New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KEVILLY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-033-237, Claim No. 112993, Motion No. M-72767


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

James J. Lack
Claimant’s attorney:
Roman Kevilly, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney GeneralBy: Anne C. Leahey, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
March 30, 2007

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is a claim by Roman Kevilly (hereinafter “claimant”) for alleged damages based upon false arrest and false imprisonment. Claimant alleges that a conspiracy began on May 28, 1992 and that an overt act of the conspiracy occurred on July 19, 2006.

Claimant was sentenced to prison by Judge Alan Honorof in Nassau County, New York. Claimant was indicted on November 9, 1992, for Robbery 1o and Kidnaping 2o. Claimant was convicted of the charges on November 19, 1996. Claimant’s conviction was affirmed (People v Kevilly, 249 AD2d 328). On June 19, 2006, Judge Honorof denied a CPL 440 motion of claimant.

In the claim, many people are referred to as defendants. However, most of the people referred to are employees of the County of Nassau. The only person referred to in the claim that is an employee of the State of New York is Judge Honorof.

Claimant is seeking damages for the intentional torts of Judge Honorof. The latest date claimant can allege as to the actions of Judge Honorof for false imprisonment is December 17, 1996. Thus, the filing of the claim in 2006 is untimely (Court of Claims Act §10). In addition, defendant alleges that Judge Honorof is protected by judicial immunity.

The doctrine of judicial immunity is one of the oldest concepts in our common law judicial system (see Floyd v Barker, 77 Eng. Rep. 1305 [Star Chamber 1607]). The concept was later adopted in the United States. In 1871, the Supreme Court in Bradley v Fisher, 80 US (13 Wall) 335, recognized and embraced the doctrine. In Mosher-Simons v County of Allegany, 99 NY2d 214, 219, the Court of Appeals held that “it is imperative to the nature of the judicial function that Judges be free to make decisions without fear of retribution through accusations of malicious wrongdoing" (Tarter v State of New York, 68 NY2d 511, 518, 510 NYS2d 528, 503 NE2d 84 [1986]; see also Antoine v Byers & Anderson, 508 US 429, 435, 124 L Ed 2d 391, 113 S Ct 2167 [1993]). Judicial immunity discourages inappropriate collateral attacks on court rulings and fosters judicial independence by protecting courts and judges from vexatious litigation. Indeed, "[m]ost judicial mistakes or wrongs are open to correction through ordinary mechanisms of review, which are largely free of the harmful side-effects inevitably associated with exposing judges to personal liability” (Forrester v White, 484 US 219, 227, 98 L Ed 2d 555, 108 S Ct 538 [1988]). Allowing members of the judiciary to exercise independent judgment, without the threat of legal reprisal, is "critical to our judicial system" (Tarter, 68 NY2d at 518). In Tucker v Outwater, 118 F3d 930, 933, the court developed:
a two-part test for determining whether a judge is entitled to absolute immunity from damage claims. [Stump v Sparkman, 435 US 349] First, "[a] judge will not be deprived of immunity because the action he took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his authority; rather, he will be subject to liability only when he has acted in the 'clear absence of all jurisdiction.'" Id. at 356-57... (emphasis added) (quoting Bradley, 80 US at 351). Second, a judge is immune only for actions performed in his judicial capacity. Id. at 360-63...; see also Gregory v Thompson, 500 F2d 59, 62 (9th Cir 1974) (finding no immunity for assaulting litigant).

Clearly Judge Honorof acted within his authority in presiding over a criminal trial and sentencing claimant after he was found guilty. Equally clear, is that the actions performed by Judge Honorof were performed in his judicial capacity.

Based upon the foregoing, defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted[1]. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close the file.

March 30, 2007
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1].The following papers were read and considered on defendant’s motion: Notice of Motion dated December 14, 2006 and filed December 15, 2006 with annexed Exhibits A-F; Affirmation of Anne C. Leahey, Esq. with annexed Exhibits 1-3 dated December 14, 2006 and filed December 15, 2006; Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss dated December 14, 2006 and received December 15, 2006; “Notice of Motion” of Roman Kevilly dated December 19, 2006 and filed December 21, 2006; Claimants (sic) First Opposition to Respondent/Defendants Motion to Dismiss of Roman Kevilly sworn to January 12, 2007 and filed January 19, 2007.