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Case Name Gomez-Garcia v. New York City Police Dep't PN-NY-0015
Docket / Court 451000-2012 ( State Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
This case is about arrests for marijuana possession in New York City. On June 22, 2012, a group of individuals who had been arrested for possession of marijuana "open to public view" despite not having any visible filed this lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York. The ... read more >
This case is about arrests for marijuana possession in New York City. On June 22, 2012, a group of individuals who had been arrested for possession of marijuana "open to public view" despite not having any visible filed this lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York. The plaintiffs sued New York City and its police department (the NYPD) under state law. Represented by the Legal Aid Society and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief. They claimed that the NYPD had violated state law, which mandated that police issue a ticket rather than arrest individuals for possession of marijuana.

The Marihuana Reform Act of 1977 had sought to reduce penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Instead of arresting people with marijuana, the Reform Act created a provision for police to issue an appearance ticket. The appearance ticket was like a traffic ticket, requiring that a defendant appear in court on some future date rather than undergo the full arrest process, which included an immediate detention period of at least 24 hours. Before the passage of the law, there were around 25,000 marijuana arrests each year. By the early 1990s, that number had dropped to under 1,000. However, in the early 2010s, there were over 50,000 such arrests each year. On September 19, 2011, the Police Commissioner had issued an operation order acknowledging the violation of state law and ordering police to comply.

As of September 4, 2021, the New York State Courts Electronic Filing system shows no other developments in this case. Its status is listed as "Pre-RJI," meaning no Request for Judicial Intervention has been filed, which is used to get a judge assigned to the case. The case is probably closed.

Lauren Yu - 09/04/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Failure to train
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
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Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) City of New York
New York City Police Department
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs are several individuals who were subjected to full arrest processes by the NYPD for the possession of small quantities of marijuana, despite state law mandating that these individuals merely be issued a ticket.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/22/2012
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Court Docket(s)
State Trial Court
06/22/2012
451000/2012
PN-NY-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
State Supreme Court
06/21/2012
Verified Complaint (2012 WL 2362711)
PN-NY-0015-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Banks, Steven (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0015-0001
Chang, Jonathan K show/hide docs
PN-NY-0015-9000
Gibney, William D. (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0015-0001
Katz, Sharon (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0015-9000
O'Brien, Thomas (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0015-0001
Sternstein, Moses Elchanan (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0015-9000

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