People v. Matos-Mesa

Criminal Practice

, New York Law Journal


Justice Troy K. Webber

Matos-Mesa moved for dismissal of the indictment arguing the grand jury proceedings were defective. He alleged the prosecutor prevented the grand jury from conducting a proper investigation by failing to notify them of a defense witness, among other things. Defense argued the prosecutor's actions substantially impaired the integrity of the proceedings and prejudiced Matos-Mesa. The court ordered a hearing and the court noted many of the issues stemmed from defense counsel's own failure to be more specific in his request that defense witness Perez's testimony be proffered before the grand jury. However, it found the record was clear the defense wished for Perez's testimony to be offered to the grand jury as her name was given to the prosecutor shortly after defendant's arraignment, and follow-up inquiries were made if she was interviewed and would testify. The court stated only the grand jury had discretion to admit or reject a defense witness, and as the prosecutor did not know the specifics of Perez's testimony, he could have told the grand jurors that the defense sought for her testimony to be heard, leaving the decision of whether to hear it or not in their hands. Yet, it ruled dismissal of all charges was unwarranted, dismissing only the attempted assault counts.

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