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Court Discusses Jurisdiction in Drug Crimes Case


The grand jury of the special narcotics courts voted a verdict against the four men charging them with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, four counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree. However, the four men filed discovery motions. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the state of New York then supplied the grand jury minutes to the court for in camera examination. After examining the minutes, the court ordered the parties to submit additional memoranda of law on two jurisdictional questions.

First, the charges does not contain any drug crime related charge, does the grand jury of the special narcotics courts have subject matter jurisdiction? Second, the special narcotics grand jury has subject matter jurisdiction, does it also have geographic jurisdiction?

On the proceeding, the state of New York alleges that a confidential informant contacted a man to offer an opportunity to rob drug dealers with a valuable supply of narcotics and/or cash. The man allegedly accepted the informant’s offer and engaged the three other men to be part of the robbery gang. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the case detectives instructed the informant to tell the four men that the robbery location was in Bronx. Apparently, it is also alleged that the informant and the four men loaded two vehicles with a number of weapons and went to that Bronx location with the intention to commit a burglary and a robbery.

Moreover, the informant testified that he had continuous conversations with the man however his testimony is devoid of any references to where he or the man were located when they had those telephone conversations. Furthermore,a New York Drug Possession Lawyer said it is apparent from the grand jury minutes that none of the face-to-face meetings between the informant and the four men occurred in Manhattan. The sole reference to Manhattan in the informant’s testimony is contained in the informant’s recitation of why he was at a certain place at a certain time, to which the witness responded that it was an operation that had been assigned to him with those four men that the foreman of the jury mentioned which consisted of going to an apartment in Manhattan or in the Bronx with firearms, with guns, and it was to rob sixty kilos of cocaine.

The state of New York’s sole theory of geographic jurisdiction was clearly presented to the grand jury. In fact, the assistant district attorney who presented the case to the grand jury prefaced his question to an agent. However, it is uncontested that the sole references to Manhattan in the grand jury minutes and the asserted basis of the grand juries are the numerous phone calls from Manhattan made to the targets and that the targets understood that the drug location they are potentially going to rob was in Manhattan originally. The informant’s testimony is bereft of any references to any phone calls being made from Manhattan, but he does make a cursory reference to the plan which originally consisted of going to an apartment in Manhattan or in the Bronx with firearms, with guns, and it was to rob sixty kilos of cocaine.

Based on records, the four men have the right to be prosecuted in the county where the alleged criminal conduct was committed, unless the legislature vests jurisdiction in some other county. In the early 1970s, the legislature enacted an exception to the normal jurisdictional rules by creating the special narcotics courts and grand jury.

Consequently after the parties submitted the legal memoranda, a New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the court finds that the evidence before the grand jury was insufficient to establish authority under any theory and therefore the verdict is dismissed with leave to re-present.

It is hard for any family member or parent to see their love one being accused with a crime that they didn’t do. If you believe that your son or your husband is innocent of the allegations and you wanted to show evidence, you can call the NY Criminal Lawyer for legal assistance or representation. If drug related crime is your problem, you can phone the NY Drug Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates for your queries.

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