|SAME AS||No Same As|
|Add Art 13-B §§268 - 268-d, Exec L|
|Establishes the conviction review commission to review and reinvestigate cases involving wrongful convictions and to research developments in forensic science which may affect the outcome of criminal cases.|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A9861 SPONSOR: Quart
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to creating the conviction review commission and providing for such commission's powers and duties   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill will create a framework for a statewide Conviction Review Commission to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 creates a new article 13-B in the executive law. Section 2 sets the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: According to the National Registry of Exonerations, New York is second only to Texas in the number of exonerations (262), from 1989 to 2018. While this might give the appearance that our criminal justice system is working to correct problems, it's not a record to be proud of. Each exoneration is a tragic story - an average of 10 years of unjust impri- sonment, a trail of personal misery for families of the exoneree, heart- wrenching turmoil for victims and their families, untold millions of public dollars spent in an attempt to compensate the wrongly convicted and a missed opportunity to identify the real perpetrator who remains at large. However, New York has not adopted a statewide mechanism to examine the scope of the problem nor to remedy it. The District Attorneys in eight of our sixty-two counties (Bronx, Erie, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Putnam, Suffolk) have established conviction review units, but even this is an ad hoc approach with a built-in bias: prosecutors are asked to investigate the very cases which their offices originally pursued. This legislation will create a statewide Conviction Review Commission that will accept applications for review of individual convictions. The Commission will also stay up to date on the latest research and proac- tively reinvestigate categories of cases that are likely to have been wrongly decided, including cases that depend on debunked kinds of evidence and cases with untrustworthy law enforcement witnesses.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: 90 days after becoming law.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 9861 IN ASSEMBLY February 20, 2020 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. QUART -- read once and referred to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to creating the conviction review commission and providing for such commission's powers and duties The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. The executive law is amended by adding a new article 13-B 2 to read as follows: 3 ARTICLE 13-B 4 CONVICTION REVIEW COMMISSION 5 Section 268. Definition. 6 268-a. Conviction review commission. 7 268-b. Purpose and conduct of the commission. 8 268-c. Powers and duties. 9 268-d. Use of information. 10 § 268. Definition. As used in this article, "commission" shall mean 11 the conviction review commission established pursuant to section two 12 hundred sixty-eight-a of this article. 13 § 268-a. Conviction review commission. 1. The conviction review 14 commission is hereby established as an independent agency of the state. 15 a. The commission shall consist of five members as follows: 16 (i) three members appointed by the governor; 17 (ii) one member appointed by the temporary president of the senate; 18 and 19 (iii) one member appointed by the speaker of the assembly. 20 b. The five members of the commission shall include community advo- 21 cates and defense attorneys who are widely known for their professional 22 competence and experience with criminal defense, wrongful convictions, 23 or developments in the field of forensic science, and at least one of 24 whom is a defense attorney in good standing with experience filing 25 motions pursuant to article four hundred forty of the criminal procedure 26 law. EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03236-04-0A. 9861 2 1 2. The term of office of each of the members of the commission shall 2 be five years. Every vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of a 3 member's term shall be filled for the remainder of such term in the 4 manner provided for the original appointment to such term. Upon the 5 expiration of the term of a member of the commission, such member shall 6 continue to serve until his or her successor is appointed. 7 3. The governor shall designate a chairperson from the members of the 8 commission, to serve as such at the pleasure of the governor. The chair- 9 person shall be the chief executive officer of the commission. 10 4. The chairperson shall receive compensation fixed by the governor 11 and shall be reimbursed for all expenses actually and necessarily 12 incurred by him or her in the performance of his or her duties here- 13 under, within the amount made available by appropriation therefor. The 14 other members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their 15 services, but shall be reimbursed for all expenses actually and neces- 16 sarily incurred in the performance of their duties hereunder within the 17 amount made available by appropriation therefor. 18 5. The commission shall meet at least four times each year at prede- 19 termined times and locations announced in advance, and at such other 20 times as the chair of the commission or three or more members shall 21 determine to be necessary. 