An appeals court has reversed a trial judge’s decision to dismiss an indictment in the interests of justice against a woman for improperly collecting $6,551 in unemployment benefits while she was employed. The Appellate Division, Third Department, in People v. Banks, 104830, found that Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda (See Profile) failed to both dismiss the indictment within the customary period for such actions and to properly explain how the prosecution or conviction of defendant Icelee Banks would “constitute or result in injustice.”
“There is nothing in the record before us that marks the prosecution of this defendant as extraordinary or one ‘which cries out for justice beyond the confines of conventional considerations,’” Justice E. Michael Kavanagh (See Profile) wrote for the court, quoting People v. Schellenbach, 67 AD3d 712 (2009). “Therefore, we find that County Court improvidently exercised its discretion in granting the motion and dismissing the indictment.”
Sullivan County prosecutors had appealed LaBuda’s Jan. 5, 2012, decision to dismiss the indictment of Banks on one count of third-degree grand larceny and 16 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Prosecutors contended LaBuda dismissed the indictment past the 45-day period after arraignment set in CPL 210.40 for judges to invoke their interest-of-justice powers.
The panel ruled that Banks failed to show why the defense made the request of LaBuda to dismiss the indictment past the 45-day deadline and concluded that “the motion should have been denied” on that basis as well. Justices Robert Rose (See Profile), John Lahtinen (See Profile), Edward Spain (See Profile) and William McCarthy (See Profile) joined in the ruling.