The Importance of 911 calls in criminal cases
In any criminal case, it is imperative of the Defense to review all of the evidence that might be used against the defendant. This is the only way for the Defense to analyze the case, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of the particular case. It is the analysis of the evidence, that will determine what issues are brought up at hearings, and at trial.
One area of evidence that arises in criminal cases is the New York Police Department (“NYPD”) radio calls to their command, and back which are called “Radio Runs”. There are also the 911 calls from eye witnesses to the crime, or who just call in to report suspicious activity. There are also the Sprint Reports. SPRINT stands for Special Police Radio Inquiry Network. The SPRINT report, or SPRINT printout will summarize calls. It will summarize the calls from the Police Officer and the Police Department operator, as well as 911 calls.
Criminal Procedure Law (“CPL”) Article 240 governs Discovery Demands of the Defendant. The law details the particular items which the defendant and his is entitled to by law. To obtain Radio Runs/Call, 911 Calls, Sprint Tapes there are a few options:
CPL 240.20(1)(g) states: Any _tapes or other electronic recordings_ which the prosecutor intends to introduce at trial, irrespective of whether such recording was made during the course of the criminal transaction.
Under CPL 240.20(1)(g), the defendant is entitled to receive the materials by just filing of a discovery demand. The defendant is entitled to copies of the material. Generally, the proper procedure is for the *New York Criminal Defense Attorney (www.storobinspodek.com/practices_criminaldefense.php)* to send a letter with a blank CD to the Assigned District Attorney (“ADA”) for the case requesting copies. If the ADA refuses or is just not cooperative in providing the defense with the material then the Defense Lawyer can make a Motion under CPL 240.40(1)(a). Under both of these avenues it is the defense that has to take some affirmative action to obtain the materials.
CPL 240.40(1)(a) states: Upon Motion of a defendant, against whom an indictment, superior court information, prosecutor’s information, information, or simplified information charging a misdemeanor is pending, the Court in which the accusatory instrument is pending:
*Must order discovery as to _any_ material not disclosed upon a demand pursuant to CPL 240.20, if it finds that the prosecutors refusal to disclose such material is not justified.
Another option for *New York criminal lawyer (http://www.newyorkcriminallawyers.org/)* is to issue a _subpoena duces tecum_ requesting the material. The defense requests that a sitting Judge in Criminal Court or Supreme Court, Criminal Term sign a prepared Subpoena. A Subpoena Duces Tecum directed at a government agency has to be signed by a Judge. The subpoena will alert the agency that disobedience of a subpoena will be punishable by fine and or imprisonment.
The prosecution also has an independent duty to turn over to the defense, prior to any hearing or trial, any written or _recorded_ statement in its possession, made by a witness it intends to call. This is referred to as the _Rosario_ rule. Under the Rosario rule, and CPL 240.44(1) for hearings, and CPL 240.45(1) for trials, the defense does not need to take any action to receive this material unless it wants the material before the hearing or trial.
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