Supporting Depositions & NY Domestic Violence Complainants

Either by mail or in person, New York prosecutors will attempt to have you sign what is called a supporting deposition or a corroborating affidavit. Assistant District Attorneys will ask you to review a criminal court complaint where a brief outline of the allegations and some criminal charges are set forth. If this criminal court complaint is accurate, you will be asked to approve it. While prosecutors will likely tell you that by signing the supporting deposition it by no means indicates the case is going to trial, your loved one will be forced to accept a plea or that person will go to jail, the practical reality is that if you do not sign this supporting deposition, law enforcement may not be able to prosecute the case against a defendant. It could be that this is the appropriate resolution to the criminal case or the accusations may necessitate that you should assist law enforcement. Ultimately, it is your decision to make

As accurate as these previous statements are, you never, regardless of what a police officer or prosecutor says, have to sign this corroborating affidavit. As noted, each case is unique and you alone can make that determination. If you don’t sign, however, a criminal defense attorney may be able to obtain a speedy trial dismissal of the case against the accused. In many circumstances, this is exactly what you want to happen while in others it may not be what you want. While common perception is that every case warrants prosecution, there are also cases where law enforcement pursues a signature on a supporting deposition that on its face may seem fair, but the allegations don’t warrant such an eager pursuit. It is relevant to understand that once you do sign off on the supporting depiction, the outcome and manner in which the case is handled may tip from your hands into that of law enforcement.

Make no mistake. Assistant District Attorneys have difficult jobs. A prosecutor’s task is an honorable and difficult one. However, know they are not a complainant’s or defendant’s attorney. They do not work for you or any party. They represent the amorphous “People of the State of New York.” Their main goal is to “do the right thing” even where their interpretation or view may be wrong. This “right thing,” whether we agree or not, often necessitates the signing of a supporting deposition.

Having said that, you should be in control of your future, not a prosecutor who does not know you or the other party beyond a criminal court complaint. You should decide how, when and if you will proceed. Not an Assistant District Attorney who can keep your son, sister or boyfriend from your home until they deem it acceptable to allow him or her back. You should decide whether or not prosecutors enforce an order of protection – preventing any contact between you and your loved one. Whether you manage these tasks on your own is your decision, but seeking counsel from a New York criminal lawyer to either assist in pursuing criminal charges closer to your terms or “dropping” criminal charges because of overzealous prosecution is certainly something to consider.

Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan domestic violence prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today

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