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Thread: Question: Fraud upon the court (NYS)

  1. #1
    MsSue is offline Junior Member
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    Question: Fraud upon the court (NYS)

    New York State (not city): Briefly, I understand that "fraud upon the court" is a serious charge that results from an officer of the court who essentially lies TO the court (and not IN the court, which would constitute the lesser offense of perjury), and thus ruins the trial court's ability to conduct a fair trial. My understanding is that any verdict issued thereby cannot stand. My question is this: Is there any condition or legal reason upon which the perpetrator of "fraud upon the court" can mount a successful defense? Is there anything that would legitimize that kind of behavior in the eyes of the law? Secondly, is it difficult to prove fraud upon the court? (I have what I believe is solid evidence in the trial transcript, where the ADA stated "I have given the court the discretion in how to proceed..." and then she instructed it to find the defendant pro se guilty based solely upon her lies about the evidence. The evidence was never produced at pretrial (because there was none, even though I was told to arrive early at court so I could attend one) and was never produced at trial, despite the request of the defendant pro se (the reason being, I found out post trial, is that the "evidence" is fictitious).

    Yes, this occurred in traffic court--I find it hard to believe that a prosecutor would risk her career over such a mundane matter, so I'm wondering if maybe she thinks I would be unable to prove the claim of fraud upon the court at appeal, despite the transcript statement and the nonexistent "evidence" she claimed to have, which even the trial court itself (reluctantly) admits is not in the the file or anywhere else in the record and despite a notarized statement from the purported creator of the document (an MD) denying he ever produced the document the prosecutor claimed to have and upon which the verdict relied.

    It's not the fine that bothers me (less than $100), it's the lying by a public, tax-paid court official and its blind acceptance by the (tax-supported) court that makes me want to appeal this case.

    Sue
  2. #2
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Then, appeal the case. Forget about the fraud on the court. List as to the evidence and show no court could have found the elements based on the evidence presented.
  3. #3
    MsSue is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    Then, appeal the case. Forget about the fraud on the court. List as to the evidence and show no court could have found the elements based on the evidence presented.
    In NYS, appeals cannot introduce any new evidence, since the appeal is restricted to the record produced at trial. Therefore, I can't build an appeals case on "my" evidence, because the ADA successfully prevented its introduction at trial (after all, I am pro se, and I was admittedly ill-prepared to face issues like fraud and plain error -- until AFTER they occurred, which is when I went home and studied more about that kind of thing). So, except for the transcript, the record is blank. However, I have overwhelming evidence for the fraud upon the court (as well as plain error committed by the trial justice), which is why I thought that might be the better way to go, since both the fraud and plain error are slam-dunk reasons for overturning the trial court's verdict.

    Unless, of course, the dire nature of these things is simply an Internet exaggeration, and judges don't really care much about them; hence my questions above.
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    This is not the traffic tickets forum.

    You will never, ever succeed without an attorney. So unless you want to spend $1000 to save $100, I suggest you get over it.
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    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsSue View Post
    In NYS, appeals cannot introduce any new evidence, since the appeal is restricted to the record produced at trial. Therefore, I can't build an appeals case on "my" evidence, because the ADA successfully prevented its introduction at trial (after all, I am pro se, and I was admittedly ill-prepared to face issues like fraud and plain error -- until AFTER they occurred, which is when I went home and studied more about that kind of thing). So, except for the transcript, the record is blank. However, I have overwhelming evidence for the fraud upon the court (as well as plain error committed by the trial justice), which is why I thought that might be the better way to go, since both the fraud and plain error are slam-dunk reasons for overturning the trial court's verdict.

    Unless, of course, the dire nature of these things is simply an Internet exaggeration, and judges don't really care much about them; hence my questions above.
    Your claim, from what I understand, is that the prosecution did not have the evidence. But, they lied and said they did. How is that "new"?
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    MsSue is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    Your claim, from what I understand, is that the prosecution did not have the evidence. But, they lied and said they did. How is that "new"?
    Essentially yeah, that is it in a nutshell.

    And I realize it is nothing new, or else we would not laugh at all those lawyer jokes--everyone of 'em has the ring of truth behind it.

    I guess I am just a bit different from all the people who fit on the standard bell-shaped curve. Money is not the issue here, it is the lies. If this prosecutor can lie about a mundane traffic ticket, what will stop her from lying about something more important, victimizing someone else with perhaps a much larger fine or even jail time as a result? What kind of person would I be if I shrugged my shoulders and simply "got over it" and let her continue -- and all this, BTW, on our tax dollar.

