A Kings Domestic Violence Lawyer said that, the defendant was charged with, inter alia, harassment in the second degree based on numerous harassing and threatening telephone calls he allegedly made to his former paramour, with whom he had two children. On January 18, 2007, a misdemeanor complaint was filed charging the defendant with, inter alia, aggravated harassment in the second degree (three counts). By order dated January 31, 2007, the action was transferred from the Criminal Court, Kings County, to the IDV Part of the Supreme Court, Kings County. A Kings Criminal Lawyer said that, the misdemeanor complaint was converted to information by the complainant’s attestation dated February 7, 2007. After a nonjury trial, the court convicted the defendant of three counts of attempted aggravated harassment in the second degree.
A Kings Criminal Defense Lawyer said that, the defendant argues for the first time on appeal that the IDV Part of the Supreme Court, to which his case was transferred from the Criminal Court, lacked jurisdiction over the instant matter because neither a grand jury indictment nor a superior court information was filed by a district attorney, as required by CPL 210.05, and he never waived his right to an indictment by a grand jury. Moreover, the defendant contends that there was no legislative mandate authorizing the transfer.
The issue in this case is whether CPL 210.05 precludes the Integrated Domestic Violence (hereinafter IDV) Part of the Supreme Court from exercising its jurisdiction under the New York State Constitution to try misdemeanor charges against a defendant in the absence of an indictment or a superior court information.
As a threshold matter, the court agrees with the defendant that his contention regarding the jurisdiction of the IDV Part may properly be raised for the first time on appeal. The preservation rule does not apply to errors that “affect the organization of the court or the mode of proceedings prescribed by law”. Such errors fall into a “very narrow category of cases”. The Court of Appeals has held that, in general, errors that fall under the exception exist “where the court had no jurisdiction, or where the right to trial by jury was disregarded, or where there was a fundamental, non-waivable defect in the mode of procedure”. The exception to the general rule was created “to ensure that criminal trials are conducted in accordance with the mode of procedure mandated by Constitution and statute”. However, the exception only applies to errors that “go to the essential validity of the process and are so fundamental that the entire trial is irreparably tainted.
Here, the defendant’s contention that the Supreme Court was not competent to entertain the action in the absence of an indictment or a superior court information as required by CPL 210.05 raises the issue of the court’s jurisdiction and, thus, preservation was not required.
The Supreme Court has general original jurisdiction in law and equity and is competent to entertain all causes of action unless its jurisdiction has been specifically Any attempt by the Legislature to abridge, limit or qualify this broad jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is unconstitutional and void.
In a criminal action, the superior courts, which include the Supreme Court and the County Court, have trial jurisdiction of all offenses in the following manner: “(a) Exclusive trial jurisdiction of felonies; and “(b) Trial jurisdiction of misdemeanors concurrent with that of the local criminal courts; and “(c) Trial jurisdiction of petty offenses,1 but only when such an offense is charged in an indictment which also charges a crime.”
The local criminal courts’ concurrent jurisdiction of misdemeanors is subject to divestiture by the Supreme Court. Specifically, CPL 10.30(2) provides that local criminal courts have preliminary jurisdiction of all offenses subject to divestiture thereof in any particular case by the superior courts and their grand juries”. Pursuant to CPL 10.20(2), the Supreme Court has preliminary jurisdiction of all offenses but exercises such jurisdiction only by reason of and through the agency of grand juries.
The IDV Parts were created pursuant to an Administrative Order of the Chief Judge dated January 6, 2004, an Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge dated January 12, 2004, Part 41 of the Rules of the Chief Judge, and Part 141 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts. The rules provide for the transfer to IDV Parts of the Supreme Court of “any case pending in another court in the same county”. Authority for the transfer of misdemeanor cases to the IDV Parts of the Supreme Court is found under N.Y. Constitution article VI, §§ 28 and 30, and Judiciary Law § 211. Under N.Y. Constitution article VI, § 30, the Legislature has the power to regulate practice and procedure. Pursuant to that authority, Judiciary Law § 211 provides, in pertinent part, as follows: The chief judge, after consultation with the administrative board, shall establish standards and administrative policies for general application to the unified court system throughout the state, including but not limited to standards and administrative policies relating to: “(a) the dispatch of judicial business, the designation of administrative judges, hours of court, assignment of terms and judges, transfer of judges and causes among the courts of the unified court system, the assignment and reassignment of administrative functions performed by judicial and non-judicial personnel, the need for additional judicial or non-judicial personnel, and the publication of judicial opinions”
Accordingly, Judiciary Law § 211 provides the Chief Judge with constitutional authority to regulate the transfer of cases among the courts.
To Be Continued…..
If you are charged of a crime involving domestic violence and the court has no jurisdiction over the case, seek the representation of a Kings Criminal Defense Attorney and Kings Domestic Violence Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates. Call us.