senate Bill S6679

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Provides that jury deliberations may be suspended upon good cause shown for up to seventy-two hours

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 21, 2012 committed to rules
May 21, 2012 advanced to third reading
May 16, 2012 2nd report cal.
May 15, 2012 1st report cal.767
Mar 08, 2012 referred to codes


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May 15, 2012 - Codes committee Vote

Aye with Reservations
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S6679 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Criminal Procedure Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง310.10, CP L

S6679 - Bill Texts

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Provides that jury deliberations may be suspended upon good cause shown for up to seventy two hours.

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An act
to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to suspending jury

This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of
the Chief Administrative Judge upon the recommendation of her
Advisory Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure.

This measure would amend the Criminal Procedure Law to allow a trial
court to suspend jury deliberations for up to forty-eight hours
(excluding weekends and holidays) in appropriate cases.

In 1995, the Legislature gave trial courts discretion to forego
sequestration in most cases (L. 1995, c. 83). Over the next several
years, the Legislature required the Chief Administrative Judge and
the Office of Court Administration to conduct an annual study of the
change and file a report with the Governor, the President of the
Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly. The reports found that there
were significant cost-savings to the change and that eliminating
sequestration did not result in an increase in jury tampering or an
increase the number of mistrials. After five years, the Legislature
made permanent the changes and expanded the reach of the statute to
permit trial courts to forego sequestration in all cases (L. 2001, c.

A trial court's discretion is not unfettered, however, and the current
statute provides that a court may only suspend jury deliberations
"for a reasonable period of time ... not to exceed twenty-four
hours" (CPL 310.10(2). Undoubtedly, the twenty-four hour limit is
intended to permit deliberating jurors to go home each night and
return on the next day when the court is in session. Unfortunately,
circumstances often arise that make it impossible to reconvene the
jury within twenty-four hours, as was illustrated in a
recent case arising in Kings County (see People v Taylor, 32 Mise 3d
546 (Sup Ct, Kings County 2011, Del Giudice, J.)). In Taylor, a
deliberating juror was briefly hospitalized and unable to return to
Court to resume further deliberations the following day. The defense
immediately moved for a mistrial, claiming that the express language
of CPL 310.10(2) prevented the court from adjourning deliberations
more than 24 hours, even though the juror would be available one day
later. There were no indications of juror tampering nor did it appear
that jury deliberations would be impeded by the additional delay
caused by the juror's hospitalization. The case highlights the
inflexibility of the statute, and the court urged legislative action
to amend the statute.

We believe that the arbitrary limit of twenty-four hours should be
relaxed in appropriate cases. While our Advisory Committee considered

recommending elimination of the twenty-four hour restriction
altogether and allowing courts discretion to suspend deliberations
"for a reasonable period of time," it ultimately favored an approach
that provides courts with more, but not unfettered, discretion. Thus,
this measure retains the twenty-four hour limit in most cases, but
provides, "upon good cause shown, an additional period not to exceed
72 hours." By requiring "good cause" for any suspension longer than
twenty-four hours, the measure insures that lengthy suspensions of
jury deliberations will not become routine.

This measure, which would have no meaningful fiscal impact on the
State, would take effect immediately, and shall apply to all criminal
actions pending on or after such effective date.

New proposal.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                            I N  S E N A T E

                              March 8, 2012

Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- (at request of the Office of Court Adminis-
  tration)  --  read  twice  and ordered printed, and when printed to be
  committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in  relation  to  suspending
  jury deliberations


  Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 310.10 of the  criminal  procedure
law, as amended by chapter 47 of the laws of 2001, is amended to read as
  2. At any time after the jury has been charged or commenced its delib-
erations,  and after notice to the parties and affording such parties an
opportunity to be heard on the record outside of  the  presence  of  the
jury,  the  court  may declare the deliberations to be in recess and may
thereupon direct the jury to suspend its deliberations and  to  separate
for  a  reasonable  period  of time to be specified by the court, not to
exceed twenty-four hours OR, UPON GOOD CAUSE SHOWN, NOT TO EXCEED SEVEN-
TY-TWO HOURS, except that in the case of a Saturday, Sunday or  holiday,
such  separation  may extend beyond such twenty-four OR SEVENTY-TWO hour
period. Before each recess, the court must admonish the jury as provided
in section 270.40 of this chapter and direct it not to resume its delib-
erations until all twelve jurors  have  reassembled  in  the  designated
place at the termination of the declared recess.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect immediately, and shall apply to all
criminal actions pending on or after such effective date.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.


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