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People v Stanley

City Court of New York, Albany

April 20, 2020, Decided

CR-637-20

Opinion

Thomas Marcelle, J.

Defendants George Fuller, Bahkee Green, Kenneth Foster, Zaquan Woody, Edward Proper and Lee Williams were arraigned on various felonies and remanded to the Albany County Jail without bail and have remained incarcerated since their arraignments. 1 Defendants Taequan Stanley, Defendant Hassan Guishard and Ray-Son Butler likewise were arraigned on various felony charges and bail was set. These three defendants were unable to make bail and have remained incarcerated [*2]  since their arraignments. 2 Normally, when a defendant is charged with a felony and sent to jail, a judge must set a preliminary hearing, depending on the circumstances, either within one hundred twenty or one hundred forty-four hours from the time of arrest (CPL 180.80). In this way, the defendants can test whether the People have real and sufficient evidence to justify their continued detention pending action of the grand jury—but these are not normal times.

On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202, which declared a state disaster emergency in connection with the novel coronavirus COVID-19. 3 Two  [**2] weeks later on March 20, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.8, which temporarily suspended a number of statutory provisions. In particular, Executive Order 202.8 temporarily suspended "any specific time limit for the commencement ... of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the criminal procedure law." This Order was set to expire on April 19.

An initial question arose; did Executive Order 202.8 apply to preliminary hearings. This court held that it did (see  [*3] People v. Hemmingway, [Albany City Ct, Index No. CR 626-20] [finding that "[CPL 180.80] falls squarely within th[e] Executive Order's plain language"]). Consequently, the court set preliminary hearings for the defendants within one hundred twenty hours after the expiration of Executive Order 202.8. Thus, all defendants had hearings scheduled for the week of April 20.

Subsequent to the court setting the preliminary hearings, the Governor issued a new executive order (Executive Order 202.14). This new Order extended the suspension of preliminary hearings through May 7. Overlaying the Governor's orders, are administrative orders issued by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks. On March 22, Judge Marks issued an administrative order (AO/78/20) limiting criminal courts to five essential functions; conducting a preliminary hearing was not one of them. Thereafter, on April 13, Judge Marks expanded his Order which allowed certain routine criminal and civil matters to be remotely heard and decided. However, nothing changed that would permit a city court to conduct a preliminary hearing under CPL 180.60.

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2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1476 *; 2020 NY Slip Op 20088 **

 [**1]  People of the State of New York -Against- against Taequan Stanley George Fuller Bahkee Green Kenneth Foster Lee Williams Ray-Son Butler Zaquan Woody Edward Proper Hassan Rashee Guishard. Index No.: CR-637-20

Notice: THE LEXIS PAGINATION OF THIS DOCUMENT IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING RELEASE OF THE FINAL PUBLISHED VERSION.

 THIS OPINION IS UNCORRECTED AND SUBJECT TO REVISION BEFORE PUBLICATION IN THE PRINTED OFFICIAL REPORTS.

CORE TERMS

preliminary hearing, executive order, courts, substantive due process, due process, defendants', incarcerated, adjournment, bail