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A07597 Summary:

BILL NO    A07597A

SAME AS    SAME AS S05757

SPONSOR    Aubry

COSPNSR    Colton, Abinanti

MLTSPNSR   Boyland, Rivera P

Amd S702, Cor L

Provides that where the court imposes a revocable sentence of imprisonment or
imposes a sentence other than one executed by commitment to an institution
under jurisdiction of the state department of corrections and community
supervision the court shall initially determine the fitness of an eligible
offender for a certificate of relief from disability.
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A07597 Actions:

BILL NO    A07597A

05/10/2011 referred to correction
05/17/2011 reported 
05/19/2011 advanced to third reading cal.423
06/13/2011 amended on third reading 7597a
06/22/2011 substituted by s5757
           S05757  AMEND=  SALAND
           06/14/2011 REFERRED TO RULES
           06/21/2011 ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1442
           06/21/2011 PASSED SENATE
           06/21/2011 DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
           06/21/2011 referred to correction
           06/22/2011 substituted for a7597a
           06/22/2011 ordered to third reading cal.423
           06/22/2011 passed assembly
           06/22/2011 returned to senate
           08/05/2011 DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
           08/17/2011 SIGNED CHAP.488
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A07597 Memo:

BILL NUMBER:A7597A

TITLE OF BILL:  An act to amend the correction law, in relation to the
issuance of certificates of relief from disabilities

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:  Section 1 of the bill would amend subdivision
1 of section 702 of the Correction Law, requiring the court to make a
determination, upon application, as to the fitness of an eligible
offender for the issuance of a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities
("Certificate" or "Certificate of Relief"), This initial determination
would occur prior to or at the time of sentencing, when the sentence
imposed is either revocable or a sentence other than commitment to an
institution under the jurisdiction of the State Department of
Corrections and Community Supervision.

Section 2 of the bill provides that this amendment would take effect
immediately.

REASONS FOR SUPPORT:  Certificates of Relief from Disabilities are a
powerful tool created by the Legislature to promote and encourage
successful reintegration after a conviction, Issued at sentencing, a
Certificate can prevent eviction, loss of a job and loss of an
occupational license. It can lay the groundwork for re-entry into
society, allowing individuals to obtain, for example, licenses
essential to employment, which can empower them to make child support
payments and break the cycle of poverty,

Despite their utility, Certificates are vastly underutilized: only a
tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of people who are eligible
actually hold them. Applications for Certificates are usually not even
addressed at the time of sentencing. By facilitating access to
Certificates where appropriate, but retaining the court's discretion
to withhold issuance should it identify a public safety or other
concern, these amendments could result in thousands of New Yorkers
overcoming the collateral consequences of convictions and lead
successful, law-abiding lives.

The law currently provides that a Certificate of Relief may be issued
at sentencing, so that an individual may obtain a Certificate from the
court expeditiously following conviction of a crime. When it was
enacted in 1966, Governor Rockefeller recognized that offenders needed
the assistance and protection of Certificates of Relief to aid in
their rehabilitation. The Governor's Memorandum noted that "[t]his
bill will reduce the automatic rejection and community isolation that
often accompany conviction of crimes, and will thus contribute to the
complete rehabilitation of first offenders and their successful return
to responsible lives in the community."{1} Additionally, Thomas McCoy,
State Administrator to the Judicial Conference of the State of New
York, in supporting the 1966 bill, stated "The need for this
legislation is clear. The disabilities which result from a criminal
record are among the chief sources of recidivism. In turn, recidivism
is a primary cause of the intolerably high crime rate....This bill is
a step in the direction of rehabilitating first offenders."

As such, the Legislature intended for a Certificate of Relief to be
granted soon after a conviction in order to assist with the
rehabilitation of first-time felons and misdemeanants. Recognizing


that Certificates may be granted prior to one's demonstration of
proper conduct, the law permits revocation of these certificates if
necessary, while an offender is under probation supervision.

In 2006, Penal Law S1.05(6) was amended to add "the promotion of [the
convicted person's] successful and productive reentry and
reintegration into society..." to the traditional sentencing goals of
deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation. By
amending the sentencing model to include successful reintegration,
policymakers acknowledged that promoting re-entry is not only crucial
for individuals with conviction histories and their families, but for
public safety as a whole. The proposed amendment improving access to
Certificates would make the Correction Law more consistent with the
above-referenced Penal Law provision. It would also be consistent with
the public policy of New York State "to encourage the licensure and
employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal
offenses" (Correction Law S 753(1)(a)).

The suggested change would promote successful reentry, rehabilitation,
and public safety throughout New York State, as originally intended by
the Legislature. Under the proposed amendment, judges and probation
officers would retain the same level of discretion they currently hold
to deny or recommend against the issuance of Certificates. However, by
requiring courts to make determinations regarding an applicant's
fitness for a Certificate, New Yorkers with conviction histories would
benefit from the chance to unlock the door to opportunity and
self-sufficiency.

Accordingly, the Mayor urges the earliest possible favorable
consideration of this proposal by the Legislature.

FOOTNOTE

{1} Governor's Memorandum of Approval of L. 1966, N.Y. Legis. Annual,
1966, Chapter 654
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A07597 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                        7597--A
                                                               Cal. No. 423

                              2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                     May 10, 2011
                                      ___________

       Introduced  by  M.  of A. AUBRY, COLTON -- read once and referred to the
         Committee on Correction -- reported  from  committee,  advanced  to  a
         third  reading,  amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place on
         the order of third reading

       AN ACT to amend the correction law,  in  relation  to  the  issuance  of
         certificates of relief from disabilities

         THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 702  of  the  correction  law,  as
    2  amended  by  section 32 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of the laws
    3  of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
    4    1. Any court of this state may, in its discretion, issue a certificate
    5  of relief from disabilities to an eligible  offender  for  a  conviction
    6  that occurred in such court, if the court either (a) imposed a revocable
    7  sentence or (b) imposed a sentence other than one executed by commitment
    8  to  an  institution  under  the  jurisdiction of the state department of
    9  corrections and community supervision. Such certificate  may  be  issued
   10  (i)  at  the  time  sentence  is  pronounced, in which case it may grant
   11  relief from forfeitures, as well as from disabilities, or  (ii)  at  any
   12  time  thereafter,  in  which  case  it shall apply only to disabilities.
   13  WHERE SUCH COURT EITHER  IMPOSES  A  REVOCABLE  SENTENCE  OR  IMPOSES  A
   14  SENTENCE  OTHER  THAN ONE EXECUTED BY COMMITMENT TO AN INSTITUTION UNDER
   15  THE JURISDICTION OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF  CORRECTIONS  AND  COMMUNITY
   16  SUPERVISION, THE COURT, UPON APPLICATION AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVI-
   17  SION  TWO  OF  THIS SECTION, SHALL INITIALLY DETERMINE THE FITNESS OF AN
   18  ELIGIBLE OFFENDER FOR SUCH CERTIFICATE PRIOR TO OR AT THE TIME  SENTENCE
   19  IS PRONOUNCED.
   20    S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.


        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD11554-03-1
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