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ALBANY � A man who waived his Miranda rights because he thought he was engaging in a job interview rather than an interrogation has had his conviction upheld by an appellate court. Mark E. Kuklinski had applied for a job with the State Police and, during the selection process, became the target of an investigation. Using the ruse of summoning Mr. Kuklinski for a second interview, State Police then obtained a confession that led to his guilty plea on charges of third-degree rape and first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child. In People v. Kuklinski , 14965/15426, the Appellate Division, Third Department, in a ruling by Justice Anthony J. Carpinello, agreed unanimously that Mr. Kuklinski’s guilty plea and waiver of his right to appeal “precludes consideration of the alleged improper procurement of his confession.” While seeking a State Police job, Mr. Kuklinski became the focus of a probe into allegations that he had provided alcohol and engaged in sexual relations with minors. He was invited to a second interview where he was advised of his Miranda rights. In his appeal, Mr. Kuklinski said he thought it strange that he would be read the warnings during a job interview, but was assured by the investigator conducting the interview that nothing could be used against him. That interview resulted in a three-page confession in which Mr. Kuklinski confided that when he was 21 and 22, he engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He also implicated himself in numerous other matters in which alcohol was provided to underage girls. Based on those statements, Mr. Kuklinski was arrested and charged. He waived indictment, pleaded guilty to the charges contained in a superior court information and waived his right to appeal. He was sentenced in Warren County Court to four months in jail and 10 years probation under the terms of a plea bargain. On appeal, Mr. Kuklinski claimed he was tricked into confessing. Claims Rejected But Justice Carpinello, writing for the court, said that even if Mr. Kuklinski was tricked, by the time he pleaded guilty and waived his right to appeal he “was well aware of this ruse.” The court refused to upset the conviction. It also rejected Mr. Kuklinski’s request for dismissal in the interest of justice, on the grounds that the girl involved was sexually active before she met him and currently maintains a relationship with an older man. “Charitably stated, we reject this contention as unpersuasive,” Justice Carpinello wrote in an opinion joined by Justices Edward O. Spain, Robert S. Rose, John A. Lahtinen and Anthony T. Kane. Gerard V. Amedio of Saratoga Springs appeared for Mr. Kuklinski. Nicholas E. Tishler of Niskayuna, Schenectady County, appeared for the prosecution. Sex Offender Reclassification In another recent Third Department case, the court held that New York, in classifying a sex offender convicted in another state, is not bound by the classification in the other state. Nevertheless, it determined that the offender should be reclassified. People v. David Arotin , 96807, involves a defendant who was accused in Ohio of gross sexual imposition, charges stemming from allegations that he had sexual contact with two boys. David Arotin pleaded guilty to one count of attempted gross sexual imposition and was sentenced to a 16-month jail term followed by five years of parole. He was declared a “sexually oriented offender” and, as such, was required to register his address with Ohio authorities for 10 years. An assessment conducted while Mr. Arotin was in jail concluded that there was a relatively low risk of recidivism. However, it also found that the assessment could be inaccurate because Mr. Arotin continued to deny the acts leading to his conviction. When Mr. Arotin moved to New York, he was rated a Level III sex offender � a high risk level � by the state Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders. He argued on appeal that New York could not, under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, assess a higher classification than had been assessed by Ohio. “We cannot agree,” the Third Department said in an opinion by Justice Lahtinen. Justice Lahtinen noted that every state has adopted a sex offender registration process “in light of the alarming recidivism by convicted sex offenders.” He said those processes are regulatory. “The administrative manner in which a state chooses to exercise the registration requirements for a sex offender who moves into its jurisdiction falls squarely within the power of that state and is not governed by the procedures in effect in the state the offender previously resided,” Justice Lahtinen wrote. However, the court said, that does not preclude review of the state’s classification. Here, it held that the classification for Mr. Arotin failed to take into account his continuing assertions of innocence and was seemingly influenced by hearsay evidence that he had performed oral sex on one of the victims. “When considered in light of the absence of an indictment for such an act, defendant’s claim of innocence and the failure to include the plea colloquy, such hearsay evidence does not rise to the level of clear and convincing evidence,” Justice Lahtinen said. The matter was remitted to Saratoga County Court for a reclassification. Also on the panel were Presiding Justice Anthony V. Cardona and Justices Kane, Carpinello and Thomas E. Mercure. Paul J. Connolly of Delmar, Albany County, appeared for Mr. Arotin. Mr. Tishler argued for the prosecution. � John Caher can be reached at [email protected] .

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