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Home / Case Digests / Appellate Division, Fourth Dept. / Civil Commitment: Martinek v. Sawyer

Civil Commitment: Martinek v. Sawyer

Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Civil Commitment

Sex Offenders

Martinek v. Sawyer
Appealed from Supreme Court, Oneida County

Background: In appeal No. 1, the petitioner appeals from a judgment dismissing his petition seeking habeas corpus relief with respect to his civil commitment to Central New York Psychiatric Center pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law article 10 following his release from Livingston Correctional Facility.  According to the petitioner, he was not a detained sex offender within the meaning of article 10 when the proceeding pursuant to that article was commenced because he was not “a person who [was] in the care, custody, control, or supervision of an agency with jurisdiction” at that time.

Ruling: The court finds that petitioner was in fact illegally incarcerated for violating the terms of a period of postrelease supervision that had been improperly imposed after he had completed serving his determinate term of imprisonment.  The petitioner thus is correct that the period of postrelease supervision, and thus the term of imprisonment resulting from his violation thereof, was a legal nullity. Nevertheless, the court affirms the judgment because, for the purposes of article 10, “[t]he legality of [petitioner’s] custody is irrelevant.” It is ordered that the judgment appealed from is affirmed without costs.

Dana M. Ragsdale of Mental Hygiene Legal Service for the appellant; Frank Brady, assistant New York attorney general, for the respondent