Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

PEOPLE STATE NEW YORK EX REL. HORACE MCNEILL v. JAMES J. MORROW (07/14/69)

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, APPELLATE DIVISION, THIRD DEPARTMENT 1969.NY.42603 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 302 N.Y.S.2d 933; 32 A.D.2d 375 July 14, 1969 THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK EX REL. HORACE MCNEILL, ARTHUR WASZCYSZUK, KARL ZAPP, ARTHUR BOYLE, JOSE COLON, THOMAS SAMUELS, ANTHONY DE LESTRE AND ARTHUR JOYNER, RESPONDENTS,v.JAMES J. MORROW, AS DIRECTOR OF THE WOODBOURNE REHABILITATION CENTER, APPELLANT; THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK EX REL. MICHAEL MELTSNER, ON BEHALF OF CHARLES A. NOAK, APPELLANT, V. HAROLD W. FOLLETTE, AS WARDEN OF GREEN HAVEN PRISON, RESPONDENT Appeals from eight judgments of the Supreme Court, entered May 12, 1969, May 13, 1969, May 14, 1969 and May 15, 1969, in Sullivan County (R. Waldron Herzberg, J.), which sustained writs of habeas corpus. Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney-General (Ruth Kessler Toch and William C. Robbins of counsel), for appellant. Burton M. Ledina for Horace McNeill and another, respondents. Martin I. Lipnack for Arthur Waszcyszuk, respondent. Walter S. Gersten for Arthur Boyle and another, respondents. Theodore Drew for Jose Colon, respondent. Murry P. Gaiman for Thomas Samuels, respondent. Scheinman & Kalter (Ivan Kalter of counsel), for Anthony DeLestre, respondent. Frank S. Hogan, District Attorney (Bennett L. Gershman of counsel), for appellant in Samuels, Colon and Joyner appeals. Herlihy, J. Gibson, P. J., Reynolds, Staley, Jr., and Cooke, JJ., concur. Author: Herlihy


Appeals from eight judgments of the Supreme Court, entered May 12, 1969, May 13, 1969, May 14, 1969 and May 15, 1969, in Sullivan County (R. Waldron Herzberg, J.), which sustained writs of habeas corpus.

Herlihy, J. Gibson, P. J., Reynolds, Staley, Jr., and Cooke, JJ., concur.

Author: Herlihy

 These are appeals from eight judgments of the Supreme Court at Special Term, entered May 12, May 13, May 14 and May 15, 1969 in Sullivan County, which sustained writs of habeas corpus. No appeal was taken by the Director in the case of People ex rel. Urbano v. Morrow.

These appeals primarily concern the construction of section 210 of article 9 of the Mental Hygiene Law. This section provides for a method by which an arrested narcotic addict upon his own initiative could be committed to the Narcotic Addiction Control Commission instead of being criminally prosecuted. The respondents argue that the manner in which they were committed to the commission violated the statutory procedure and denied them of due process. Special Term accepted this argument and granted the writs, stating that "[this] omission divested the court of jurisdiction to grant an order of certification" and directing, in the event the appropriate District Attorney fails to properly recommit petitioners to the commission in the proper manner within 15 days, that they be released from the custody of the commission. This court granted a stay pending the determination of this appeal (People ex rel. McNeill v. Morrow, 32 A.D.2d 1031).

Article 9 of the Mental Hygiene Law establishes four basic ways by which an addict can be committed to a rehabilitation center. Unless otherwise specified, all statutory references herein are to the Mental Hygiene Law. Under section 206 an addict can be certified to a control center either voluntarily on his own petition or involuntarily on the petition of a relative, friend, or "anyone who believes that a person is a narcotic addict" (§ 206, subd. 2, par. a). Once the petition is made to a court, whether it be by the alleged addict himself or by another person, the Judge must promptly determine if reasonable grounds exist to believe that the person involved is an addict and, if so, to order a medical examination. Before such examination can be ordered, however, the petitioner must be advised of the consequences of this examination including the possible length of time that he will be incarcerated if he is certified as an addict, that he has a right to counsel and that he may contest a medical determination that he is an addict upon a hearing held prior to his certification (§ 206, subd. 2, par. d). Moreover, if the medical examination does in fact result in a determination that the person involved is an addict, the alleged addict must again be brought before the court, again be advised of his rights, be given a copy of the medical report, and be informed that he has a right to contest his status as an addict within the meaning of subdivision 2 of section 201 at a hearing held before a Judge or jury. If after a hearing or jury trial or upon the waiver of those rights the trier of facts concludes that the person involved is an addict, and the medical examination confirms this fact, then the alleged addict will be certified to the commission until he is rehabilitated or until the expiration of three years, whichever occurs first.

