Court holds that “Central Booking” is not a detention facility

The crime of Promoting Prison Contraband, Penal Law § 205.20(1), a misdemeanor, prohibits the introduction of contraband into a "detention facility."  At issue in People v. Osorio (NYC Crim. Ct. 6/21/2011) (Sciarrino, J.) was whether Central Booking qualifies as a detention facility.  The defendant, who had recently been arrested for an unrelated crime, allegedly handed marijuana to another arrestee in Central Booking. 

A "detention facility" is "any place used for the confinement, pursuant to an order of a court, of a person (a) charged with or convicted of an offense, or…(d) otherwise confined pursuant to an order of a court."  The court held that, since a person in Central Booking is not there pursuant to a court order—he is there because of an arrest—Central Booking is not a detention facility under the meaning of Penal Law Article 205.  The court also looked to the purpose of the statute, "The purpose of Penal Law §205.20 is not to punish those found with contraband once inside a detention facility's doors, but to prevent the introduction of contraband into such facilities in the first place." 

I wonder, though, if the result would have been different if the defendant had been arrested on a bench warrant?  Then, he would be in custody under a court order.  (LC)

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