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New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL
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Appellate Division Backs Judge Blumenfeld

Refuses to Grant Queens District Attorney’s Article 78

NYSACDL Amicus Brief Submitted in Support of Judge Blumenfeld

 

The Appellate Division, Second Department, issued a ruling on October 4, 2011 denying the Queens District Attorney’s request for relief under Artilce 78. At issue is whether Judge Blumenfeld should be prohibited from considering ethical implications of the Queens District Attorney’s Office’s practice of interviewing an arrestee after booking but before arraignment.

 

Under the Program, an arrestee awaiting arraignment on felony charges is brought into the Queens DA’s interview room at Central Booking. The arrestee is given the opportunity to “explain” what he did, to provide an alibi if any, or to give any other relevant information. The arrestee is also given the option to forego the whole process and move on to be arraigned without delay. In the case at issue, People v. Perez, Ind. No. 1202/09, the defendant made a video taped statement. Defense counsel moved to suppress challenging, inter alia, the voluntariness of the video statement. At a suppresssion hearing, Judge Blumenfeld raised concerns with the ethics of the practice and sought opinions from outside ethics experts including Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky, adjunct professor at Cardozo Law School.

 

Determining that the question of whether the practice violates the Rules of Professional Conduct is relevant to the voluntariness issue before Judge Blumenfeld, the Appellate Division denied the DA’s request for prohibition.

 

Thus, the matter returns to Judge Blumenfled to determine whether the Assistant District Attorneys conducting these interviews violate ethical rules and if so, whether that improper conduct undermines the “voluntariness” of any statement obtained from the defendant.

 

Matter of Brown v Blumenfeld (2011 NY Slip Op 07039)

Read NYSACDL’s Amicus Brief