In response to Petitioner's supplemental omnibus motion/motion to reargue and reconsider, seeking, among other things, a court order dismissing the remaining counts of the indictment for lack of jurisdiction, Warren County Court held that Warren County was the proper geographical jurisdiction for the retrial of the four remaining counts. Warren County Court subsequently dismissed the count of falsifying business records in the first degree for insufficient evidence.
Petitioner then commenced a CPLR Article 78 proceeding in the Appellate Division seeking a writ of prohibition*to enjoin the prosecution of the three grand larceny counts in Warren County Court. The Warren County District Attorney [DA], in rebuttal, contended, "prohibition does not properly lie as other remedies are available, and that 'particular effect jurisdiction'** was demonstrated by the negative impact of Petitioner's conduct on the availability of emergency medical care in Warren County."
The Appellate Division opined that for "particular effect jurisdiction" to attach under the circumstances underlying this action, the DA was required to establish not only that Petitioner's alleged conduct had a materially harmful impact to the well-being of the Warren County community as a whole, but also that Petitioner intended his conduct to have such an impact, citing People v Fea, 47 NY2d 70.
Noting the decision of the Court of Appeals in People v Ribowsky, 77 NY2d 284, the Appellate Division observed that "[a] defendant has the right at common law and under the State Constitution to be tried in the county where the crime was committed unless the Legislature has provided otherwise". Further, said the Appellate Division, "The burden is on the People to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the county where the crime is [being] prosecuted is the proper venue because either the crime was committed there or one of the statutory exceptions is applicable".
Finding that the DA had offered no proof of such intent on the part of Petitioner and had failed to establish that Plaintiff's alleged theft of money in the amount of $3,900 from EMS*** caused such a "materially harmful impact upon the governmental processes or community welfare" of Warren County to justify the extraordinary exercise of "particular effect jurisdiction", the Appellate Division granted Plaintiff's motion seeking the writ of prohibition.
* A writ of prohibition is a written order by a higher court to a lower court typically forbidding the lower court from taking further action in a case then pending before it.
** See §20.10(4) of the Criminal Procedures Law.
*** Described by the Appellate Division as "a nongovernmental entity serving one town within Warren County".
Click HEREto access the Appellate Division's decision.