State v. Davis

13 N.Y.3d 17 (2009)


A police officer had observed D in Brooklyn's Betsy Head Park at 2:06 A.M., on December 15, 2005, despite the fact that a park sign stated a closing time of 9:00 P.M. This was a violation of Parks Department rule 1-03 (c)(2) and was punishable as a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for which is 90 days' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. On February 16, 2006, D--represented by counsel--was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Contained in D's Criminal Court file is a form entitled 'CONSENT TO ADJUDICATION BEFORE A JUDICIAL HEARING OFFICER (JHO).' Although the form explained that defendant's case was being referred to a JHO for 'trial and/or final disposition and sentence,' it explicitly stated that D had 'the right to adjudicate this case before a Criminal Court judge.' The form listed the scope of the JHO's authority as derived from CPL 350.20. Thus, it stated that the JHO will determine all questions of law; act as the exclusive trier of all issues of fact; render a verdict, and impose a sentence if required. The JHO had the same powers as a Criminal Court judge and any action taken by the JHO shall be deemed the action of the Criminal Court.' D would have the right to seek an appeal in the same manner as he would had it been tried by a Criminal Court judge. Above the signature line, the form clarified that by signing this form, D would consent to having his case adjudicated before a JHO. D signed the JHO consent form. The JHO tried D who was represented by counsel and convicted and sentenced D to a $75 fine or 10 days in jail. Approximately nine months later, D was resentenced to time served. The Appellate Term affirmed in that D had given a valid consent to JHO adjudication that was supported by his counsel's participation--without objection--in D's trial before a JHO. D appealed.