By: Daily Record Staff//April 6, 2015
By: Daily Record Staff//April 6, 2015//
New York State Court of Appeals – Sex Offender Registration Act – Failure to Seek Treatment – Disciplinary Actions
People v. Ford
Background: The defendant pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and was sentenced to a determinate term of three years imprisonment and five years of post-release supervision. As a consequence of committing 16 tier II and 4 tier III disciplinary violations, he was prevented from participating in sex offender treatment while incarcerated. At a Sex Offender Registration Act hearing, he was assessed 100 points, making him a level two sex offender. The board recommended an upward departure to level 3 due to the violent nature of the crime and his failure to participate in sex offender treatment. The defendant objected to the upward departure. The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s determination that the people failed to meet their burden and the Supreme Court properly considered his lengthy disciplinary record as evidence of his refusal of treatment.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals reversed. The court held that the defendant’s inability to participate in sex offender treatment due to his disciplinary violations was not tantamount to a refusal to participate in treatment under the SORA Guidelines. The Court of Appeals noted that the people may seek an upward departure based on his conduct while incarcerated. The court remanded the case based upon the error.
Michael C. Taglieri for the appellant; Anthea H. Bruffee for the respondent