Following an incident in which he allegedly grabbed, choked, and struck the mother of his children, Saylor Suazo (“Suazo”) was charged with a variety of crimes including assault in the third degree, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, endangering the welfare of a child, menacing, and harassment in the second degree. People v. Suazo, No. 117, 2018 WL 6173962, at *1 (N.Y. Nov. 27, 2018). Immediately before the start of trial, however, the prosecution moved to reduce the charges to attempt crimes. Id. This reduction meant that Suazo now faced a maximum sentence of three months in jail and, more importantly, that the offenses could be tried without a jury pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 340.40(2). Id.
Suazo challenged the reduction and continued to assert his right to a jury trial, arguing that he was a noncitizen charged with deportable offenses rendering any conviction sufficiently serious to mandate a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment.Read More