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Case Name Trowbridge v. Cuomo CJ-NY-0012
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-03455 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On May 10, 2016, four individuals who were arrested in the Bronx for low-level misdemeanors filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the State of New York's Unified Court Systems for failure to provide the constitutionally guaranteed ... read more >
On May 10, 2016, four individuals who were arrested in the Bronx for low-level misdemeanors filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the State of New York's Unified Court Systems for failure to provide the constitutionally guaranteed rights to a speedy trial and due process. The plaintiffs sought class certification for people similarly affected by the structural and systemic court delays in the Bronx Criminal Court.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that the Bronx Criminal Court’s inordinate delays violated the plaintiffs’ Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments as well as New York state’s criminal procedure laws, which require prosecutors to be ready for trial within 90, 60, or 30 days of the commencement of a criminal action depending on the category of misdemeanors. According to the complaint, although there were over 45,000 misdemeanor arraignments in 2015, only 98 went on trial. Further, the few people who managed to exercise their right to trial wait on average 642 days for nonjury and 827 for a jury trial, and many people ended up taking plea bargains and giving up their right to a trial because of the Bronx Criminal Court’s overall dysfunctional administration.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Bronx Defenders and private counsel, sought declaratory and equitable relief. The case was assigned to District Judge George B. Daniels and Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.

On June 30, 206, the State moved to dismiss because none of the four plaintiffs had cases pending in Bronx Criminal Court and thus lacked standing to sue. The State further argued that the Court should abstain from reviewing the case since the plaintiffs’ claims involved the state judiciary, and that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim. On December 22, 2016, Judge Daniels granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss. First, the Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the case for lack of standing and also dismissed Governor Cuomo as a defendant. But the Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss on abstention grounds because the judge could contemplate granting declaratory and injunctive relief that would not necessarily interfere with or restructure the state court’s lawful authority. The Court also rejected the argument that plaintiffs had failed to state a claim after it found that one of the plaintiffs waited 877 days between his arraignment and a final resolution. The Court allowed plaintiffs to submit an amended complaint.

On January 23, 2017, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. On March 8, 2017, the parties met with Judge George B. Daniels and interim pretrial conference was scheduled, and the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, which is currently pending.

This case is ongoing.

MJ Koo - 03/27/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Courts
Disparate Impact
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Funding
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Pattern or Practice
Timeliness of case assignment
Wait lists
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) State of New York
Plaintiff Description The Bronx Defenders and several persons seeking misdemeanor trials in the Bronx
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
Date: Aug. 11, 2014
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:16-cv-03455-GBD (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-NY-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Complaint [ECF# 30]
CJ-NY-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Opposition of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 33]
CJ-NY-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Decision and Order [ECF# 39] (2016 WL 7489098) (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/21/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 41]
CJ-NY-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Daniels, George B. (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0012-0002 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brinckerhoff, Matthew D. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Brown, Jennifer Kay (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Lee, Gary S. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Levy, Scott Duffield (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Lieb, Douglas E. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Maazel, Ilann M. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Newton, James A. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Smithline, Ruti (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Steinberg, Johanna B. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Viggiani, Katie L. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0001 | CJ-NY-0012-0003 | CJ-NY-0012-0005 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lambert, Michelle R. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0004 | CJ-NY-0012-9000
Schneiderman, Eric T. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0004
Wright, Alissa S. (New York)
CJ-NY-0012-0004 | CJ-NY-0012-9000

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