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Richard King, Daniel Rivera v. andrew M Cuomo

January 4, 2011

RICHARD KING, DANIEL RIVERA,
JOSE OTERO, NELSON FERMIN,
HARVIL ST. LOUIS, ERIC SANTIAGO,
SHAWN COLEMAN, FREDDIE PICKENS,
MAURICE MALLETTE, KEVIN RESHARD,
ADAM NADLER, KENNETH BRYE,
(SHS) DERRICK STOREY, TEDDY DALEY,
LANDEL ELLIS, DERYCK JACKSON, SALVATORE RUSSO, DARRELL WILLIAMS,
STANLEY JOHNSON, KEVIN HILTON,
DONNELL HOYES, PETER PRICE, AKA WADE GRAVES, EDWARD EALEY, AKA EDWARD JONES,
WILLIE LOYD, MARIO COX, SHAWN APPLEBY,
SCOTT GULDI, JOSEPH AMICO, AVANT BURRIS,
JOSE SANTOS, JEFFREY WATKINS,
CECIL RICHARDSON, AKA AHKIM ZIMBAR, AND THOMAS TAYLOR, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THEIR CLASS SIMILARLY SITUATED PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ANDREW M CUOMO, ATTORNEY GENERAL, IN HIS PERSONAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, ELIOT SPITZER IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY AS FORMER ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY AS FORMER GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR DAVID PATTERSON, IN HIS PERSONAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, BRIAN FISCHER,COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, LUCIEN J LECLAIRE, FORMER ACTING COMMISSIONER DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, ANTHONY J. ANNUCI, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTIONS AND LEGAL COUNSEL, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, JOHN PATTERSON,FORMER EXECUTIVE COMMISSIONER, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY,AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sidney H. Stein, U.S. District Judge

OPINION & ORDER

Various plaintiffs have brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Ãé§ 1983 to seek redress of alleged violations of their rights pursuant to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Specifically, plaintiffs contend that the imposition of post-release supervision-whether administratively imposed by the New York State Department of Correctional Services or subsequently imposed by New York State courts through judicial resentencing pursuant to Correction Law Ãé§ 601-d-after they had served their determinate sentences subjects plaintiffs to multiple punishments in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution. Plaintiffs seek damages from several state officials in their individual capacities and declaratory relief from the State of New York and state officials in their official capacities. The defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Because the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity and the Eleventh Amendment otherwise bars plaintiffs' claims, the Court grants defendants' motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Legal Background In 1998, the New York legislature enacted "Jenna's Law," which requires the imposition of post-release supervision ("PRS") "as a mandatory follow-up period to a determinate sentence for violent felony offenders." State v. Myers, 22 Misc. 3d 809, 812-13, 870 N.Y.S.2d 757 (Sup. Ct. Albany Co. 2008); see also N.Y. Penal Law Ãé§ 70.45 (1999) ("Each determinate sentence also includes, as a part thereof, an additional period of post-release supervision."). For several years after the enactment, if the sentencing court did not impose a period of PRS at the time it imposed a determinate sentence, the Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") imposed post-release supervision administratively and New York appellate courts consistently upheld that administrative imposition of PRS. See, e.g., Collins v. State, 69 A.D.3d 46, 50, 887 N.Y.S.2d 400 (4th Dep't 2009) (citations omitted); Myers, 22 Misc. 3d at 811, 812-13.

Then, on June 9, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit applied the seventy-year-old United States Supreme Court decision in Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler and held that DOCS' imposition of extra-judicial sentences of PRS violated federal law. Earley v. Murray, 451 F.3d 71, 76 (2d Cir. 2006). Nevertheless, following the Second Circuit's decision in Earley, three of the four appellate departments in New York continued to uphold the administrative imposition of PRS. Myers, 22 Misc. 3d at 813 n.9 (listing several cases from the first, third, and fourth appellate departments (citations omitted)).

