by
The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Appellate Division reversing the judgment of the county court on the basis that Defendant’s sentence was illegal because sentencing courts cannot require a defendant to pay for the cost of electronic monitoring, holding that, as a condition of probation, sentencing courts can require a defendant to wear and pay for a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) bracelet that measures their alcohol intake. Defendant pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. The county courtsentenced Defendant to a term of incarceration, concurrent with five years’ probation. As a condition of his probation, Defendant was required to wear and pay for a SCRAM bracelet. When Defendant stopped paying for the SCRAM bracelet and the bracelet was removed by the monitoring company, the county court revoked Defendant’s probation. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a court may require a defendant to pay the daily expense for an electronic monitoring device that the court has ordered a defendant to wear as a condition of probation. View "People v. Hakes" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division determining that certain telecommunications equipment was taxable property pursuant to N.Y. Real Prop. Tax Law (RPTL) 102(12)(i), holding that the Appellate Division properly found that the equipment was taxable under the statute. The equipment at issue was certain large cellular data transmission equipment owed by T-Mobile Northeast, LLC and mounted to the exterior of buildings throughout T-Mobile’s service area in Mount Vernon. T-Mobile brought this hybrid declaratory judgment action and N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking a declaration that the property was not taxable. Supreme Court dismissed the proceeding, holding that the property was taxable under the RPTL. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that T-Mobile’s arguments on appeal lacked merit. View "T-Mobile Northeast, LLC v. DeBellis" on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeals held that Defendant’s murder of his thirteen-year-old half-sister in Virginia, an offense for which registration is required under Virginia’s Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act, Va. Code Ann. 9.1-902, did not render Defendant a sex offender for purposes of the New York State Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA), N.Y. Correct. Law 168-a(2)(d)(ii). N.Y. Correct. Law 168 provides that a person convicted of a felony in any other jurisdiction for which the offender is required to register as a sex offender must also register under SORA. Defendant shot and killed his half-sister and was required to register with the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. Supreme Court determined that when Defendant moved to New York he was required to register under SORA. The Appellate Division reversed and annulled Defendant’s adjudication as a sex offender, concluding that SORA violates Defendant’s substantive due process and equal protection rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed but on other grounds, holding that if a defendant is required to register for a felony committed in a foreign jurisdiction but is not required to do so “as a sex offender,” SORA does not apply. View "People v. Diaz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board that Claimant was entitled to 275 weeks of additional compensation due to an arm he received during the course of his employment under Workers’ Compensation Law WCL 15(3)(v) (paragraph v), holding that awards for additional compensation are not subject to the durational limits contained in WCL 15(3)(w) (paragraph w). Paragraph v permits certain permanently partially disabled workers who have exhausted their schedule awards to apply for additional compensation. Claimant did just that and was awarded additional compensation. On appeal, Claimant argued that paragraph v incorporates only paragraph w’s formula for calculating the weekly payment amount and not paragraph w’s durational component setting forth the number of weeks that sum is paid. The Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed, holding that under the plain language of paragraph v, additional compensation awards are calculated pursuant to the formula and durational provisions of paragraph w. View "Mancini v. Services" on Justia Law

by
In this Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) dispute, the Court of Appeals held that police officer personnel records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 87(2)(a) and N.Y. Civ. Rights Law 50-a. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking disclosure of protected personnel records from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) pursuant to FOIL. Supreme Court ordered the NYPD to disclose redacted records. The Appellate Division reversed, holding that controlling precedent determined that the NYPD could not be ordered to disclose redacted versions of the records. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 87(2)(a) and N.Y. Civ. Rights Law 50-a mandate confidentiality and supply no authority to compel redacted disclosure. View "New York Civil Liberties Union v. New York City Police Department" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Rights

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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