Section 207 provides that one charged with certain drug offenses or charged after October 1, 1967 with any felony or misdemeanor or the offense of prostitution, "who, while in custody or when he appears before the court, shall state, indicate or show symptoms * * * that he is a narcotic addict, shall undergo a medical examination to determine whether he is a narcotic addict." (Emphasis supplied.) Upon the completion of the examination the report should be "promptly" transmitted to the court where "the indictment, information or complaint is pending", as well as to the defendant and the District Attorney (§ 207). If subsequently the defendant is convicted or pleads guilty to the crime charged, section 208 directs that this report be used in sentencing the defendant. At sentencing the court must grant to the defendant the right to have his status as an addict adjudicated at a hearing held either before a Judge or a jury, though of course the defendant could waive his right to such a hearing if he so desires (see People v. Fuller, 24 N.Y.2d 292). If the trier of facts thereafter determines that the defendant is an addict and the crime involved is a misdemeanor or the offense of prostitution, the defendant must be certified to the commission's custody for a period of three years or until he is rehabilitated whichever occurs sooner. But if the defendant is guilty of a felony the court is given the discretion to either commit the defendant to a rehabilitation center or to sentence him under the Penal Law in the usual fashion. In either instance the defendant is a convicted criminal.

Under section 210, however, it is possible for a person charged with a crime to avoid criminal prosecution. This section permits an arrested individual who meets the eligibility requirements of the statute to apply for civil certification in lieu of trial of the criminal charge. If the certification is granted the criminal charges against the defendant are dismissed and the defendant is treated exactly as a person who is civilly committed. Section 210 as pertinent provides as follows:

"1. In any case where an indictment, information or complaint has been filed in a court against a defendant charging him with a felony, misdemeanor or the offense of prostitution, and such defendant meets the eligibility requirements set forth in subdivision two of this section, he may apply for civil certification by filing a petition with the court wherein such criminal action is pending stating that he is a narcotic addict and requesting civil certification to the care and custody of the commission.

"2. [eligibility] * * *

"3. If the court grants the application for certification, the court shall certify the defendant to the care and custody of the commission in accordance with the procedures set forth in section two hundred six of this article. In such case, all provisions applicable to a certification under section two hundred six shall apply. Upon making such certification, the court shall dismiss the criminal charge.

"4. If the court denies the application the court shall proceed with the criminal action, including in appropriate cases, the procedures provided in this article for persons alleged to be narcotic addicts and charged with a felony, misdemeanor or the offense of prostitution." (Emphasis supplied.)

It is this section which is the main concern of the present appeal. The respondents contend that they were arrested and certified pursuant to section 210 without being informed of their various rights and without being afforded the protection which they maintain the statute provides. More specifically they claim that the reference in subdivision 3 of section 210 to the "procedures set forth in section two hundred six" and to "all provisions applicable to a certification under section two hundred six", should be interpreted as mandating that the precise procedure laid down in section 206 should be applied to petitioners under section 210. Thus, the respondents contend that upon their petitioning the court for certification that they be granted a medical examination and be given a copy of the report, that they be informed of their right to counsel and the right to have a hearing before a Judge or jury prior to their certification, and that they be brought before the court no more than seven days after their examination in the same manner as a person who was civilly committed.

The appellant maintains, however, that this interpretation is not required by the statutory language. The State argues that subdivision 3 of section 210, in referring to the procedure set forth in section 206, was intended to only refer to those procedures in section 206 which occur after the alleged addict has actually been certified to the commission as a narcotic addict. Therefore, according to the appellant, section 210 merely requires that the trial court comply with section 206 (subd. 4, par. b) and the sections following which direct the manner by which an addict is to be transferred to a rehabilitation center and the manner and length of time he is to be retained there. Of course, as noted above, the trial court rejected this argument and instead determined that the reference to section 206 had a broader purpose which, the court felt, was not complied with and granted the writs.

The purpose of the law is twofold -- for the protection and rehabilitation of the drug addict and, of equal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.