In April 2008, approximately two years after Earley, the New York Court of Appeals held in Garner v. N.Y. State Dep't Corr. Servs., 10 N.Y.3d 358, 859 N.Y.S.2d 590 (2008) and People v. Sparber, 10 N.Y.3d 457, 859 N.Y.S.2d 582 (2008), that PRS imposed by anyone other than a judge violates New York State law. See Garner, 10 N.Y.3d at 362. After these Court of Appeals decisions, there was significant confusion in the lower New York State courts "about what to do if the prisoner was already released on PRS" because "Garner and Sparber did not provide much guidance." Mickens v. State, 25 Misc. 3d 191, 196-97, 881 N.Y.S.2d 854 (N.Y. Ct. Cl. 2009). However, in June 2008, the New York State legislature enacted section 601-d of the Correction Law, which "provide[s] a mechanism for courts to consider resentencing defendants serving determinate sentences without court-ordered post-release supervision terms," People v. Williams, 14 N.Y.3d 198, 206, 899 N.Y.S.2d 76, 925 N.E.2d 878 (2010); see also Mickens, 25 Misc. 3d at 198.

In the wake of Correction Law Ãé§ 601-d several courts found that sentencing a defendant to PRS after he had already served his determinate sentence violated the Double Jeopardy Clause, see, e.g., People v. Washington, 21 Misc. 3d 349, 352-54, 867 N.Y.S.2d 855 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2008), while other courts found that because there could be no legitimate expectation in the finality of an illegal sentence, resentencing after the service of a determinate sentence did not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause, see, e.g., People v. Hernandez, 59 A.D.2d 180, 181, 872 N.Y.S.2d 455 (1st Dep't 2009); People v. Noor, No. 1285/99, 2008 WL 5501021, at *1-2 (Sup. Ct. Queens Co. Dec. 9, 2008). On February 23, 2010, the New York Court of Appeals resolved those differences and held that "the Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits a court from resentencing the defendant to the mandatory term of PRS after the defendant has served the determinate term of imprisonment and has been released from confinement by DOCS." Williams, 14 N.Y.3d at 217.

B. Factual Background Prior to 2008, each of the thirty-three plaintiffs who have brought this action either pled guilty to, or was convicted of, "different crimes at different times and were given determinate sentences by different Justices of the Supreme Court of New York." (Compl. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 18, 30-37.)*fn1

Although their determinate sentences varied in length, (id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 30-37), each plaintiff's "judicial orders . . . did not contain any Post Release Supervision [] orders," (id. Ãé¶ 18), and each plaintiff served his respective term of PRS after service of the determinate sentence, (id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 30-37). These periods of PRS were administratively imposed by DOCS rather than by a judge. (Id. Ãé¶ 18.) Several of the plaintiffs were re-incarcerated while serving their extra-judicial terms of PRS because they violated the conditions of PRS. (See, e.g., id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 31, 33, 35, 37(iv), 37(xviii).)

After these plaintiffs were re-incarcerated, three filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus to object to their re-incarceration, (id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 31, 37(xviii), 37(xxiv)), and courts allegedly granted at least two of those petitions, (id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 37(xviii), 37(xxiv)).

Plaintiffs allege that defendants initiated resentencing procedures after several plaintiffs had served their determinate sentences. (Id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 32, 37(viii), 37(xvii), 37(xviii), 37(xxiii), 37(xxiv), 37(xxix).) Although the allegations often do not provide specific details, it appears that one or more courts declined to resentence certain of the plaintiffs who objected to the procedure. (Id. Ãé¶Ãé¶ 32, 37(xvii), 37(xxiii), 37(xxix)). Plaintiffs do specify that one plaintiff, Darrell Williams, was resentenced to three years of PRS after he had served his determinate sentence. (id. Ãé¶ 37(viii).) This is the same Darrell Williams whose resentencing was declared to be an unconstitutional violation of his 5th Amendment right not to be subject to double jeopardy by the New York Court of Appeals in February 2010. See Williams 14 N.Y.3d at 217.

Plaintiffs allege that "[a]t all relevant times, each defendant, in his/her different position/s knew of the violations [of plaintiffs' constitutional rights] and had the position and authority to stop the violations [] but instead personally and, in concert with other [d]efendants, instituted, defended, and enforced the unconstitutional violations." (Compl. Ãé¶ 9.) To redress these alleged violations, plaintiffs (1) seek a declaration that the administrative imposition of PRS following service of a determinate sentence violates a prisoner's right not to be subjected to double jeopardy, (2) seek a declaration that the operation of Correction Law Ãé§ 601-d which requires the resentencing of a prisoner to PRS following service of his determinate sentence unconstitutionally subjects prisoners to multiple punishments, and (3) seek damages, ...


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