New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ALLEN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-040-002, Claim No. 110636, Motion No. M-72399


Motion to quash subpoena granted as only the court in charge of the grand jury may release the grand jury minutes.

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):

Claimant’s attorney:
Michael R. Scolnick, P.C.By: Michael R. Scolnick, Esq.
Defendant’s attorney:
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Lea La Ferlita, Esq., AAG

For Queens County District Attorney:
District Attorney of Queens County
By: Jasmine Chang, Esq., ADA and Ushir Pandit, Esq., ADA
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
January 22, 2007

Official citation:
14 Misc 3d 1128(A)
Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


For the reasons set forth below, the motion by the Queens County District Attorney to quash the portion of a subpoena for the Grand Jury minutes in connection with the case People v David Allen (Queens County Indictment No. 1170/98) is granted.

This Claim, which was filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court on March 14, 2005, asserts that Claimant was unjustly convicted and imprisoned, and is brought pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 8-b.

Claimant and six others were convicted, sentenced to prison and incarcerated in connection with an attack and robbery of a food deliveryman on March 20, 1998.

The Appellate Division, Second Department reversed the convictions of four co-defendants on the ground that they were stopped and detained by police without reasonable suspicion (see People v Brandon Hargroves, 296 AD2d 581; People v Lavar Hargroves, 296 AD2d 582; People v Strickland, 296 AD2d 584; and People v Wright, 296 AD2d 585).

The Appellate Division, Second Department subsequently reversed the conviction of another co-defendant on the same ground as the others (see People v Tyree Hargroves, 303 AD2d 766).

Claimant sought summary reversal of his conviction, arguing that, because there was no distinction between the facts and circumstances of his stop and the stop of his co-defendants in the four decided cases, the same rule of law should be applied to his case.

The Queens County District Attorney’s office (hereinafter Queens D.A.) agreed that there was no distinction that could be drawn and took no position on Claimant’s application. On March 24, 2003, the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed Claimant’s conviction.

On or about May 16, 2006, Claimant sought, and Judge Alan C. Marin of this Court issued, a subpoena duces tecum commanding the Queens D.A. to produce all documents and records pertaining to the prosecution of Claimant under Queens County Indictment No. 1170/98, including certified copies of the Grand Jury minutes. The subpoena directed the Queens D.A. to produce the requested documents by June 16, 2006.

On June 15, 2006, the Queens D.A. submitted a letter to Judge Marin regarding the subpoena, asserting that the Queens D.A. did not receive the subpoena until June 13, 2006 and, thus, that it was not possible for it to comply with the subpoena in such a short time. The letter also states that Claimant failed to provide the Queens D.A. with the notice required by § 2307 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules prior to seeking a subpoena from the Court. The Queens D.A. requested more time to comply with the subpoena and also informed the Court that it intended to move to quash the subpoena as it related to the disclosure of Grand Jury minutes and any other privileged documents.

A Motion to Quash was filed on October 13, 2006. In it, the Queens D.A. argues that Claimant has failed to provide a compelling and particularized justification for the disclosure of Grand Jury minutes and that the public interest in helping Claimant prepare for trial is insufficient to overcome the strong public interest in maintaining the secrecy of Grand Jury minutes. The Queens D.A. asserts that it has complied with the subpoena to the extent that all non-privileged documents were mailed to Claimant’s counsel.

By Order of Presiding Judge Richard E. Sise, filed November 9, 2006, this Claim was transferred from the Individual Assignment Calendar of Judge Alan C. Marin to the Individual Assignment Calendar of the undersigned. This Motion to Quash was also transferred to the undersigned.

It is settled law that only the Court in charge of the Grand Jury may release testimony from the secrecy requirement of CPL §190.25 (4) (People v Astacio, 173 AD2d 834; Ivey v State of New York, 138 AD2d 962). The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and possesses only such jurisdiction as the Legislature confers upon it. The Court of Claims has no jurisdiction over Grand Jury proceedings and cannot order disclosure of Grand Jury minutes (Ivey v State of New York, supra: Montes v State of New York, 94 Misc 2d 972). Thus, at bar, only the Queens County Supreme Court had jurisdiction over the subject minutes. Claimant’s counsel should seek an order from that Court for release of the desired Grand Jury minutes.

The Motion to Quash the portion of the subpoena directing the release of Grand Jury minutes is granted.

January 22, 2007
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on the Motion to Quash:

Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion to Quash, Affirmation

and Memorandum of Law 1

Assistant Attorney General’s Affirmation 2

Claimant’s Affirmation in Opposition

and Memorandum of Law Attached 3

Affirmation in Reply and Exhibits Attached 4