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The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division and directed that a new trial be ordered in this case involving a noncitizen charged with a crime carrying the penalty of deportation, holding (1) a noncitizen defendant who demonstrates that a charged crime carries the potential penalty of deportation is entitled to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment; and (2) the trial court’s refusal to grant Defendant’s request for a jury trial violated his Sixth Amendment right. Defendant, a noncitizen, was charged with deportable offenses and submitted a motion asserting his right to a jury trial. Supreme Court denied the motion and found Defendant guilty. The Appellate Division affirmed, holding that deportation is a collateral consequence arising out of federal law that does not constitute a criminal penalty for purposes of the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) collateral consequences attendant to deportation are not categorically excluded form Sixth Amendment protection; (2) the Sixth Amendment mandates a jury trial in the rare situation where a legislature attaches a sufficiently onerous penalty to an offense, whether the penalty is imposed by the state or national legislature; and (3) because Defendant’s offense was a serious one, Defendant was entitled to a jury trial. View "People v. Suazo" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals concluded that the Appellate Division erred in holding that the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) had an obligation to provide sex offenders residing in a residential treatment facility (RTF) with substantial assistance in identifying appropriate housing, holding that the agency met its statutory obligation to assist Petitioner in this case. The Board of Parole imposed a special condition on Petitioner’s release requiring him to propose an appropriate Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA)-compliant residence to be investigated and approved by DOCCS. Because Petitioner was unable to identify a suitable residence by his maximum expiration date, the Board of Parole imposed the condition that Petitioner be transferred to a RTF. Petitioner commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding asserting that DOCCS failed to provide him with assistance in locating housing. The Appellate Court concluded that DOCCS had an affirmative statutory obligation to provide “substantial assistance” to inmates who have been placed in an RTF and who are subject to the mandatory residency restrictions in SARA in locating appropriate housing and that DOCCS failed to satisfy its statutory duty to Petitioner. The Court of Appeals modified the order of the Appellate Division, holding that the Appellate Division erred in imposing a heightened duty of substantial assistance on DOCCS. View "Gonzalez v. Annucci" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division holding that counterfeit event tickets are written instruments “affect[ing] a legal right, interest, obligation or status” within the meaning of N.Y. Penal Law 170.10(1), thus affirming Defendant’s conviction of multiple counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree for selling counterfeit concert tickets. Defendant argued that a counterfeit concert ticket falls outside the ambit of the second-degree forgery statute because a concert ticket does not “affect a legal right, interest, obligation or status” and that the statute contemplates only documents of the same character as a “deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, [or] credit card” under section 170.10[1]. The Court of Appeals rejected Defendant’s interpretation, holding (1) an event ticket evidences a revocable license to enter, which is a legal right and changes the holder’s status; and (2) Defendant failed to demonstrate that an event ticket does not belong to the same category as contracts, commercial instruments, and the like. View "People v. Watts" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division order grantingd partial summary judgment against COR Ridge Road Company, LLC (COR), in favor of Angelo Ferrara upholding the validity of a lien placed by Ferrara on COR’s real property, holding that consent, for purposes of N.Y. Lien Law 3, was properly inferred from the terms of the lease agreement between COR and Peaches Cafe LLC and that the Appellate Division appropriately declined to impose a requirement that COR either expressly or directly consent to the improvements. COR entered into a lease agreement to lease space in a retail shopping plaza to Peaches, in which Peaches built and operated a full-service restaurant. Peaches contracted with Ferrara to perform electrical work at the premises. Peaches later closed its business, still owing Ferrara more than $50,000. Ferrara filed a mechanic’s lien against the property, noticing both COR and Peaches. Ferrara then initiated this action seeking to foreclose on the lien. Supreme Court granted COR motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, concluding that COR had not consented to the improvements within the meaning of Lien Law 3. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that consent for purposes of Lien Law 3 may be inferred from the terms of the lease. View "Ferrara v. Peaches Cafe LLC" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division concluding that the Commissioner of the State Education Department’s determination regarding Petitioner’s request for funding was affected by its erroneous interpretation of “universal Pre-K” law, holding that the statutory scheme governing charter school pre-kindergarten program allows for shared oversight authority between charter entities and local school districts. Petitioner was a not-for-profit education corporation which operated dozens of charter schools across New York City. Petitioner requested an order directing the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to pay for certain pre-kindergarten programs and a declaration that the DOE contract seeking to regulate the curriculum and operations of the charter school pre-kindergarten program was unlawful. The Commissioner concluded that DOE was not required to pay Petitioner for the pre-kindergarten programs and that, with the exception of two aspects in the DOE contract, the contract was lawful. Petitioner then filed this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 petition seeking to annual the Commissioner’s determination. Supreme Court dismissed the petition. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Commissioner’s determination was affected by an erroneous interpretation of N.Y. Educ. Law 3602-ee. View "Matter of DeVera v. Elia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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The Court of Appeals held that the Town of Aurora, rather than the Village of East Aurora, was responsible for maintaining and repairing the Brooklea Drive Bridge, located within both of the municipalities, thus modifying the decision of the Appellate Division reversing the judgment of Supreme Court declaring that the Town was responsible for the maintenance of the bridge. Specifically, the Court of Appeals modified the order of the Appellate Division by (1) denying the Town’s motion for summary judgment, (2) granting the Village’s motion for summary judgment to the extent it sought a declaration in its favor as to the bridge, and (3) reinstating so much of the judgment of Supreme Court as declared the Town was responsible for the expenses of repairing the bridge, holding that because the Village did not assume control of the bridge pursuant to N.Y. Village Law 6-606, the Town had responsibility for maintaining the bridge. View "Town of Aurora v. Village of East Aurora" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division affirming the judgment of Supreme Court granting Defendants' motion to compel Plaintiff to post a minimum of $500 security in this personal injury action, holding that N.Y. C.P.L.R. 8501(a) and 8503 do not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause set forth in article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution by depriving noncitizens of New York reasonable and adequate access to New York courts. At issue in this personal injury action was New York’s longstanding security for costs provisions that treat resident and nonresident litigants differently. Plaintiff was a New York resident when she commenced this action, but after she relocated to Georgia, Defendants moved, pursuant to sections 8501(a) and 8503, for an order compelling Plaintiff to post a minimum of $500 security for costs in the event she lost the case. Supreme Court granted Defendants’ motion, concluding that the statutes do not bar access to the courts. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that sections 8501(a) and 8503 do not unduly burden nonresidents’ fundamental right to access the courts because nonresidents are provided reasonable and adequate access to the New York courts. View "Clement v. Durban" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals answered a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concerning the meaning of N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 518 in the affirmative, holding that a merchant complies with the statute so long as the merchant posts the total dollars and cents price charged to credit card users. Section 518 states that no seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a holder who uses a credit card to pay rather than cash, check, or similar means. The parties in this case agreed that the statute allows for differential pricing, in which a merchant offers discounts to customers who pay by cash so that customers buying the same item pay a higher price if they use a credit card than if they paid cash. The Court of Appeals concluded that a merchant may describe the difference between the credit card price and the cash price as a “surcharge, “additional fee,” or “extra costs” so long as the merchant posts the total dollars-and-cents price charged to credit card users rather than requiring consumers to engage in an arithmetical calculation. View "Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that a defendant is not entitled to a writ of error coram nobis to bypass the limitation set by the legislature in N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 460.30 in which to file a criminal leave application (CLA) seeking leave to appeal to this Court. This case followed the decision of In People v. Andrews, 23 N.Y.3d 605, 616 (2014), in which the Court of Appeals concluded that counsel’s failure to timely file a CLA to the Court of Appeals within the thirty-day statutory timeframe or move pursuant to CPL 460.30 within the one-year grace period for an extension to cure the error does not constitute ineffective assistance or deprive the defendant of due process. In this case, the Court of Appeals held that because there is no state constitutional right to legal representation on an application for leave to appeal to this Court, Defendant could not seek relief in coram nobis to negate the one-year time limitation on the remedy provided in CPL 460.30 for his attorney’s failure to file a timely CLA where there was no constitutional violation. View "People v. Grimes" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether Family Court can find that the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) made “reasonable efforts” toward family reunifications, as required by N.Y. Fam. Ct. 1089, if ACS failed to provide the “reasonable accommodations” required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Mother, an intellectually disabled individual, moved Family Court for a determination that ACS had not made reasonable efforts to reunite her with her child because ACS had not complied with the ADA by ensuring that she had access to certain services. Family Court responded by requiring ACS to provide the services Mother claimed as “reasonable accommodations” under the ADA. ACS generally provided those services. The Appellate Division determined that ACS had made reasonable efforts to provide Mother with services to facilitate the permanency goal of “return to parent.” The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the record supported the Family Court’s conclusion that ACS’s efforts met a minimum threshold of reasonableness. View "In re Lacee L." on Justia Law