Petitioners in these three appeals each seek to compel the respondent police departments to comply with their Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for records pertaining to the sex crimes for which they were convicted. Petitioners requested the documents for use in collateral review of their convictions. The police departments, citing Civil Rights Law § 50-b (1), refused the requests in their entirety. Civil Rights Law § 50-b (1) prohibits disclosure by a government employee of any portion of a police report, court file or other document which tends to identify the victim of a sex crime. Petitioners commenced CPLR article 78 proceedings to compel the police departments to comply with their requests arguing that, although section 50-b (1) bars disclosure of information that tends to identify the victim of a sex crime, the exception in section 50-b (2) (a) allowing disclosure to persons “charged” with a sex offense applied to them. The Appellate Division panels have concluded that the term “charged” should be read to apply to the petitioners.
A New York Criminal lawyer said that in 1985, Respondent was convicted in Supreme Court of rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and burglary. He challenged his conviction in a CPL article 440 motion which Supreme Court denied. The Appellate Division affirmed the conviction as well as denial of the CPL article 440 motion. In March 1994, Respondent made a FOIL request to the New York City Police Department for 25 categories of police reports pertaining to his case, which the Police Department denied. Respondent commenced the present article 78 proceeding to compel disclosure. He allegedly seeks these documents in order to file a federal habeas corpus petition. Supreme Court ordered disclosure of the documents and the Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that the petitioner was similarly situated to a person charged with a crime.
In the second case, respondent was convicted in Supreme Court of rape, sodomy and assault in 1988. His conviction was affirmed on appeal. Respondent made three applications for a writ of error coram nobis, which were denied, as well as three unsuccessful motions. Recently, Respondent in federal court prays for a writ of habeas corpus. Although an evidentiary hearing is pending, the federal court has summarily denied all but one of Respondent’s claims of error at his trial. He made his FOIL request to the New York City Police Department, seeking nine categories of reports. The Police Department denied the request under Civil Rights Law § 50-b (1). However, Respondent made another, contemporaneous FOIL request to the District Attorney’s Office seeking substantially the same material, and the District Attorney complied. Respondent brought the present article 78 proceeding to compel the Police Department to disclose its records. He claims they are relevant to the issues raised in his CPL article 440 and federal habeas corpus proceedings. The Supreme Court ordered the Police Department to deliver the records and the Appellate Division, citing its decision in Respondent, affirmed.