Judge Kate Paek

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MTA bus driver Weckworth, charged with violating the right of way of pedestrians and bicyclists and causing physical injury under Administrative Code §19-190(b), and failing to exercise due care while driving, causing serious physical injury under Vehicle & Traffic Law §1146(c)(1), moved for dismissal of the information arguing the statutes were unconstitutional, among other things. Weckworth struck a pedestrian in the crosswalk with the right of way. He argued §19-190 was unconstitutional as it used a mens rea standard of ordinary civil negligence to establish criminal liability. The court found §19-190 was not a strict liability statute, noting New York City previously entered into a stipulation that §19-190(a) and (b) did not create strict liability as the failure to exercise due care element in §19-190(c) applied to both (a) and (b). It stated it was improper to apply a civil negligence standard to the criminal offense defined in §19-190(b), reading the “due care” element as it applied to subsection (b) when it was enforced in Criminal Court as incorporating the standard of criminal negligence, as required within Penal Law §15.05(4). Hence, Weckworth’s constitutional challenge to the mens rea standard in the statute was denied.