People v. Vaccaro

BRONX COUNTY
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Richard Lee Price

Vaccaro moved to dismiss the accusatory instruments, arguing prosecutors failed to effectuate a proper reduction of charges. He claimed such failure entitled him to a jury trial. Vaccaro was charged in two separate indictments with assault and menacing, among other things. The court began a non-jury trial mistakenly believing prosecutors previously moved to reduce the assault and criminal contempt charges. Prosecutors moved to reduce, but defense counsel moved for dismissal, arguing same was precluded as double jeopardy already attached. The court noted as the first witness was sworn in, double jeopardy attached, but questioned if this precluded prosecutors from subsequently moving to reduce the class A misdemeanors to class B. It concluded it did not, ruling prosecutors committed a procedural error, thus defendant's motion sought to terminate the case solely on procedural grounds, not on a determination of his guilt or innocence. As such, Vaccaro suffered no cognizable injury, and his right against double jeopardy was not abrogated. Accordingly, the court ruled Vaccaro was not entitled to dismissal, and prosecutors' application to reduce was proper.

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