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,
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.