Right to Speedy Trial for Traffic Violations in New York

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PEOPLE v. THORPE, 160 Misc.2d 558 (1994)

613 N.Y.S.2d 795

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, Respondent, v. WILLIAM THORPE,

Appellant

Supreme Court, Appellate Term, Second Department

March 14, 1994

Appeal from the Justice Court of the Town of Goshen, Orange County, Richard S. Gillette, J.

William Thorpe, appellant pro se.

Francis D. Phillips II, District Attorney of Orange County, Goshen (John Goldsmith of counsel), for respondent.
Page 559

MEMORANDUM.

Judgment of conviction reversed on the law and facts and as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice, fine and surcharge remitted and simplified traffic information dismissed.

In answer to the defendant's assertion in his affidavit of errors that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated, the return of the court merely asserted that the right to a speedy trial did not apply to a traffic infraction. This assertion is incorrect, since the constitutional right to a speedy trial applies to all prosecutions (People v Wertheimer, NYLJ, June 5, 1986, at 15, col 5 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists]). Although a constitutional speedy trial claim is not waived by a guilty plea, it must be asserted in the court below in order to preserve the issue for appellate review as a matter of law (People v Jordan, 62 N.Y.2d 825; People v Blakely, 34 N.Y.2d 311). In view of the failure of the return to give any factual data regarding defendant's claim, it cannot be known for certain whether defendant made any motion to dismiss on this ground. Even it he did not, however, it is our opinion, in view of his pro se status, that the matter should be reviewed in the interests of justice (CPL 170.40; People v Williams, 151 A.D.2d 795, lv denied 76 N.Y.2d 744; People v Walker, 141 A.D.2d 991, 992, lv denied 72 N.Y.2d 962). In doing so, we conclude that an unexplained delay of over two years in bringing a simple traffic infraction to trial warrants dismissal (see, People v...
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