“The Clayton Motion” is a criminal motion to dismiss an indictment in the interest of justice. The action has garnered national recognition since it’s mention in the hit television series “For Life.” Aside from its popularity in pop culture, motion is a powerful technique that has played a role in preserving justice in the New York criminal justice system and now has a chance to impact the Michigan criminal justice system with the encouragement of forwarding thinking prosecutors.
According to New York’s Criminal Procedural Law Section 201.40, An indictment or any count thereof may be dismissed in furtherance of justice, as provided in paragraph (i) of subdivision one of section 210.20, when, even though there may be no basis for dismissal as a matter of law upon any ground specified in paragraphs (a) through (h) of said subdivision one of section 210.20, such discharge is required as a matter of judicial discretion by the existence of some compelling factor, consideration or circumstance demonstrating that conviction or prosecution of the defendant upon such indictment or count would constitute or result in injustice. In determining whether such compelling factor, consideration, or circumstance exists, the court must, to the extent applicable, examine and consider, individually and collectively with the characteristics listed within the statute. To discuss these factors, we spoke to several Michigan attorneys to gain their insight.
Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is known as one of the top business attorneys in our state but has ties to New York. McManus stated, “Growing up in Brooklyn, the Clayton Motion was something that we regularly discussed. The first factor the courts look at is “the seriousness and circumstances of the offense,” and that could place a barrier immediately to a successful motion. We need to remember that the presumption of innocence is in effect at all times, and just because a prosecutor issued a charge that may be deemed severe, the court needs to look beyond the information in the complaint objectively.”