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Defendant Claims Multiple Charges Should Only have been One

This case involves the People of the State of New York et al. relater against the respondent, the Warden of the Auburn State Prison. The case is being heard in front of the Supreme Court.

The case before the court is a habeas corpus proceeding that is being brought by an inmate of the Auburn Prison. The defendant was convicted of first degree rape, first degree robbery, and second degree assault in the Bronx County Court. The punishments for these crimes were 10 to 20 years for the rape charge, 15 to 30 years for the robbery charge, and 2 and ½ years to 5 years for the assault charge.

Case Background

The original petition of the relater was acted on in this court on the 3rd of February, 1959. The court allowed a writ of habeas corpus that was made returnable for the 24th of February, 1959. A New York Criminal Lawyer said on this date a hearing was held on the issue of whether or not imposing separate consecutive sentences for the robbery and assault convictions on top of the separate sentence for the rape conviction was violating the provisions set forth in the Penal Law 1938 that prohibits a person from being doubling punished for the same crime.

The relater appeared in court for the hearing without representation from counsel. He argued that the counts for robbery and assault were merged in the rape count. He argues that he was charged erroneously with three separate crimes when he should have only been charged as one. He holds that the three separate sentences for the crimes amounts to triple punishment for the same crime, which is illegal as it is beyond the sentencing court’s jurisdiction.

After the hearing on the 24th of February, the court dismissed the writ of habeas corpus and remanded the relater. A New York Lawyer said on the 6th of May, the relater appealed the ruling and it was granted. The appeal reversed the order that dismissed the writ of habeas corpus and the case has been resubmitted for further proceedings.

Case Discussion and Decision

As ruled by the court of Appeals the court is rehearing the case for habeas corpus. In the opinion of this court, based on the records from the Bronx County Court it is determined that the assault crime and the rape crime were distinct and separate offenses. Furthermore, a New York Sex Crime Lawyer said it is found that the assault that was charged was not an essential part of the rape charge and for that reason the assault charge should not be merged with the rape charge and separate sentencing is allowed.

It is obvious that the robbery charge was a distinct offence as well. For these reasons, the court denies the motion made by the defendant for habeas corpus. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the assault charge and the rape charge especially are found to be two separate crimes that should not be merged. The Bronx County Court had the jurisdiction to charge the relater in the three separate charges that were made against him and did so accordingly.

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