Juvenile Delinquent's Petition for Dismissal on the Basis That He Didn't Know the Contents of the Deposition He Had Signed

In Matter of Edward B. (80 NY2d 458 [1992]) the respondent was charged with committing acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute first degree robbery and several other offenses. The charges were embodied in a juvenile delinquency petition, accompanied by a supporting deposition which the complainant had signed under oath. During the fact-finding hearing, it was revealed that the complainant had not read or been read the deposition before signing it. The respondent moved for dismissal, pursuant to Family Court Act 311.2 (3) and 315.1 (1) (a), arguing that the petition was legally insufficient because the complainant who signed it did not have actual knowledge of its contents. The Court of Appeals characterized the defect as latent and held that a motion to dismiss for legal insufficiency could not be sustained because the complaint was facially sufficient and the statute under which the motion to dismiss was brought only contemplated dismissal for facial defects. (Supra, at 461, 463.) The Court supported its analysis and conclusion by citing CPL 170.35 and 100.40, which were the legislative bases for those sections of the Family Court Act upon which the motion to dismiss rested. (Supra, at 464.) Specifically, the Court observed that because the case had proceeded beyond the pretrial stages and had entered the fact-finding stage, the need for an accusatory instrument to comply with the requirements of Family Court Act 311.2 (3) was no longer compelling. "Once the pretrial stages of the proceeding have passed and the fact-finding stage has begun, there is no longer a pressing need for an accusatory instrument that complies with Family Court Act 311.2 (3)'s requirements, since the accused has already been brought before the court and the witnesses are available to describe the case against the accused, in person and under oath. It follows that the need for--and the operative effect of--Family Court Act 311.2 (3) are, at that point, dissipated. And, as the Legislature has foreseen, the limited, albeit important, purpose of the statute is amply served by facial compliance." (Supra, at 465.)