Application of the CPLR In Criminal Cases

Often, courts rejecting application of the CPLR in criminal cases cite to the broad language of two statutory provisions. In People v. Kyriazas, 2002 N.Y. Misc.(West. Sup. Ct. 2002), the court opined that "it is equally self-evident that the CPLR governs in civil proceedings (see CPLR 101) and that the CPL governs in criminal actions (see CPL 1.10)". Similar reasoning was applied in People v. Ekinici, 191 Misc. 2d 510, 743 N.Y.S.2d 651 (Kgs. Cty. Sup. Ct. 2002). There, the court stated that "CPLR 101 makes the CPLR applicable to civil' cases. Thus, by statute, it is inapplicable to criminal cases." Id., at 513, FN4. In two seemingly fact specific decisions, the Court of Appeals has agreed. In People v. Coaye, 68 NY2d 857, 501 N.E.2d 18, 508 N.Y.S.2d 410 (1986), the Court refused to apply the specific interpretive language found in the CPLR to a criminal appeal. Similarly in People v. Knobel, 94 NY2d 226, 723 N.E.2d 550, 701 N.Y.S.2d 695 (1999), the Court did not adopt the interpretive language of CPLR 207 in an appeal centered on CPL 30.10(4)(a)(i). The Court did not, however, issue a blanket ruling, similar to the language employed by the First Department, precluding application of all CPLR provisions in criminal cases. But see People ex rel. Hirschberg v. Orange County Court, 271 NY 151, 2 N.E.2d 521(1936)(holding the Code of Criminal Procedure, predecessor to the CPL and PL, to be the only source of guidance for criminal actions); People v. Hovey, 92 NY 554, 1 N.Y. Cr. 283 (1883).