People v. Bay


Issue before the Court: Was the prosecution’s original Certificate of Compliance (CoC) invalid
such that C.P.L. § 30.30 speedy trial time had run?

Held: Yes, the prosecution did not establish due diligence to excuse their failure to provide
mandated discovery so the charge had to be dismissed under the 2019 discovery reforms.

Discussion: Bay was charged with second-degree harassment, giving the prosecution 30 days to
be ready. Within 30 days, the prosecution provided discovery and filed a CoC. Bay inquired
about a 911 call and a Domestic Incident Report (DIR), which had not been turned over, and
subsequently followed up about those items, which the prosecution continued to claim didn’t
exist. A week before trial, the prosecution produces the 911 call and DIR. Counsel immediately
files a 30.30 dismissal motion asserting that the CoC was illusory and ineffective in stopping the
speedy trial clock.

The prosecution asserts that it acted reasonably and in good faith. The trial court precludes the
911 call as a sanction for the discovery violation but, finding no prejudice to the defense, does
not dismiss under 30.30.

The Court of Appeals – in a unanimous opinion! – concludes that the plain reading of the
discovery statute requires reversal. The 2019 discovery rules require automatic disclosure of 21
enumerated categories of material (C.P.L. § 245.20(1)) and then the filing of a CoC. To
“incentivize the People’s compliance,” the legislature tied discovery obligation to speedy trial

Under those reforms, a statement of readiness for 30.30 purposes is illusory unless a proper CoC
has first been filed. A “proper” CoC is filed when the prosecution has “exercis[ed] due diligence
and ma[d]e reasonable inquiries to ascertain the existence of material and information subject to
disclosure.” A “diligent, good faith effort” by the prosecution is required. The “touchstone” is

The prosecution’s “good faith” “is not sufficient standing alone and cannot cure a lack of
diligence.” And the “prejudice” to the defendant is not a relevant criteria.

CAL observes: This straight-forward, unanimous, case of basic statutory interpretation is likely
to go down as the term’s most important and most cited opinion. The case dismantles a host of
lower court opinions relying on the “good faith” of the prosecutors and/ or the lack of
“prejudice” to the defense to deny speedy trial motions. Good faith unaccompanied by due
diligence and reasonable efforts will not suffice. And prejudice is irrelevant to the analysis, with
a discovery sanction not being a permissible alternative to a speedy trial dismissal. Notably, the
burden is on the prosecution to establish “due diligence” and “reasonable inquires.” “If the
prosecution fails to make such a showing, the COC should be deemed improper, the readiness
statement stricken as illusory, and–so long as the time chargeable to the People exceeds the
application CPL 30.30 period–the case dismissed.”

Some significant open questions remain. First, the Bay case did not involve the May 2022
amendment that obligates the defense to point out CoC deficiencies as soon as practicable. Had
the defense not pointed out the deficiencies, the result, post-amendment, may well be different.
Second, the Bay case did not explore exclusions of time under 30.30, including for motion
practice. Would a discovery dispute or a challenge to the CoC result in excludable time? Third,
the Court suggested that upon a prosecution’s showing of good cause – something different from
due diligence – a court could grant additional time to provide discovery. Lastly, the Bay Court
did not define the full scope of the prosecution’s discovery obligations, which will certainly be
the subject of litigation (e.g. do IAB complaints or other impeachment material relate to the
subject matter of the case?).