New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
BROWN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2010-015-184, Claim No. 114436, Motion No. M-78578


Defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing claim which alleged an improper sentence computation was granted.

Case information

UID: 2010-015-184
Claimant(s): THURMAN J. BROWN
Claimant short name: BROWN
Footnote (claimant name) :
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 114436
Motion number(s): M-78578
Cross-motion number(s):
Claimant's attorney: Thurman J. Brown, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: John L. Belford, IV, Esquire
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: October 27, 2010
City: Saratoga Springs
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant moves for dismissal of the claim pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (1), (2), (5) and (7) and for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212.

The claim filed October 31, 2007 alleges a cause of action for false imprisonment as follows:

"On or about OCTOBER 7, 1996, NASSAU COUNTY FIRST DISTRICT COURT at 98 MAIN STREET, HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK, issued an Order Pursuant to Criminal Procedural Law 160.50 Upon Termination of Criminal Action In Favor Of The Accused, that encompass case docket numbers 29226/96, 29222/96, 29223/96, 29224/96, and 29225/96 (See SEAL ORDER attached at A). By operation of law 160.50 (1) (d), NEW YORK DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES reported docket number Seal of ALL cases (See 10-18-07 event date response at B). Claimant was intentionally confined by defendant even though by operation of Law CPL 160.50 (2) (a) - (h) dismisses accusatory instrument, the State forced me to represent myself at an illegal trial, sentencing, and post collateral attack proceedings when CPL 160.50 had terminated criminal action in my favor which I was never told. The False Imprisonment has been on-going since disposition date of 160.50 termination 10-07-96" [sic].

In support of its motion for summary judgment defendant submits, inter alia, the Commitment Order and Sentence and Commitment papers relating to various criminal convictions of the claimant (defendant's Exhibit C [3]) and an affirmation of Richard de Simone, Associate Counsel in Charge of the Office of Sentencing Review. Mr. de Simone avers that the claimant was confined pursuant to a valid commitment order and that his sentence computation was correct. Mr. de Simone also avers that "[t]he claimant based the present proceeding upon the allegation that he was falsely imprisoned pursuant to terms of imprisonment imposed . . . on December 1, 1997. Inasmuch as the same allegation was considered and rejected previously on numerous occasions by courts of competent jurisdiction, it is this Department's position that the claimant is not entitled to the relief sought herein" (defendant's Exhibit C, de Simone affirmation, 9).

In a Decision and Order Judgment dated November 6, 2008 the Honorable Michael C. Lynch dismissed claimant's article 78 petition which sought to challenge his continued imprisonment, stating, in pertinent part, the following:

"Here, the Court is satisfied that petitioner is not entitled to the relief he seeks. Petitioner does not demonstrate any basis to warrant deviation from the general rule that respondent is 'conclusively bound by the contents of the commitment papers accompanying an inmate' (Murray v. Goord, 1 NY3d 29, 32). The petitioner's present convictions did not arise from cases that were dismissed, but from an indictment that was not dismissed (Brown v. Connell, 07-CV-1261, McEvoy, J., [NDNY March 13, 2008]). Further, the December 1, 1997 convictions have been upheld (People v. Brown, 258 AD2d 661, app. den. 93 NY2d 897, cert. den. 528 US 860) and petitioner's prior application for habeas corpus relief was denied" (People ex. rel. Brown v. People, 295 AD2d 834, lv. Den. 98 NY2d 613, cert denied 537 US 1175)" (defendant's Exhibit C [6]).

In order to establish a cause of action for wrongful confinement, the claimant must establish that the defendant confined him without his consent, he was aware of the confinement and that the confinement was not privileged (Broughton v State of New York, 37 NY2d 451, 456 [1975], cert denied sub nom Schanbarger v Kellogg, 423 US 929 [1975]). "[W]here a facially valid order issued by a court with proper jurisdiction directs confinement, that confinement is privileged and everyone connected with the matter is protected from liability for false imprisonment" (Holmberg v County of Albany, 291 AD2d 610, 612 [2002], lv denied 98 NY2d 604 [2002]) (citation omitted); see also Nuernberger v State of New York, 41 NY2d 111 [1976]). Prison officials are "conclusively bound" by the commitment papers and cannot add or detract therefrom (Matter of Murray v Goord, 1 NY3d 29, 32 [2003]; Middleton v State of New York, 54 AD2d 450 [1976], affd 43 NY2d 678 [1977]).

Moreover, claimant's criminal convictions were affirmed on appeal (People v Brown, 258 AD2d 661 [1999], lv denied 93 NY2d 897 [1999], cert denied Brown v New York, 528 US 860 [1999]; People v Brown, 15 AD3d 414 [2005], lv denied 4 NY3d 884 [2005] and his petition for a writ of habeas corpus denied (People ex rel. Brown v People, 295 AD2d 834 [2002], lv denied 98 NY2d 613 [2002], cert denied 537 US 1175 [2003]) as was an application pursuant to article 78 seeking recalculation of his release dates (Matter of Brown v Annucci, 60 AD3d 1223 [2009]).(1) Accordingly, claimant is precluded from relitigating the propriety of the confinement under the guise of a claim for money damages in the Court of Claims (Parker v Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Co., 93 NY2d 343 [1999]; McMillian v State of New York, 267 AD2d 78 [1999]; Lublin v State of New York, 135 Misc 2d 419, 420 [Ct Cl 1987]).

Based on the foregoing, defendant's motion is granted and the claim is dismissed.

October 27, 2010

Saratoga Springs, New York


Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:

  1. Notice of motion dated June 22, 2010;
  2. Affirmation of John L. Belford, IV dated July 22, 2009 [sic] with exhibits;
  3. Affirmation of Richard de Simone dated July 21, 2010 with exhibits;
  4. Unsworn statement of Thurman J. Brown dated July 31, 2010 with exhibits.

1. Claimant also commenced an action in federal court pursuant to 42 USC 1983 which was dismissed (Brown v Wolstein, 71 Fed Appx 96 [2d Cir 2003]).