skip navigation


liibulletin-ny

People v. Coppez, 1999 N.Y. Int. 0064 (May 4, 1999).

CRIMINAL LAW - BAIL JUMPING - GRACE PERIOD


ISSUE & DISPOSITION

Issue

Whether the 30-day grace period applicable in bail jumping situations runs from an appearance date that is adjourned to a later date before that first date has passed.

Disposition

No. The grace period runs from the later date set following the stay.

SUMMARY

After being released on bail, David Coppez did not appear in court on an assault charge on May 31, 1996, as scheduled. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest, but stayed its issuance until June 11. Coppez was brought before the court on July 5. He argued that this was within the Penal Law's 30-day grace period that allows a defendant to avoid a bail-jumping charge if he appears in court, voluntarily or not, before the period expires. Coppez calculated the 30-day grace period based on his failure to appear on June 11. In charging Coppez with bail jumping, the prosecution said the 30-day period began on May 31, when he first failed to appear.

After initially denying Coppez's motion to dismiss the case, New York County Supreme Court Justice Marcy Kahn granted reargument and, upon reargument, granted Coppez's motion to dismiss. The Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed, stating that by adjourning the required date of appearance to June 11, the court provided Coppez an additional 30-day time period within which to appear in order to avoid the consequences of a bail jumping charge.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office asked the Court of Appeals to reverse the order of the Appellate Division and reinstate the bail jumping charge, arguing that "a scheduled court date for defendant's case did not retroactively cease to be a 'required date' for the purposes of the bail jumping statute merely because, after defendant had already failed to appear, the calendar court stayed defendant's arrest warrant and adjourned the case...".

The Court of Appeals affirmed. It concluded that the Defendant's nonappearance on May 31, 1996, being excused by a judicial stay before the passage of the date in question, was not a failure to appear on a "required date" within the meaning of the bail jumping statute (Penal Law § 215.56).