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Court Decides Jurisdiction of Rape Case


This is a matter dealing with the anonymous respondent, Trevon Y. and the appellant the Presentment Agency. The case is being heard in the Second Department, Appellate Division, of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The Judges hearing the case are Mark C. Dillon, J.P., Ariel E. Belen, Ruth C. Balkin, and Leonard B. Austin, JJ.

The Presentment Agency is appealing a juvenile proceeding which took place in the Family Court of Queens County. The original order from the Queens County Family Court is dated the 27th of April, 2010 and dismissed the original petition of the case with prejudice.

Case Background

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the Presentment Agency, the appellant in this case, had filed a delinquency petition in the Queens County Family Court based on the Family Court Act Article 3. The petition claims that the acts that were committed by the respondent, who is 14 years old, would be considered as a crime of first degree attempted rape, first degree sexual abuse, forcible touching, third degree rape, third degree sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct if the defendant were an adult.

All of the charges in the petition are ones that the Family Court has original jurisdiction over. However, over objections by the appellant, the Family Court dismissed the petition with prejudice. The Family Court reasons that the sworn deposition of the complainant gave facts that if proven at trial would support a finding of first degree rape charges, which is an offense that gives jurisdiction to the Criminal Court. The Family Court would only obtain jurisdiction if this matter was removed by the Criminal Court.

The Presentment Agency is appealing this order made by the Family Court.

Case Discussion and Decision

The determination that was made by the Family Court is not correct. The Family Court has the original jurisdiction over any juvenile delinquency proceeding according to the Family Court Act article 3. The jurisdiction is based on the actual charges within the petition and not on the crimes that a juvenile could have been charged with should they be tried as an adult.

The interpretation in this case would essentially take away the discretion of a District Attorney including the right to not prosecute a juvenile in Criminal Court and allowing the Presentment Agency the ability to present reduced charges to the Family Court.

The District Attorney had declined the right to try the juvenile in criminal court. A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said by denying the petition the Family Court has effectively dismissed the respondent from any of the alleged misconduct that he has been charged with.

The court has reviewed the case and found that all of the charges that were set forth within the petition are charges that the Family Court has jurisdiction over. The court finds that the original order that was made by the Family Court was in error. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the court orders that the order of disposition is reversed without costs or disbursements and the petition will be reinstated. The matter will be resubmitted to the Family Court of Queens County for further proceedings.

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