This is an Appeal by the defendant from two judgments of the County Court, Westchester County, convicting him of rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, and endangering the welfare of a child, and rape in the first degree, and sodomy in the first degree, upon jury verdicts, and imposing sentences.
The Court agreed with the defendant’s contention that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the indictments because they were lacking in specificity. The defendant was charged under two indictments with multiple counts of rape, sodomy and endangering the welfare of children, arising out of offenses which allegedly occurred between 1980 and 1985. Each count charged the defendant with an offense, alleged to have occurred “on or about and between August 1, 1984 and May 3, 1985”.
A New York Criminal Rape lawyer said that the defendant was convicted under 14 counts of this indictment. Of the three counts in another Indictment of which the defendant was convicted, one charged him with burglary in the first degree alleged to have occurred “on or about and between November 5, 1980 and December 31, 1981”, and the other two counts related to conduct occurring between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1981.
In a case which is found to be applicable in the instant case, the Court of Appeals observed: “[We] agree with the arrest defendant’s contention that all of the charges should have been dismissed on the further ground that the time period during which the crimes were alleged to have occurred was so excessive that it was unreasonable. Where an indictment charges a time interval which is so large that it is virtually impossible for a defendant to answer the charges and to prepare a defense, dismissal should follow even though the People have acted diligently and a shorter time period cannot be alleged. The time period alleged here, even considering the nature of the crime and the ages of the victims, is an excessive interval”
The time periods alleged at bar are 9 months, 13 months, and 12 months, respectively, and are excessive. The People contend, however, that the bills of particulars narrowed the intervals with regard to some of the counts, thus immunizing those counts from attack on specificity grounds. While we agree that the bills of particulars can operate in this manner.
The Court is not reversing on specificity grounds, we would have held that reversal on all of the counts relating to those children interviewed is warranted, owing to the delay by the People in handing over. During the course of the investigation, the People secured the services of a witness, who testified as to the nature of child sex abuse syndrome. She had previously interviewed seven of the alleged victims and had taken statements from them. The existence of these statements was, however, only revealed to the defendant during the witness’ testimony and after the seven children had already testified. The defendant moved to strike the testimony of the children or, in the alternative, for a mistrial. The court denied the motion but granted the defendant the option of recalling the children for cross-examination.
The Court agreed that a substantial right of the defendant was prejudiced by this delay, which could not be cured by the offer made by the court, since it would have appeared that the defendant was heaping further abuse on the children who had already testified. None of this, however, applies to the children who were never interviewed by the witness.
Thus, the Court held that the judgments are reversed, on the law, the indictments are dismissed with leave to the People, should they be so advised, to resubmit the charges to another Grand Jury, and the matters are remitted to the County Court, Westchester County, for entry of an order in its discretion pursuant to CPL 160.50. No questions of fact have been raised or considered.
The Court examined the defendant’s remaining contentions and find them to be without merit.
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