    In any event, this is not the Social Conscience and Idealistic Citizen Forum. It is one where we are supposed to get some kind of legal opinion. My original questions remain unanswered, and if there is an attorney out there willing to address them, I would be pleased to hear what (s)he has to say.
  7. #7
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Perhaps you should re-state the unanswered question. My answer is to forget about fraud on the court. If the evidence was not presented for your conviction, you appeal. You keep talking in circles about fraud on the court. State the fraud. Not some generalized "lie" nonsense. What happened?

    Just to satisfy.
    My question is this: Is there any condition or legal reason upon which the perpetrator of "fraud upon the court" can mount a successful defense?
    Yes.

    Secondly, is it difficult to prove fraud upon the court?
    It depends.

    (I have what I believe is solid evidence in the trial transcript, where the ADA stated "I have given the court the discretion in how to proceed..." and then she instructed it to find the defendant pro se guilty based solely upon her lies about the evidence. The evidence was never produced at pretrial (because there was none, even though I was told to arrive early at court so I could attend one) and was never produced at trial, despite the request of the defendant pro se (the reason being, I found out post trial, is that the "evidence" is fictitious).
    What "evidence"? What did the prosecution lie about?

    N.Y. JUD. LAW � 487 : NY Code - Section 487: Misconduct by attorneys
    An attorney or counselor who:
    1. Is guilty of any deceit or collusion, or consents to any deceit or
    collusion, with intent to deceive the court or any party; or,
    2. Wilfully delays his client's suit with a view to his own gain; or,
    wilfully receives any money or allowance for or on account of any money
    which he has not laid out, or becomes answerable for,
    Is guilty of a misdemeanor, and in addition to the punishment
    prescribed therefor by the penal law, he forfeits to the party injured
    treble damages, to be recovered in a civil action.
    See also:
    Amalfitano v. Rosenberg, 903 N.E.2d 265, 267 (N.Y. 2009)
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    MsSue is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    Perhaps you should re-state the unanswered question. My answer is to forget about fraud on the court. If the evidence was not presented for your conviction, you appeal. You keep talking in circles about fraud on the court. State the fraud. Not some generalized "lie" nonsense. What happened?

    Just to satisfy.
    Yes.

    It depends.

    What "evidence"? What did the prosecution lie about?



    See also:
    Amalfitano v. Rosenberg, 903 N.E.2d 265, 267 (N.Y. 2009)
    Briefly, violation of VTL 1229c-3a, failure to wear a seat belt. I have an MD note that exempts me based on a medical condition (short stature) per section 7, but could not find it for the officer. Was issued a ticket, but per officer, mounted an affirmative defense based on constructive possession (got another copy from the MD and submitted that to the court within 24 hours). The lie consisted of the prosecutor's determination that the exemption was invalid because it was "improperly dated for the day after the infraction" (it wasn't, it was dated the day of, even though per section 7 it need not be dated at all). She would not produce the "improperly dated" exemption at trial (even though it was essentially "Brady material"), and she would not allow me to introduce a copy into the record because she successfully argued it was "a medical record" (even though the court had accepted it without the HIPAA form required by the court for medical records). The exhibit record is therefore blank.

    In any event, the court agreed with the prosecutor's oral misrepresentation, issued under color of office, of a "misdated" exemption ("I have given the Court my discretion in how to proceed, and that is why we are here today, because it was not, it was not dated for the day of the infraction or before, but for the day after the infraction," Tr p. 17) and it issued a guilty verdict thereby, also without inspecting the "misdated" exemption, just going on the prosecutor's word.

    There were other errors, which I think rise to the level of plain error, including an outrageously ignorant misuse of VTL 1229c-5 and an ex parte discussion of the case that occurred while I was out of the courtroom per order of the court.

    Does that help?

    In looking up Amalfitano, I found the Long article and the ABA Furman article. Both are lengthy but look like they will help me understand things further, so I saved them and plan to read them after work. Thank you for the reference!
  9. #9
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Short stature? Are you kidding me? If you're too short to safely be wearing a seat belt, you're too short to be driving safely too. Are you over 4' tall? You could not possibly have ever thought your doctor's note would be taken seriously by a court. There are seat belt modifications that can be made for really small people - it's never an excuse to not wear one. You are in fact a lot more likely to be injured by the airbag if you are a smaller person and not wearing a seat belt, not to mention being ejected from your seat and through the window or tossed around the vehicle.

    If it's not about the money, go ahead and hire a lawyer to appeal. But I think you should consider yourself very lucky that all you got was a $100 ticket instead of a broken face or a crushed skull.
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  10. #10
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    The proper way to handle the purported mistake was to say, "Objection, misstates the evidence." This is not a fraud on the court. If you feel the interpretation was incorrect, appeal.
  11. #11
    MsSue is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Short stature? Are you kidding me? If you're too short to safely be wearing a seat belt, you're too short to be driving safely too. Are you over 4' tall? You could not possibly have ever thought your doctor's note would be taken seriously by a court. There are seat belt modifications that can be made for really small people - it's never an excuse to not wear one. You are in fact a lot more likely to be injured by the airbag if you are a smaller person and not wearing a seat belt, not to mention being ejected from your seat and through the window or tossed around the vehicle.