22 6. For any action authorized by this article, three members of the 23 commission shall constitute a quorum and, except as otherwise provided 24 in subdivision five of this section, the concurrence of at least three 25 members of the commission shall be necessary. 26 7. No member of the commission shall be disqualified from holding any 27 public office or employment, nor shall he or she forfeit any such office 28 or employment, by reason of his or her appointment pursuant to this 29 section, and the members of the commission shall be required to take and 30 file oaths of office before serving on the commission. 31 § 268-b. Purpose and conduct of the commission. 1. The commission 32 shall review cases involving a wrongful conviction and shall be author- 33 ized to reinvestigate such cases, research developments in forensic 34 science, recommend cases and categories of cases for reinvestigation, 35 and recommend reforms to lessen the likelihood of similar wrongful 36 convictions occurring in the future. 37 2. The commission shall establish a conviction review unit which shall 38 consist of the following departments: 39 a. the investigation department, which shall be responsible for inves- 40 tigating all matters brought to the commission's attention by the formal 41 filing or application process set forth by the commission; and 42 b. the research department, which shall be responsible for collecting 43 data pertaining to the work of the conviction review unit, monitoring 44 the most recent research, including forensic research, and recommending 45 cases or categories of cases for reinvestigation based upon the results 46 of such research. 47 § 268-c. Powers and duties. The commission shall have the powers and 48 duties to: 49 1. establish its own reasonable rules and procedures concerning the 50 conduct of its meetings and other affairs related to implementing the 51 provisions of this article; 52 2. employ and remove such officers, investigators and employees as it 53 may deem necessary for the performance of its powers and duties pursuant 54 to this article, and fix their compensation within the amounts made 55 available by appropriation therefor;A. 9861 3 1 3. conduct investigations and hearings, administer oaths or affirma- 2 tions, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, examine them under 3 oath or affirmation, require production of any books, records, documents 4 or other evidence that it may deem relevant or material to an investi- 5 gation, and may designate any of its members, officers or investigators 6 to exercise any such powers; provided, however, the commission shall not 7 be permitted to compel any trial judge, trial court or any appellate 8 court to provide information or records pertaining to the court's adju- 9 dicative process in rendering its decision in any case; 10 4. request and receive from any court, department, division, board, 11 bureau, commission or other agency of the state or any political subdi- 12 vision thereof or any public authority such assistance, information, 13 records and data as will enable the commission to properly carry out its 14 powers and duties; 15 5. issue preliminary reports on any investigation conducted pursuant 16 to this article, which preliminary reports shall include findings of 17 fact and recommendations; 18 6. accept requests for proposals from organizations that represent 19 petitioners in proceedings after judgment pursuant to title M of part 20 two of the criminal procedure law and enter into contracts with such 21 organizations authorizing the organizations to represent such petition- 22 ers; 23 7. research and monitor developments in forensic science and other 24 fields which may affect the outcome of criminal cases; and 25 8. perform all activities necessary to carry out the provisions of 26 this article. 27 § 268-d. Use of information. 1. No preliminary report, report or 28 portion thereof issued pursuant to this article shall be admitted into 29 evidence or used in any civil or criminal cause of action relating to a 30 matter which is the subject of such report. 31 2. The commission's election not to reinvestigate a case or initiate 32 an action on behalf of the petitioner shall not be deemed a determi- 33 nation by the commission and shall not be subject to freedom of informa- 34 tion laws pursuant to article six of the public officers law. 35 3. The determination by the commission not to reinvestigate a case or 36 initiate an action on behalf of a petitioner shall not be deemed a 37 determination and shall not be discoverable or admissible in any subse- 38 quent action, administrative hearing or hearing administered by the 39 department of corrections and community supervision. 40 4. Orders and decisions of the commission shall not be appealable. 41 5. The commission shall not be required to disclose to petitioner any 42 records, data, video or audio tape, or any other information received by 43 subpoena or other means from a district attorney's office or from any 44 court, department, division, board, bureau, commission or other agency 45 of the state or any political subdivision thereof or any public authori- 46 ty pursuant to subdivision four of section two hundred sixty-eight-c of 47 this article. 48 § 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall 49 have become a law, provided that the officials who are empowered by this 50 act to appoint members of the conviction review commission are author- 51 ized and directed to make such appointments on or before such effective 52 date pursuant to section 268-a of the executive law, as added by section 53 one of this act.