Traffic Cases

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TRAFFIC LAW
 FOR THOMAS A. CORLETTA

People v. Anonymous  (Kirkland Tn. Ct., Broome Co., 8/17).
Mr. Corletta recently achieved the outright dismissal of a traffic ticket for his client, a retired attorney, in People v. Anonymous (Kirkland Tn. Ct., 8/17). In that case, the client, before retaining Mr. Corletta, sent in the traffic ticket with a Request for Supporting Deposition, which was not received. The Town Justice, a retired State Trooper, told Mr. Corletta he had a Supporting Deposition filed with the Court. Mr. Corletta respectfully directed him to the provisions of CPL §100.25(2), which required service upon his client as well as filing with the Court within the 30 day statutory period. 

 The Town Justice attempted to argue that the client “should have” received the Supporting Deposition. However, Mr. Corletta, after writing a letter to the Court requesting dismissal, insisted he did not, and pointed to a box on the ticket itself, which indicated the Trooper had not issued a Supporting Deposition at the time the ticket was issued, which is usually the case in Speeding cases, as the Supporting Deposition is generated by a computer terminal in the Trooper's car. In non-speeding cases, this does not always happen, due to the facts required to make out the charge, which require further input from the Trooper. 

 Once the Town Justice was aware Mr. Corletta was familiar with how Supporting Depositions were issued, he stated that although he disagreed, he would dismiss the ticket anyway.

 This was the first such situation Mr. Corletta had where a Town Justice actually agreed to dismiss a ticket over the telephone. Mr. Corletta’s action in contacting the Court and advising them of this situation saved his client a 2½ hour drive to a Court over 200 miles away.

People v. Tyler
Recently, the Court of Appeals held, in People v. Tyler 1 NY3d 493, that the measurement of the 30-day period for service of a Supporting Deposition requested by the driver runs from the date Defendant's request is received by the Court, even if the request is made prior to the driver's first appearance date in Court. This vindicated a long-standing position argued by our law office in traffic cases, which was adopted in several unpublished decisions by local town Justices, but denied by others, who disregarded the clear language of the statute, as pointed out by the Court of Appeals.

People v. M.
More recently, Mr. Corletta utilized his knowledge of the factual sufficiency requirements for Supporting Depositions to obtain twin dismissals, with the Prosecution's consent, in 2 Ontario County cases. In People v. M. and People v. M. (12/08/04), each defendant was charged with engaging in an Unauthorized Speed Contest with the other. The Supporting Depositions were identical, and failed to sufficiently allege, by factual allegations, the elements of that offense, which is a misdemeanor. The State Trooper used a Supporting Deposition primarily designed for regular speeding cases. Mr. Corletta filed and served a written Motion to Dismiss. The People did not respond, and consented to dismissal.

People v. P.
Mr. Corletta again utilized his overall knowledge of criminal law to obtain an unusual "interests of justice" dismissal in a Suspended License case. In People v. P. (4/18/05), Chili Town Justice Patrick Pietropaoli dismissed a Suspended License charge against Mr. Corletta's client due to an error made by another judge in failing to inform the client of a mandatory license suspension hearing. When Mr. Corletta's client failed to appear for that hearing, his license was suspended. He subsequently drove without knowledge of the suspension, was stopped, and arrested. Mr. Corletta pointed out the Court's error, and obtained a letter from the Judge acknowledging the error. This resulted in the dismissal of the charges and restoration of his client's license.

In the same Court, only a month later, Mr. Corletta obtained a dismissal of another suspended license charge from the same judge, without opposition from the People, based upon insufficiency of the accusatory instrument (People v. P. 5/16/05). Mr. Corletta has obtained dozens of such dismissals, too numerous to list, because the same defects keep appearing in accusatory instruments charging this offense. Further, a recent decision from the Appellate Division Fourth Department, in People v. Pacer 2005 WL 1377605(6/15/05) has made it virtually impossible to prove notice in suspended license cases, vindicating a position Mr. Corletta has argued for years.

People v. M.R
Contesting even a small case can pay off. In People v. M.R. (Canandaigua Town Ct., 2/4/06), Mr. Corletta tried a speeding ticket to the Court. Even this small matter took approximately 2 hours. Citing a little-known section of the law prohibiting Courts from taking judicial notice of speed limits, Mr. Corletta pointed out a key defect in the People's proof.
US Flag standing tall outside of a courthouse
People v. T.D.
Mr. Corletta again demonstrated his persistence in People v. T.D.(Justice Ct., 3/20/05). In that case, Mr. Corletta made a timely request for a Supporting Deposition. The Supporting Deposition was erroneously mailed directly to his client, and no proof of service was filed. Mr. Corletta objected, pointing to the language of CPL ss100.25(2), which states that a Supporting Deposition must be served on Defendant's attorney, if he has one, and moved to dismiss the charge. The Court initially denied the motion. Mr. Corletta however, persisted, pointing to the language of the statute and repeatedly challenging the Court and District Attorney to provide legal authority for their position. The Court finally took a recess and checked the law. Upon retaking the bench, the Court reversed itself and granted Mr. Corletta's motion, dismissing the charge, because it is well established that a Supporting Deposition must be served upon a Defendant's representative, if he has one, since that is the purpose of obtaining counsel.
 
People v. T.B.
Mr. Corletta again demonstrated his extensive knowledge of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law in a suspended license case in People v. T.B. (Irondequoit Town Ct., 10/2/08). In that case, Mr. Corletta's client was charged with driving with a suspended and revoked Driver License. Attacking the accusatory instrument, Mr. Corletta pointed out several defects, and pointed out the differences in accusatory instruments charging this offense, and the legal requirements for each accusatory charging instrument. Under colloquy by the Judge, Mr. Corletta explained how the offense could be properly charged in the accusatory instrument, and how the accusatory instrument failed to do it. The Court agreed stating Mr. Corletta had the "correct analysis," and dismissed the charge against Mr. Corletta's client, which could have resulted in a misdemeanor conviction and a substantial fine.

People v. J.M.
Despite the resistance of a local Town Justice, Mr. Corletta was successful in restoring his 64 year-old bus driver client's license in People v. J.M. (Macedon Town Ct., January 15, 2008). In that case, Mr. Corletta's client pled guilty, without counsel, to Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident, formerly a mere 3-point violation. Mr. Corletta's client was advised of this fact by the Town Justice and assessed a fine when he pled. Mr. Corletta's client did not have an attorney at the time. Little did the client know, as a Commercial Driver License holder, that pursuant to recent legislation results in a 1-year revocation of the Commercial Driver License, without any opportunity for a Restricted Use License. Mr. Corletta acting quickly, immediately brought a "Coram Nobis" Motion and was able to persuade him to vacate his client's conviction.

People v. W.G.
Mr. Corletta helped an unfortunate out-of-state truck driver who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario County in People v. W.G. (Farmington Town Ct., 2/5/08). In that case, Mr. Corletta's client was charged with running a red light and a misdemeanor "logbook" violation. The client resides in North Carolina. Focusing on 2 form Supporting Depositions containing insufficient facts, Mr. Corletta attacked the sufficiency of the factual allegations supporting the misdemeanor logbook charge and the red light charge. The arresting deputy did not see the alleged motor vehicle accident and set forth insufficient facts in both Supporting Depositions. Mr. Corletta successfully argued that even under the relaxed factual standard for Supporting Depositions, the deputy's mere insertion of information on a form usually used for Speeding violations was insufficient. Prosecution-oriented Farmington Town Court agreed, dismissing both charges, thereby saving the truck driver a costly trip to New York to defend these charges.

Make the smart choice on your full-service law office: 585-546-5072 
Share by: