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Defendant Claims He was not Prosecuted in a Timely Manner


This is a case of appeal involving the appellant, the People of the State of New York and the respondent, William Balken. The judges overseeing the appeal case are Santucci, J.P., H. Miller, and Joy S. Miller.

Case Background

This case arises from an accident involving one vehicle that occurred on the seventh of December, 1996. The defendant was driving his vehicle at almost twice the legally posted speed limit in the area. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer was passing a friends vehicle by driving in a center turn lane on the road. While driving at this fast rate and in a turn lane the defendant lost control of his vehicle on a curve in the road. This caused the vehicle to turn over and two of the passengers of the vehicle died as a result.

Originally, the defendant was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. However, this was not supported by any type of medical evidence and because of this the charge was dismissed in April of 1997.

The police investigation was mostly completed by the 12th of June, 1997. The reconstruction report of the accident did not result in any new charges against the defendant. The investigation was not continued untile the parents of the two decedents asked the District Attorney to reexamine the case in August of 1988.

A detective was assigned to the case and he interviewed several of the same witnesses of the case again. He also interviewed at lease one additional witness. The case was presented to the Grand Jury and the defendant was indicted on two charges of criminally negligent homicide. This occurred in November of 1998.

The defendant made a motion for the indictment to be dismissed and this was granted by the County Court. The County Court made this decision based on the failure of the People to bring forth a prompt prosecution in the matter.

Case Discussion and Decision

We are reversing the decision that was made by the County Court. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the County Court based its decision on the fact that the defendant was denied his right to a timely prosecution in the matter.

It is noted that a time frame of approximately 18 months passed between the time that the first stage of the investigation in the matter was mostly completed and the date when the defendant was indicted. We feel that this delay is not unreasonably long.

The time frame involved in the case was not intended as a way to gain any type of unfair advantage in the case against the defendant. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said the main reason for the delay is that the prosecutors did not believe that they had a sufficient amount of evidence to proceed in the case after the driving while intoxicated charge was dropped. However, the prosecution decided in good faith to further the investigation and bring the cause before the Grand Jury.

A good faith determination to defer prosecution should not result in a ruling that the due process of the law has been denied. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said it has not been determined that the defendant was prejudiced by the delay in the claim. For these reasons we find in favor of the appellants and the previous order of the County Court is reversed.

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