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PEOPLE STATE NEW YORK v. ANGEL SOTO (04/28/69)

NEW YORK SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, FIRST DEPARTMENT 1969.NY.41346 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 315 N.Y.S.2d 30; 64 Misc. 2d 515 April 28, 1969 THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT,v.ANGEL SOTO, APPELLANT Appeal from a judgment of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, County of New York, rendered March 12, 1969, committing defendant to the New York City Reformatory. Concur -- Hofstadter, J. P., Streit and Markowitz, JJ. Author: Per Curiam


Appeal from a judgment of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, County of New York, rendered March 12, 1969, committing defendant to the New York City Reformatory.

Concur -- Hofstadter, J. P., Streit and Markowitz, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

Defendant pleaded guilty as a youthful offender on the underlying charge of criminal trespass in the second degree. He was sentenced to the New York City Reformatory for an indefinite period. Defendant argues that under Matter of Hogan v. Rosenberg (24 N.Y.2d 207) decided by the Court of Appeals on March 6, 1969, the court below lacked jurisdiction to impose the reformatory sentence.

 In People v. Fuller (24 N.Y.2d 292, 301) (decided April 10, 1969), dealing with the convicted-addict program, the Court of Appeals held that since non-criminal addicts were granted the right to a jury "in failing to accord a convicted addict a jury trial on the issue of his addiction, section 208 (subd. 2) of the Mental Hygiene Law violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." The ruling was made despite the adoption by the court of the basic premise that the narcotic control program "is and constitutionally must be a rehabilitative one."

The issue in both proceedings is identical. A convicted addict committed to the control of the commission is in theory subjected to the same intensive rehabilitation program as is the addict committed under the purely civil program. In addition, the convicted addict is to be released when cured, whether or not the length of deprivation of freedom is proportional to the gravity of the act for which he or she was committed (see Mental Hygiene Law, § 204). (People v. Fuller, supra, p. 304.)

From the point of view of sentence to a reformatory, there is no material difference between sentence as a young adult and that of a youthful offender. Under article 75 of the Penal Law a young adult, in lieu of any other sentence, could be sent for an indefinite period to a State or local reformatory (with limitations not here pertinent), for a maximum period of four years in the case of a State institution and three years in the case of a local institution. In the alternative, he could have been put on probation (Penal Law, § 65.00), or given a conditional (Penal Law, § 65.05) or unconditional discharge (Penal Law, § 65.20) or a prison sentence under section 70.15 of the Penal Law. In the case of a youthful offender, the disposition is the same but for the elimination of the definite prison sentence (Code Crim. Pro., § 913-m). "The court must impose one of the following sentences prescribed by the penal law :

"a) A sentence of probation;

"b) A sentence of conditional discharge;

"c) A sentence of unconditional discharge; or

"d) A reformatory or an alternate local reformatory sentence of imprisonment ". (Emphasis supplied.)

"The provisions of this code and of the penal law shall apply to this title insofar as they are applicable and not inconsistent herewith." (Code Crim. Pro., § 913-q.)

In Matter of Hogan v. Rosenberg (supra, p. 213) which involved a young adult, the Court of Appeals read Duncan v. Louisiana (391 U.S. 145) "for the proposition that statutes which make crimes punishable by imprisonment for terms of two years or more are to be viewed as serious, notwithstanding how the people of a particular jurisdiction might characterize the crime."

Judge Scileppi wrote for the majority of the court (p. 220): "Appellant has advanced the argument that the sentencing of a young adult to a reformatory is not punishment at all but rather is purely of a rehabilitative nature and, therefore, should not be considered in determining the petty vs. serious question. It is our opinion that the argument must necessarily fall in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Matter of Gault (387 U.S. 1). * * *

"Under the new Penal Law, an adult convicted of a misdemeanor can in no event receive a sentence greater than one year and, therefore as to him, under the rationale of the companion case, the crime is petty. A young adult, however, convicted of the same crime may, pursuant to article 75, receive a reformatory ...


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