New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

Holland v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-033-022, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-66837


Synopsis


Late claim motion denied lack of jurisdiction

Case Information

UID:
2003-033-022
Claimant(s):
RICHARD HOLLAND
Claimant short name:
Holland
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
None
Motion number(s):
M-66837
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JAMES J. LACK
Claimant's attorney:
Richard Holland, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney GeneralBy: Anne C. Leahey, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 18, 2003
City:
Hauppauge
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

.
Decision

This is a motion by Richard Holland (hereinafter "movant") for permission to file a late claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act §10(6), based upon an alleged false robbery verdict, false arrest, false imprisonment, deprivation of counsel, malicious prosecution, deprivation of constitutional rights, fraud and duress.[1]


Movant alleges the incident underlying this claim arose on June 16, 2000 when he was falsely arrested for robbery by Suffolk County Police instead of a man named Frederick Booker. He further alleges he was deprived to the right of counsel for the false arrest in Suffolk County District Court on June 17, 2000.

Movant states he was speaking to a woman named Bonnie Wells on June 16, 2000 in Wyandanch. After walking away, he was arrested and charged with a felony by the Suffolk County Police. A trial verdict of guilty was rendered on March 19, 2001 and movant was sentenced to serve seven years on April 24, 2001. Movant claims he was deprived of the right to a fair cross section of the community on jury selection and jury at trial.

In order to determine whether to grant a timely made application for permission to file a late claim, the Court must consider, among any other relevant factors, the six statutory factors set forth in Court of Claims Act §10(6):
(1) whether the delay in filing the claim was excusable;
(2) whether the State had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim;
(3) whether the State had an opportunity to investigate the circumstances
underlying the claim;
(4) whether the claim appears to be meritorious;
(5) whether the failure to file or serve a timely claim or serve a timely

notice of intention resulted in substantial prejudice to the State; and
(6) whether the movant has another available remedy

The Court in the exercise of its discretion balances these factors, and, as a general rule, the presence or absence of any one factor is not dispositive (Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV v New York State Employees' Retirement System Policemen's and Firemen's Retirement System, 55 NY2d 979).

Movant alleges in his Affidavit that he was under the impression he had to overturn the false conviction before he could file in the Court and has a mental and physical impairment added to by the false arrest and conviction of March 24, 2001. Ignorance of the law and incarceration are not adequate excuses. Movant does not have another available remedy. If movant prevails on his appeal or is pardoned, he can bring an action in the Court of Claims for unjust conviction and imprisonment under Court of Claim Act §8-b.

The second, third and fifth factors (notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; an opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; and whether the delay resulted in substantial prejudice to the State) are related. The Court will consider these factors together. Movant states in his proposed claim that he was falsely arrested in Wyandanch by the Suffolk County Police. This fact fails to show how the State is at fault. The State did not have notice or an opportunity to investigate since the arrest was made by the Suffolk County Police. In this case there will be prejudice to the State.

While the presence or absence of any one of the six factors is not dispositive, (see Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV v New York State Employees' Retirement System Policemen's and Firemen's Retirement System, 55 NY2d 979), the most critical factor always is the apparent merit of the proposed claim. The movant need only establish that the proposed claim is not patently groundless, frivolous or legally defective and there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action exists (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Auth., 92 Misc 2d 1). If a movant cannot meet this low threshold and the claim is patently without merit it would be meaningless and futile for the Court to grant the application even if all the other factors in Court of Claims Act §10(6) weighed in favor of the movant's request.

In the instant case, movant has been convicted of a felony by a trial verdict rendered in Suffolk County Court on March 19, 2001 and was sentenced to seven years in jail on April 24, 2001(see Sentence and Commitment). Movant alleges he was falsely accused, convicted and falsely imprisoned. As of this date, there is no indication that movant's conviction has been reversed or vacated or that he was found not guilty at a new trial. Movant remains incarcerated. Therefore, this Court does not have jurisdiction in this matter (Court of Claims Act§9). In his notice of motion and proposed claim, movant implicates the County of Suffolk rather than the State. If movant is able to have his conviction reversed on an appeal then he would have a claim under Court of Claims Act §8-b for unjust conviction and imprisonment and this Court would have jurisdiction. At this time, the Court concludes that there is no appearance of merit.

Based on the foregoing, the Court concludes that the majority of the statutory factors disfavor movant's application. Therefore, movant's application to file a late claim is denied.


September 18, 2003
Hauppauge, New York

HON. JAMES J. LACK
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]
The following papers have been read and considered on movant's motion for permission to file a late claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act §10(6): Notice of Motion filed May 12, 2003; Movant's Affidavit in Support of motion dated May 28, 2003 and filed June 10, 2003; Memorandum in Support of movant's Affidavit dated May 28, 2003 and filed June 10, 2003; Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to movant's motion made by Anne C. Leahey, Esq., dated June 19, 2003 and filed July 2, 2003.