In 2021, a man named Michael Bay was arrested and charged with allegedly harassing his mother. As the legal proceedings unfolded, it was discovered that the prosecution did not provide the defense with all the discovery materials that they had in their possession at the time they filed their Certificate of Compliance (COC). Because of this, on December 14, 2023, Michael Bay’s case, People v. Bay, was dismissed.
In this blog post, we are going to get into the details of what led to People v. Bay being dismissed, and why it sets an important legal precedent for criminal defendants in the future.
Why Was Michael Bay Arrested?
In April 2021, Michael Bay allegedly became physically aggressive toward his mother. As a result, he was arrested and charged with harassment. He pleaded not guilty. Afterward, Bay was released on his own recognizance.
Why Was People v. Bay Dismissed?
The initial proceeding in this case took place on April 28, 2021. The judge adjourned the proceeding until May 26 because the prosecution had not yet provided the defense with discovery and the sides had not discussed a potential plea deal at that time.
On April 29, the prosecution provided the defense with a collection of discovery materials, and on May 4, the prosecution filed their Certificate of Compliance. A COC is a declaration that the prosecution has provided the defense with all the discovery materials that they’re supposed to and that they are ready to go to trial.
At the May 26 hearing, the defense revealed that they had received some discovery but had yet to receive all the discovery that they required. Specifically, the defense had not received the police report or a recording of the 911 call. The prosecution argued that there wasn’t a 911 recording or police report, so there was nothing for them to send to the defense. The judge accepted the prosecution’s explanation and ruled that the trial would move forward.
One week before the trial date, the defense contacted the prosecution again regarding discovery materials. A different prosecutor from the one who handled the May 26 hearing told the defense that they did have a police report and that he would check to see if they had a recording of the 911 call. Later that day, the prosecution sent the defense the police report and the next day, the prosecution sent the defense a recording of the 911 call.
On July 1, the defense filed a motion to dismiss. The defense argued that the case should be dismissed because the prosecution failed to disclose discovery materials (the police report and a recording of the 911 call) that they had in their possession before they filed their COC. This would mean that the prosecution’s COC was invalid.
The court denied the motion to dismiss. The defense appealed the court’s decision. The motion to dismiss was eventually approved on December 14, 2023.
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