A Summons Issued by a Local Criminal Court or Superior Court in a Criminal Case is Not an Appearance Ticket [People v. Hauben, 12 Misc. 3d 1172A; People v. Eckert, 117 Misc. 2d 504 ]

In New York, judges may not issue appearance tickets. Judges can issue warrants for one’s arrest or a criminal summons. Appearance tickets can only be issued by a police officer or other public servant authorized by state law or local law enacted pursuant to the provisions of the municipal home rule law to issue appearance tickets. CPL 150.10(1). A judge is not considered a “public servant” authorized to issue an appearance ticket. A judge can issue a summons directing a defendant to appear in a particular court to be arraigned on an accusatory instrument. See generally CPL Art. 130. However, because a judge is not considered a “public servant” authorized to issue appearance tickets, a summons issued by a judge in a criminal case cannot be deemed an appearance ticket. People v. Hauben, 12 Misc. 3d 1172A (Nas. Cnty. Dist. Ct. 2006). In Hauben, the Honorable Kenneth L. Gartner, in a detailed, researched and well reasoned decision on this issue which cited numerous statutes, cases, practice commentaries and dictionaries, concluded that a summons issued by a criminal court pursuant to CPL Art. 130 is not an appearance ticket.
In so holding, J. Gartner observed: “a summons is merely ‘issued’ by the court, while an appearance ticket must statutorily be ‘issued and subscribed’ by the authorized individual. Id. Furthermore, J. Gartner cited an Attorney General Opinion (No. 93-90) which interpreted the term “other public servants” as stated in CPL 150.10(1) “as referring only to law enforcement personnel.” Id. The Opinion went on to state that “[p]rior to the court date, the public official who issued the appearance ticket must file an accusatory instrument.” Id.
Judge Gartner then noted that (1) a judge is not a law enforcement official and therefore does not meet the definition of “other public servants” as stated in the Opinion; and (2) a judge is not charged with filing an accusatory instrument with the criminal court after he or she issues a summons as law enforcement members are required to do after they issue and subscribe an appearance ticket. Id.
The City Court of Syracuse had reached a similar conclusion in People v. Eckert, 117 Misc. 2d 504 (1983) rejecting the People’s argument that a summons and an appearance ticket are so similar in substance that the criminal action is deemed commenced for speedy trial purposes when a defendant first appears in response to the summons as would be the case with an appearance ticket. Id at 505.
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