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People v. Young

Supreme Court of New York, Third Department

June 21, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, Respondent,
v.
ERIC S. YOUNG, Appellant.

          Calendar Date: May 1, 2018

          Teresa C. Mulliken, Harpersfield, for appellant.

          Karen A. Heggen, District Attorney, Ballston Spa (Gordon W. Eddy of counsel), for respondent.

          Before: Garry, P.J., McCarthy, Devine, Aarons and Pritzker, JJ.

          Devine, J.

         Appeal from an order of the County Court of Saratoga County (Catena, J.), entered April 13, 2015, which granted a motion by the People for limited disclosure of a presentence investigation report pursuant to CPL 390.50.

         Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree in Saratoga County, and a presentence investigation report (hereinafter PSI) was prepared for County Court prior to his 2006 sentencing. Several years later, an indictment was handed up in Schenectady County charging defendant with various offenses. The Schenectady County District Attorney believed that the PSI contained information relevant to the new criminal action and, as a result, applied to County Court for the limited disclosure and use of the PSI. County Court granted that request, prompting this appeal by defendant.

         "No appeal lies from a determination made in a criminal proceeding [or action] unless specifically provided for by statute" (People v Hernandez, 98 N.Y.2d 8, 10 [2002] [citation omitted]; see CPL art 450; People v Smith, 27 N.Y.3d 643, 647 [2016]). The Saratoga County District Attorney appears on this appeal to argue that the appeal has been taken from an order issued in a criminal action and that, due to the lack of statutory authority, it must be dismissed. Under the facts of this case, we agree.

         CPL 390.50 (1) provides for the confidentiality of a PSI, but permits disclosure "to any person or public or private agency... upon specific authorization of the [sentencing] court" (see People v Fishel, 128 A.D.3d 15, 18 [2015]; Holmes v State of New York, 140 A.D.2d 854, 855 [1988]). The criminal action that produced the PSI "terminate[d] with the imposition of sentence, " making the present application to County Court a new proceeding or action of some sort (CPL 1.20 [16]). The nature of that proceeding is not defined by CPL 390.50 and, inasmuch as "County Court is vested with both criminal and civil jurisdiction, " it need not be criminal in nature (People v Hoppe, 239 A.D.2d 777, 777 [1997]; see NY Const, art VI, § 11 [a]; Matter of Abrams [John Anonymous], 62 N.Y.2d 183, 190 [1984]). Indeed, we have entertained appeals from orders seeking disclosure of a PSI in connection with collateral administrative matters, such as applications for inmate programs and appearances before the Board of Parole (see e.g. Matter of Rogner v People, 81 A.D.3d 1092, 1092 [2011]; Matter of Davis v People, 52 A.D.3d 997, 997 [2008]; Matter of Campney v People, 279 A.D.2d 882, 882 [2001]; Matter of Kilgore v People, 274 A.D.2d 636, 636-637 [2000]; Matter of Allen v People, 243 A.D.2d 1039, 1039-1040 [1997]), as well as civil actions (see Holmes v State of New York, 140 A.D.2d at 855) [1]. It is accordingly incumbent upon us to "'look[] to the true nature of [the] proceeding [or action] and to the relief sought in order' to determine whether the proceeding [or action] is a special civil [matter] giving rise to an appealable order or, instead, a criminal proceeding [or action] for which an appeal must be statutorily authorized" (Matter of 381 Search Warrants Directed to Facebook, Inc. [New York County Dist. Attorney's Off.], 29 N.Y.3d 231, 245 [2017], quoting Matter of Abrams [John Anonymous], 62 N.Y.2d at 191; see Matter of Hynes v Karassik, 47 N.Y.2d 659, 661 n 1 [1979]).

         In that regard, the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office applied for disclosure of the PSI with the aim of using it in a pending criminal action against defendant. The application therefore "relate[s] to a prospective, pending or completed criminal action" so as to constitute a criminal matter, and statutory authorization is required to appeal from any order emanating from it (CPL 1.20 [18] [b]). No such authorization can be found in CPL 450.10 or 450.15 and, thus, the present appeal must be dismissed (see People v Brunner, 274 A.D.2d 977, 977 [2000]; People v Wosu, 256 A.D.2d 1247, 1248 [4th Dept 1998]).

         As a final matter, defendant was convicted of various offenses in the Schenectady County matter. The order issued by County Court, even though it came from a court different from the one of conviction, could nevertheless "properly be considered as a part of the record of the case by an appellate court upon an appeal from [the] judgment of conviction" therein (CPL 1.20 [16] [b]). Defendant is free, as a result, to attack the propriety of County Court's order upon his direct appeal from the judgment of conviction in Schenectady County (see CPL 450.10 [1]).

          Garry, P.J., McCarthy, Aarons and Pritzker, JJ., concur.

         ORDERED that the ...


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