People v. Faison – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In People v. Faison (171 Misc 2d 68, 72, 662 NYS2d 973 [Crim Ct, Bronx County 1996]), 15 years ago, the court expressed its concern that to allow the People to maintain traffic infraction charges when the misdemeanor charges have been dismissed would give the People "an infinite period in which to prosecute."

That court based its decision on the reasoning of People v. Matute (141 Misc 2d 988, 535 NYS2d 524 [Crim Ct, Bronx County 1988]).

There, eight years before Faison, the court expressed its concerns in language which still resonates today:

"To permit the reduced charges to govern in this context would not limit the People's allotted preparation time, but would completely remove the prosecution from the requirements of the statute. Such a result would hardly serve the basic purpose of insuring prompt prosecution. It would undermine the defendant's legitimate expectation, arising at the commencement of the action, of a speedy disposition of the matter. And it would increase the potential for unfair manipulation of the charges to prosecutorial advantage. Finally, the application of CPL 30.30 to actions begun as misdemeanor prosecutions can hardly be said to conflict with any possible legislative attempt to conserve the People's resources by excluding prosecutions for traffic infractions from its reach. This is especially so where, as here, the matter is treated as a misdemeanor for months." (141 Misc 2d at 992.)