes those individuals who are 18 years old as well.

For these reasons, the court denies the motion made by the defendant to dismiss the case as the evidence that was submitted to the grand jury is established as efficient for the case.

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