A07770 Summary:

BILL NO    A07770 

SAME AS    No same as 

SPONSOR    O'Donnell

COSPNSR    

MLTSPNSR   

Amd SS160.50 & 160.55, CP L

Relates to sealing of dismissals and violations that are more than twenty years
old.
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A07770 Actions:

BILL NO    A07770 

06/04/2013 referred to codes
01/08/2014 referred to codes
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A07770 Memo:

BILL NUMBER:A7770

TITLE OF BILL:  An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in
relation to sealing of dismissals and violations that are more than
twenty years old

PURPOSE:

To amend the Criminal Procedure Law to allow sealing of dismissals and
violations that are more than twenty years old.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one of the bill amends S 160.50 of the criminal procedure law.

Section two of the bill amends S 160.55 of the criminal procedure law.

Section three of the bill is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

The Legislature in 1991 recognized that many cases terminated in a
person's favor or that resulted in non-criminal convictions were not
getting sealed because of administrative error, and thus amended
Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) S 160.50 and CPL S 160.55 to allow those
cases to be sealed automatically unless the judge determined that such
sealing was not in the interests of justice. The numbers of errors
where cases were supposed to be sealed but were not dropped
dramatically.

Unfortunately, many thousands of cases that should have been sealed
before the amendment passed remained open to public view. To address
this problem, the Legislature included a provision requiring that
individuals whose cases occurred prior to the amendment file motions
to have such cases sealed.

It has now been more than 20 years since the law was changed. While
the motion requirement may have made sense at the time that the
legislation was enacted (when the cases were more recent) it no longer
does, for the following reasons:

1) When people file motions to get their cases sealed, they often find
that many of the relevant records have been destroyed or misplaced by
the courts, making it difficult or impossible for the court to process
or grant the sealing motion.

2) Filing these complex motions can be difficult for individuals to do
on their own, and it can be very difficult for them to find affordable
representation. Since post-conviction assistance of this sort is
generally not funded by New York State or its localities, public
defenders and assigned counsel generally do not perform this work.

3) Given the time that has elapsed since the cases were in court,
sealing them is very costly and time consuming for all parties - the
district attorneys (who must look for their files and respond to a
motion), the court clerks (who must try to locate ancient base files,
calendar motions, etc.), the judges who must decide whether to grant


motions for cases that may be thirty or forty years old, which did not
result in a conviction for a crime - they ended in either dismissal or
conviction of noncriminal offense, and for the individuals' legal
representatives (in the rare cases where they are available).

Because sealing of pre-1991 dismissals and violation-level convictions
is not automatic, employers and licensing agencies which have the
authority to fingerprint currently have access to information which
they are barred from asking about or considering under the New York
State Human Rights Law (NY Executive Law S 296(16)). However, there
can be no doubt that information about cases that are dismissed or
that resulted in a violatibn does affect the judgment of at least some
employers and licensing agencies when they see it, an eventuality that
arises solely because the arrests in question happened to occur prior
to the advent of automatic sealing. This treats people with
decades-old arrests less favorably than those whose arrests occurred
after 1991, and exposes them to needless discrimination. Simplifying
the sealing process will correct this inequality, help many New
Yorkers lead productive, law-abiding lives, and save the courts and
State money.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

Ninety days after it shall have become law.
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A07770 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                         7770

                              2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                     June 4, 2013
                                      ___________

       Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  O'DONNELL  --  read once and referred to the
         Committee on Codes

       AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation  to  sealing  of
         dismissals and violations that are more than twenty years old

         THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 160.50 of the  criminal  procedure
    2  law,  as amended by chapter 905 of the laws of 1977 and as renumbered by
    3  chapter 142 of the laws of 1991, is amended to read as follows:
    4    4. A person in whose favor a criminal action or proceeding was  termi-
    5  nated,  as defined in [paragraph] PARAGRAPHS (a) through (h), (K) OR (L)
    6  of subdivision [two] THREE of this section, prior to the effective  date
    7  of  [this  section,  may  upon  motion  apply to the court in which such
    8  termination occurred, upon not less  than  twenty  days  notice  to  the
    9  district  attorney,  for an order granting to such person the relief set
   10  forth in subdivision one of this section, and such order shall be grant-
   11  ed unless the district attorney demonstrates to the satisfaction of  the
   12  court that the interests of justice require otherwise. A person in whose
   13  favor  a  criminal  action  or  proceeding was terminated, as defined in
   14  paragraph (i) or (j) of subdivision two of this section,  prior  to  the
   15  effective  date of this section, may apply to the appropriate prosecutor
   16  or police agency for a certification as described in said paragraph  (i)
   17  or  (j)  granting  to such person the relief set forth therein, and such
   18  certification shall be granted by such prosecutor or police agency]  THE
   19  CHAPTER OF THE LAWS OF TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN WHICH AMENDED THIS SUBDIVI-
   20  SION, AND WHOSE RECORDS HAVE NOT BEEN SEALED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ONE
   21  OF  THIS  SECTION, MAY APPLY TO HAVE THE RECORDS OF SUCH CRIMINAL ACTION
   22  OR PROCEEDING SEALED AT THE CLERK'S OFFICE FOR THE COURT  IN  WHICH  THE
   23  CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING WAS TERMINATED. APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY
   24  THE  PERSON OR BY HIS OR HER ATTORNEY. UPON A DETERMINATION BY THE CLERK
   25  THAT THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING WAS TERMINATED IN THE  PERSON'S  FAVOR  AS

