Mineola, NY

The Truth is Out There – WAY Out There ! !

JUSTICE FOR SAL


WHAT CONSTITUTES A SPEEDY TRIAL ???

The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution states:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

There are truly criminal deeds like murder, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and the like.  And if you commit one of these deeds and get arrested, you’ll spend time in jail until your trial – unless you make bail or post bond.  According to Article 30 of the NYS Criminal Procedure Law (Timeliness of Prosecutions and Speedy Trial), prosecution for Class A felonies, 1st degree rape, sexual assault etc can be commenced at any time.  So you can be sitting in the clink for a good long while awaiting trial if there’s a serious backlog and you’ve been denied bail or don’t have the money to pay it.

But what about trials for petty offenses and misdemeanors?   Say a Building Code Violation?  Well §30.10 of the CPL addresses those as well.  Prosecution for a petty offense must be commenced within one year of  “the commission thereof” while prosecution for a misdemeanor must be commenced within two years of  “the commission thereof.”  That gives a certain amount of flexibility to the variety of jurisdictions in New York State some of which are fairly small whereas others, like NYC are fairly large.

One might expect that in a Village such as Mineola having fewer than 20,000 residents (a number of whom are children and not likely to be involved in petty crimes and misdemeanors) it wouldn’t be that hard to obtain a speedy trial for something like an alleged parking violation, or for having illegal tenants living at your property, or for having a non-drivable car parked in your driveway.  Most people who receive summonses in this Village for parking or Building Code violations don’t fight them.  They pay them outright or go to conference to strike a plea deal.  So when we have an individual who answers his court summons and demands a trial for a Building Code violation, doesn’t it strike you as odd that FIVE MONTHS after the fact he still has not been given a court date?  In this dinky little village?  Well if you’ve lived in Mineola long enough, nothing should surprise you.  But yet it does.

Such is the situation for Sal Cataldo.  The man is over 80 years old, and is a Korean War veteran who is very active in veteran and community affairs.  He’s also a Village taxpayer, and a pistol to boot.  Mr. Cataldo was issued a Notice of Violation early in the year, went to the Village’s Justice Court and filed a plea of “Not Guilty” and requested that the matter go to trial.  And he’s waiting.  And waiting. . . . .  At least he’s not sitting in a jail cell.

Maybe the “Powers That Be” at 155 Washington Avenue figure if they can just stick it out, Sal will die first.  That doesn’t surprise me either.  I’ve lived in this Village long enough.

Are you on Facebook?  Join the group Justice For Sal and tell the Village Administration to get this show on the road!


				
                

August 4, 2011 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Mineola NY, Nassau County, NYCLU | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment