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People v. Patenaude

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division

June 16, 1955

People
v.
Patenaude

Doyle & Heffernan, Mechanicville, for defendants-appellants Wilfred Patenaude and others (John F. Doyle and Vincent P. Pickett, Mechanicville, of counsel).

[142 N.Y.S.2d 306] John F. Doyle, Howard J. Reilly and Vincent P. Pickett, Mechanicville, for defendants-appellants Arthur DeBlois and others.

Page 141

Jacob K. Javits, Atty. Gen., for plaintiff-respondent (Henry S. Manley, Sol. Gen., Albany, Warren H. Gilman, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Emil Woldar, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., of counsel).

Before FOSTER, P. J., and BERGAN, COON, HALPERN and ZELLER, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

These two actions are maintained by the People of the State of New York for the ejectment of the defendants from lands in Saratoga County to which the State claims titles through tax sales. Since the actions were instituted by the authority of the Conservation Department on the theory the lands upon acquisition became part of the Forest Preserve, appellants in the first place challenge this authority on the ground the lands are not in the 'forest preserve'. Cf. Conservation Law, § 9.

The stipulation of facts between the parties covering both actions is to the effect that the lands in dispute lie in a populous area close to the city of Mechanicville; that the territory of the community in which the lands are located is not to be regarded as 'wild forest lands' and the land is unsuitable for wild forest purposes. The stipulation expressly does not cover the question whether, as a matter of law, the parcels are to be regarded as 'wild forest lands'.

It is clear from reading the words of the statute, however, that whatever they may be in fact, they are in law a part of the 'forest preserve'. Conservation Law, § 63, subd. 1. All lands 'owned or hereafter acquired by the state' in Saratoga County are there declared to be in the forest preserve. There are two exceptions, neither of which is applicable. One is lands within a city or village, and the other is lands, not wild lands, and not situated within the Adirondack Park acquired by the State on the foreclosure of certain mortgages.

It is perfectly clear that lands in Saratoga County, not in a city or village, and not acquired by the State through mortgage foreclosure of the kind enumerated in the statute are in the forest preserve whether or not they are 'wild forest lands'. The Special Term was right, we think, in sustaining the authority of the conservation commissioner to institute the action on behalf of the People.

It is argued by defendants that the assessments on which the tax sales were based and from which the State derived its title were so 'inaccurate, incomplete and erroneous' that the tax sales based on them were void.

[142 N.Y.S.2d 307] The premises were sold for unpaid taxes assessed for the years 1921, 1922 and 1923. The statute in effect at the time of the assessments, Tax Law, § 21, as amended, Laws 1916, c. 323, § 7, provided that the description of the land assessed 'shall be sufficient to

Page 142

identify each separately assessed parcel or portion of real estate'.

The description on the assessment rolls on one parcel was: 'De Blois, Felix, M. F. Dist. 10; West Street; West (side); Lot 7 Hudsonview Realty Co.'s Plot; 1/8 acres'. The other was: 'Patenaude, William, M. F. Dist. 10; Champlain ...


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