        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD11245-01-3
       A. 7770                             2

    1  DEFINED  IN  SUBDIVISION  THREE  OF THIS SECTION, THE CLERK OF THE COURT
    2  SHALL IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE COMMISSIONER AND THE HEADS OF ALL APPROPRI-
    3  ATE POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND  OTHER  LAW  ENFORCEMENT  AGENCIES  THAT  THE
    4  ACTION  HAS  BEEN TERMINATED IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED AND THAT THE RECORD
    5  OF SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDING SHALL BE SEALED. UPON RECEIPT OF  NOTIFICA-
    6  TION OF SUCH TERMINATION AND SEALING, ALL RECORDS RELATING TO THE CRIMI-
    7  NAL  ACTION SHALL BE SEALED, AS REQUIRED UNDER PARAGRAPH (C) OF SUBDIVI-
    8  SION ONE OF THIS SECTION, AND ALL PHOTOGRAPHS,  PHOTOGRAPHIC  PLATES  OR
    9  PROOFS,  PALM  PRINTS AND FINGERPRINTS SHALL BE DESTROYED OR RETURNED AS
   10  SPECIFIED IN PARAGRAPHS (A) OR (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION.
   11    S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 160.55 of the criminal procedure law, as
   12  amended by chapter 249 of the laws of 1981 and as renumbered by  chapter
   13  142 of the laws of 1991, is amended to read as follows:
   14    3.  A  person  against whom a criminal action or proceeding was termi-
   15  nated by such person's conviction of a traffic infraction  or  violation
   16  other  than  a  violation of loitering as described in paragraph (d) [or
   17  (e)] of subdivision one  of  section  160.10  of  this  chapter  or  the
   18  violation  of  operating  a  motor  vehicle  while  ability  impaired as
   19  described in subdivision one of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the
   20  vehicle and traffic law, prior to the effective date of  [this  section,
   21  may  upon  motion apply to the court in which such termination occurred,
   22  upon not less than twenty days notice to the district attorney,  for  an
   23  order granting to such person the relief set forth in subdivision one of
   24  this section, and such order shall be granted unless the district attor-
   25  ney  demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court that the interests of
   26  justice require otherwise] THE CHAPTER OF THE LAWS OF TWO THOUSAND THIR-
   27  TEEN WHICH AMENDED THIS SUBDIVISION, AND WHOSE  RECORDS  HAVE  NOT  BEEN
   28  SEALED  PURSUANT  TO  SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, MAY APPLY TO HAVE
   29  THE RECORDS OF SUCH CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING SEALED AT THE  CLERK'S
   30  OFFICE  FOR  THE  COURT  IN  WHICH THE CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING WAS
   31  TERMINATED. APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY THE DEFENDANT OR BY  HIS  OR  HER
   32  ATTORNEY.  UPON A DETERMINATION BY THE CLERK THAT THE COURT DID NOT FIND
   33  THAT THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE REQUIRED THAT THE CASE NOT BE  SEALED,  AS
   34  DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, THE CLERK OF THE COURT SHALL
   35  IMMEDIATELY  NOTIFY THE COMMISSIONER OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
   36  SERVICES AND THE HEADS OF ALL APPROPRIATE POLICE DEPARTMENTS  AND  OTHER
   37  LAW  ENFORCEMENT  AGENCIES  THAT THE RECORD OF SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDING
   38  SHALL BE SEALED. UPON RECEIPT OF NOTIFICATION OF  SUCH  TERMINATION  AND
   39  SEALING, ALL RECORDS RELATING TO THE CRIMINAL ACTION SHALL BE SEALED, AS
   40  REQUIRED UNDER PARAGRAPH (C) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, AND ALL
   41  PHOTOGRAPHS, PHOTOGRAPHIC PLATES OR PROOFS, PALM PRINTS AND FINGERPRINTS
   42  SHALL BE DESTROYED OR RETURNED AS SPECIFIED IN PARAGRAPHS (A) AND (B) OF
   43  SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF  THIS  SECTION. THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY TO
   44  CASES IN WHICH THE COURT DECLINED TO SEAL  FOR  REASONS  STATED  ON  THE
   45  RECORD,  PURSUANT  TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION. WHEN AN APPLICANT
   46  UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION PRESENTS TO THE COURT CLERK  FINGERPRINT  RECORDS
   47  FROM THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES OR A COURT
   48  DISPOSITION  WHICH INDICATE THAT A CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING AGAINST
   49  THE APPLICANT RESULTED IN A SEALABLE CONVICTION,  BUT  SUPPORTING  COURT
   50  RECORDS  CANNOT  BE  LOCATED,  HAVE  BEEN  DESTROYED, OR DO NOT INDICATE
   51  WHETHER THE COURT ORDERED THAT THE CASE NOT BE SEALED, THE CLERK OF  THE
   52  COURT  WHEREIN  SUCH  CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING WAS TERMINATED SHALL
   53  PROCEED AS IF THE MATTER HAD BEEN SO TERMINATED.
   54    S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
   55  have become law.
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