Judge Brian Herman

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Lindsay was charged in an accusatory instrument with violation of Vehicle & Traffic Law §511.01 and issued an appearance ticket, but failed to appear. She was returned on a warrant and arraigned on the charge, pleading not guilty. At the next court appearance prosecutors announced they were “declining to prosecute” the matter and defense counsel orally moved for dismissal in the interest of justice, citing People v. Beckman in support of the motion. The Court of Appeals in People v. Douglass held the court did not have authority to dismiss charges without specific statutory authority, stating, “courts were only granted a veto power against a prosecutor’s decision to discontinue a criminal proceeding, not a positive power to compel a discontinuance.” The court found Beckman apposite to Douglass, rejecting the holding—a court would abuse its discretion by forcing further prosecution absent a shown basis that in declining to prosecute a charge prosecutors were derelict in their duty via misconduct or fraud—and following that of Douglass. It concluded it lacked legal authority to dismiss the accusatory instrument after it was filed with the court. Yet, it granted defense leave to renew the motion to dismiss on grounds enumerated in the CPL.