    If it's not about the money, go ahead and hire a lawyer to appeal. But I think you should consider yourself very lucky that all you got was a $100 ticket instead of a broken face or a crushed skull.
    Your response is exactly why I did not want to "try" this case on this forum by posting details. Suffice it to say I am tall enough to drive a motor vehicle without modifications. I am not tall enough to wear a seat belt safely. Any further answer to your conjectures are not worth my time.

    P.S. Are you sure you aren't a judge in one of the NYS justice courts?? or a prosecutor?? Because that is the only other place I have encountered this kind of reaction.
  12. #12
    TheGeekess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsSue View Post
    Essentially yeah, that is it in a nutshell.

    And I realize it is nothing new, or else we would not laugh at all those lawyer jokes--everyone of 'em has the ring of truth behind it.

    I guess I am just a bit different from all the people who fit on the standard bell-shaped curve. Money is not the issue here, it is the lies. If this prosecutor can lie about a mundane traffic ticket, what will stop her from lying about something more important, victimizing someone else with perhaps a much larger fine or even jail time as a result? What kind of person would I be if I shrugged my shoulders and simply "got over it" and let her continue -- and all this, BTW, on our tax dollar.

    In any event, this is not the Social Conscience and Idealistic Citizen Forum. It is one where we are supposed to get some kind of legal opinion. My original questions remain unanswered, and if there is an attorney out there willing to address them, I would be pleased to hear what (s)he has to say.
    Quote Originally Posted by MsSue View Post
    Your response is exactly why I did not want to "try" this case on this forum by posting details. Suffice it to say I am tall enough to drive a motor vehicle without modifications. I am not tall enough to wear a seat belt safely. Any further answer to your conjectures are not worth my time.

    P.S. Are you sure you aren't a judge in one of the NYS justice courts?? or a prosecutor?? Because that is the only other place I have encountered this kind of reaction.
    The FreeAdvice Forums are intended to enable consumers to benefit from the experience of other consumers who have faced similar legal issues. FreeAdvice does NOT vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any posting on the Forums or the identity or qualifications of any person asking questions or responding on the Forums.
  13. #13
    TheGeekess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsSue View Post
    Your response is exactly why I did not want to "try" this case on this forum by posting details. Suffice it to say I am tall enough to drive a motor vehicle without modifications. I am not tall enough to wear a seat belt safely. Any further answer to your conjectures are not worth my time.

    P.S. Are you sure you aren't a judge in one of the NYS justice courts?? or a prosecutor?? Because that is the only other place I have encountered this kind of reaction.
    Really. They do make seatbelt devices that will allow a short person to wear the seatbelt. I purchased mine at WalMart in the Baby section. Makes the seatbelt hit in the right zone.
  14. #14
    MsSue is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    The proper way to handle the purported mistake was to say, "Objection, misstates the evidence." This is not a fraud on the court. If you feel the interpretation was incorrect, appeal.
    You are so right -- that's how I should have handled it at trial. But I was a very inexperienced pro se defendant then. When I walked into the courtroom, I expected the judge to dismiss the case as soon as he read my exemption -- in fact, it never should have *gone* to trial, it should have been dismissed at pretrial. That is what has happened in the past (twice). I had no reason to prepare for anything other than to present the certificate, which is fully compliant with section 7 of VTL 1229c, and maybe have the judge tell me to be more careful with important papers in the future.

    In fact, the reason I went pro se was because all the attorneys I contacted told me the same thing. "All you gotta do is hand your exemption to the judge, he'll read it, and dismiss the case. I could do that for your for [different prices, depending upon with whom I spoke], but you can easily do it yourself."

    As an appellant, if that's the way I go, I want to be much better informed.

    So, for education's sake and nothing else, you say this is not fraud but you don't say why. I thought all the factors were there. . is there something I am missing in the definition of what constitutes fraud?
  15. #15
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsSue View Post
    Your response is exactly why I did not want to "try" this case on this forum by posting details. Suffice it to say I am tall enough to drive a motor vehicle without modifications. I am not tall enough to wear a seat belt safely. Any further answer to your conjectures are not worth my time.

    P.S. Are you sure you aren't a judge in one of the NYS justice courts?? or a prosecutor?? Because that is the only other place I have encountered this kind of reaction.
    What does the "Guidelines for Granting Medical Exemptions from Seat Belt Use" (C-58) say about it?
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