Attest To The Arraignment Process
Arrest to Arraignment Process
Although the penal law and criminal procedure law in New York State is uniform each county has it’s own unique procedures. There are both formal procedures, and informal procedures. The criminal lawyers at Spodek Law Group P.C. have been representing individuals in the criminal courts of New York City for over 36 years. This article will walk you through the arrest to arraignment process in New York City
Often times a NYPD police officer will make an arrest based on the observation of criminal conduct. In this scenario, the police officer has basically two options as to how to process the new arrest. Unfortunately, both options involve the individual being brought to the NYPD station for processing. The first option is for the NYPD to process the individual and then bring them directly to central booking for arraignment. The second option is for the NYPD police officer to issue a desk appearance ticket.
At the NYPD precinct, an individual will generally be placed in a holding cell with other prisoners who are going through the same process. It is at this critical juncture, that you want your NY criminal lawyer to be in touch with the assigned detective or arresting officer. A NY criminal attorney will immediately assert your right to remain silent, and demand that he or she be present for any line up procedures.
It is also at the initial precinct, in which a criminal lawyer or a family member or friend can obtain the arrest number. The arrest number is the unique number which is used the track someone through the criminal justice system.
NYC Arrest Numbers
The arrest number will correspond with the borough in which the individual was arrested in.
Manhattan Arrest Numbers starts with a M, and will be in this format: M123456
Brooklyn Arrest Numbers start with a K (for King’s County) and will be in this format: K123456
Bronx Arrest Numbers start with a B and will be in this format: B123456
Staten Island Arrest Numbers start with a R (for Richmond County) and will be in this format: R123456
Queens Arrest Numbers start with Q and will be in this format: Q123456
The initial arrest is the first in a series of events prior to the arraignment. From the moment an individual is arrested, until the moment they are arraigned the process usually takes 24 hours. Depending on certain factors, the arraignment can be expedited to a shorter period. However, it can also be greater than 24 hours.
Once at the NYPD precinct, the Police Officer must start the arrest processing. This is the taking of the individuals fingerprints and photographs as well as obtaining the individuals personal information. The personal information is referred to as the pedigree information. That is usually the name, date of birth, home address for an individual. The next step is the litany of mandatory police paperwork that needs to be filled out for each new arrest.
Early Case Assessment Bureau (“ECAB”)
Once the arresting police officer has finished filling out all of the necessary paperwork, he or she will then send the file to the local district attorneys officer for arraignment processing. Each borough in New York, has their own district attorneys office and central booking. At each district attorneys office is the early case assessment bureau which is where new cases are filed. Once the Police file is filed with ECAB, an assigned district attorney will review the file to determine whether criminal charges will be brought (if so, what charges) or whether the district attorney’s office will decline to prosecute the case. This is commonly referred to as DP’ing the case.
If the district attorney’s office decides to take the criminal case, they will need to prepare various paperwork for the arraignment. This will include the criminal complaint, the RAP (record of arrests and prosecution) sheet, statement notice, identification notice, grand jury notice, wiggins letter, orders of protection, various waivers and other legal forms. In certain counties, the district attorneys office will assemble the full file in others they will transfer it to the Police Department’s room where the defendants RAP sheet will be and the file will be assembled there. Once this is completed, the file will be transferred to the arraignment clerks office.
This a critical step in the arrest to arraignment process because once the file reaches out the arraignment clerk’s office is assigned a docket number. A docket number identifies the case as being on the courts criminal calendar for arraignments. The docket number will start with the year and the county abbreviations. This is also when the clerk’s office notifies central booking to move the inmate upstairs to the pens adjacent to the arraignment court. At this point, the defendant will have an opportunity to speak to his or her criminal lawyer. The sooner a criminal lawyer has the chance to interview his or her client, the sooner he will be prepared to make a compelling argument to the judge why the client should be released on his her own recognizance without any bail. Think about it, a public defendant starts working on the case moments before the arraignment. Whereas, a private criminal lawyer has a chance to start working on the case moments after the arrest. By the time the arraignment comes along, the lawyer can be well prepared for smooth arraignment.
Criminal Justice Agency (“CJA”) Interview
At some point once a defendant is at central booking they will be interviewed by the CJA regarding their ties to the community. The purpose of this interview is to provide the arraignment Judge with a neutral understanding of the defendant ties to the community.
The CJA representative will need to answer the following eight questions:
- Has the defendant lived at their current address for 1.5 years or more?
- Do the defendant live with a parent, spouse, common law spouse of six months, grandparent or legal guardian?
- Does the defendant have a working telephone in the residence or cell phone?
- Does the defendant report a NYC working address?
- Is the defendant employed, or in school or training program, full time?
- Does the defendant expect someone at arraignment?
- Does prior warrant equal zero?
- Does open cases equal zero?
Criminal Court Arraignment
In the arraignment courtroom, there are few critical players. There are the court officers, the district attorneys office, the Judge, and the criminal defense lawyer. Everyone has a specific role to play and specific duties to accomplish. Once the case is ready to be called, the bridge officer who is the court officer who stands between the arraignment Judge and the area in which the defendant, assistant district attorney and the defense attorney stands hands the file to the arraignment Judge and call’s it into the record. The bridge officer will announce the name of the case into the record. Everything that is said or done in the courtroom will be transcribed by the court stenographer into the official court record.
In New York City, a criminal defense is allowed by law to a formal reading of the charges lodged against him. However, due to the sheer amount of arrests being processed by NYC Central Booking defense attorney waive the readings but not the underlying rights.
The district attorney who is standing up for arraignment purposes will provide the Judge a brief factual summary of the criminal charges and then make a request for bail, or consent to the defendant release. The defense attorney will then have the opportunity to make the case why there should be no bail or why the defendant should be released on his or her own recognizance.