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UNITED STATES EX REL. ABATE v. MALCOLM

July 15, 1975

UNITED STATES ex rel. NICHOLAS ABATE, Petitioner-Relator,
v.
BENJAMIN MALCOLM, Commissioner of Corrections, and WARDEN, Rikers Island Prison, Respondents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PLATT

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER (July 17, 1975)

 PLATT, D.J.

 By an order to show cause, a petition and an affidavit verified by his attorney, petitioner-relator seeks a writ of habeas corpus releasing him on bail during the pendency of his appeal from a conviction of possession of stolen property after trial by jury on April 1, 1975, before The Honorable Albert H. Buschmann who sentenced him on May 16, 1975 to a term of one year.

 On May 22, 1975, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal and by order to show cause signed by Mr. Justice James D. Hopkins of the Appellate Division, Second Department, moved for bail pending appeal which motion was denied by Mr. Justice Henry J. Latham on May 30, 1975, without any opinion or reason given for such denial.

 The petitioner moved to re-argue and such motion was denied again without opinion on June 17, 1975. Thereafter, petitioner made application to Judge Fuchsberg of the New York Court of Appeals and again his application was denied without opinion.

 The Assistant District Attorney states in his opposing papers that:

 
"* * * [During] the proceedings at the trial court level petitioner forfeited his originally posted bail of $3500. He was subsequently brought to Court by agents of the bail bonding company. Petitioner has contended in papers submitted to the Appellate Division, Second Department, that his failure to appear was due to a clerical error. However, this fact is not substantiated in any papers which have previously been submitted.
 
"* * * Petitioner failed to appear in Court on June 16, 1975, for surrender and that on June 17, 1975 the Honorable Bernard Dubin found it necessary to issue a bench warrant for defendant. Although petitioner did eventually willingly surrender, this failure to appear coupled with the earlier failure * * * are factors which this Court should consider in making its determination."

 The Assistant District Attorney on the oral argument also claimed that the petitioner had a prior record but as it turns out such record consists of two State Court convictions for offenses which occurred some 30 years ago.

 Petitioner states that he is a 60 year old man who lives with his family in Queens County, owns his own business and has had three major operations in the past two years and is now in the hospital at Rikers Island where he was placed upon his surrender to serve his sentence on June 17, 1975.

 Petitioner claims further that since his arrest on the present charges, he made more than 50 court appearances and at the time of his trial and sentence was free on his own recognizance.

 Petitioner further claims that there are good grounds for his appeal in that his conviction arose out of an illegal arrest, search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and in that despite his challenge to the jury panel (on which there was only one woman) both prior to and at the outset of his trial under Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522, 95 S. Ct. 692, 42 L. Ed. 2d 690 (1975), and under Chapter 21 of the New York Laws of 1975, effective March 18, 1975, his challenge was denied.

 Finally, petitioner argues that his sentence was for a term of only one year, that the Appellate Division will not hear argument on his appeal until the September or October Term, and that by the time of the Appellate Division's decision on such appeal he will have in all probability served the greater part, if not all, of his sentence.

 In reply the Assistant District Attorney states that the time for the filing of petitioner's brief on appeal to be heard in the September Term has already expired and that petitioner ...


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