The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk, having passed the State Senate last week. The measure passed the lower house on an 86-35 vote, with opposition coming from some Republicans.
The commission would be authorized to investigate and review complaints against prosecutors specifically. The panel would have subpoena power and the ability to request documents and information in any case of misconduct. Its decisions would be made available to the public and compiled in an annual report to the legislature, governor and Court of Appeals.
The District Attorneys Association of the State of New York lobbied against the bill, calling it unnecessary and possibly unconstitutional.
“This is something that we need to do in this state and I stand here today on behalf of the wrongfully convicted,” Assemblyman Nick Perry said during the vote.
Some local DAs also took their shots at the proposal.
“This legislation is a mistake and quite likely unconstitutional,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said in a statement. “It adds an unwieldy and unfunded layer of bureaucracy when defendants already enjoy an unparalleled right to appeal.”
Opponents of the measure have argued that a system already exists to discipline prosecutors in New York state. Each Appellate Division has a grievance committee that reviews complaints against attorneys in New York state and has the power to censure, suspend, or disbar them. Those committees are composed of both attorneys and nonattorneys and appointed by the court.
The proposed commission would look more like the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Like that body, the proposed prosecutorial misconduct commission’s decisions would be made public. The prosecutor under scrutiny would be allowed to ask the Court of Appeals to review the commission’s findings within 30 days of a decision, though any determination by the court would be final.
This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.
To view this content, please continue to their sites.
LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.
For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]