Authorizes a judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea when assigned to conduct a trial.
Ayes (56): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Young, Zeldin
Nays (2): Duane, Parker
Excused (3): Hannon, Martins, Valesky
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to authorizing a judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea when assigned to conduct a trial
This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of the Chief Administrative Judge upon the recommendation of her Local Courts Advisory Committee.
This measure amends section 350.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law to authorize a judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea when authorized to hold a trial of a B misdemeanor.
Judicial hearing officers are retired judges appointed to perform certain designated judicial functions in civil and criminal courts pursuant to Article 22 of the Judiciary Law, thereby freeing judges to conduct more trials. People v. Scalza, 76 N.Y.2d 604, 608 (1990).
Section 350.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law authorizes a local criminal court to assign a judicial hearing officer to conduct a trial of a B misdemeanor upon consent of all parties to the criminal proceeding. When assigned to try the case, the judicial hearing officer has the same powers as a judge of the court in which the proceeding is pending. CPL 350.20(2). With respect to a trial of a B misdemeanor, section 350.20 provides that' the judicial hearing officer shall determine all questions of law, act as the exclusive trier of all issues of fact, and render a verdict. CPL 350.20(1).
It is not uncommon that after a case has been assigned to a judicial hearing officer under this provision, the defendant decides to plead guilty in lieu of proceeding to trial. The problem is that because section 350.20 does not expressly authorize a judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea, the matter must be returned to the judge from whom it originated for final disposition. The return of the case to the originating judge defeats the purpose of the original assignment, namely, to free the judge to dispose of matters involving more serious offenses.
This measure would authorize the judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea by amending section 350.20 to provide that a judicial hearing officer shall have jurisdiction over the proceeding as defined in sections 1.20(24) and 10.30(1) of the Criminal Procedure Law. Section 10.30(1) provides that local courts have trial jurisdiction of all offenses other than felonies. Section 1.20(24) provides that a criminal court's trial jurisdiction of an offense includes, among other things, the "authority to accept a plea to" the offense. In addition, this measure would amend section 380.10 of the
Criminal Procedure Law to provide that the sentencing procedure set forth in the Criminal Procedure Law applies to all offenses, including those adjudicated by judicial hearing officers.
By authorizing a judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea, this measure would enable the judicial hearing officer to fully dispose of the matter assigned to him or her.
This measure would have no fiscal impact upon the State. It would take effect on the first day of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None. New proposal.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6672 IN SENATE March 8, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- (at request of the Office of Court Adminis- tration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to authorizing a judicial hearing officer to accept a guilty plea when assigned to conduct a trial THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 350.20 of the criminal procedure law, as added by chapter 840 of the laws of 1983, is amended to read as follows: 2. In the discharge of this responsibility, the judicial hearing offi- cer shall have the same powers as a judge of the court in which the proceeding is pending, WHICH INCLUDES EXERCISING JURISDICTION OVER THE PROCEEDING AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TWENTY-FOUR OF SECTION 1.20 AND SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 10.30 OF THIS CHAPTER. The rules of evidence shall be applicable at a trial conducted by a judicial hearing officer. S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 380.10 of the criminal procedure law, as amended by chapter 840 of the laws of 1983, is amended to read as follows: 1. In general. The procedure prescribed by this title applies to sentencing for every offense, whether defined within or outside of the penal law; provided, however, where a judicial hearing officer has conducted the trial pursuant to SUBDIVISION TWENTY-FOUR OF SECTION 1.20 AND section 350.20 of this chapter, all references to a court herein shall be deemed references to such judicial hearing officer. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14133-01-2