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Court Discusses Concept of Collateral Estoppel


The petitioner in this case is Darryl Nelson. The respondent is Ann B. Dufficy, Justice of the Supreme Court of the state of New York in Queens County. The case is being heard in the Second Department of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division. The Justice presiding over the case is Mangano.

Case Background

Darryl Nelson, the petitioner in this case was charged by the Queensboro Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children for child abuse. A New York DWI Lawyer said the petition issued by the Queensboro Society states that Nelson had committed a sex offense against his step daughter, who was 8 years old. He is accused of kissing her on the mouth and lying on top of her and rubbing up and down on her.

Darryl Nelson was arraigned on the 28th of February, 1983, charged with first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Fact Finding Hearing

A fact finding hearing was conducted before the Family Court. The Queensboro Society argued that the petitioner had committed sexual abuse in the first degree against the child. In June of 1984, the Family Court sustained the petition of Child Abuse and founded that the petitioner committed child abuse in the third degree.

Instant Proceeding

The matter before this court was commenced by the petitioner to stop the respondent Justice from trying him on the instant indictment. A New York DWI Lawyer said this is based on the ground of collateral estoppels.

Collateral estoppels simply meant that when the issue of an ultimate fact has been determined by a final and valid judgment, this issue cannot be litigated again between the parties in any type of future lawsuit.

In this particular case the petitioner is arguing that the order from the Family Court from the 27th of June, 1984, is a final determination of the charges and in consequence these charges formally acquitted him of the crime of first degree sexual abuse.

Court Discussion and Determination

The court does not agree with the argument that is being made by the petitioner. While the common law principles referred to by collateral estoppels may be used for criminal matters, it is implied that this should not be used in quite the same way as it is applied in civil cases.

In this particular case it is held that the nature of a child abuse proceeding from the Family Court is civil in nature. A Nassau County DWI Lawyer said sustaining a petition of this nature does not subject the respondent to a criminal penalty as the reason for a civil hearing in a case such as this is to simply determine whether or not a child should be removed from the home of a parent and placed in a more suitable environment.

The petitioner in this case has not shown that is issue of innocence or guilt of a higher degree of sexual abuse was determined in the Family Court case.

After reviewing the case, the Court disagrees with the petitioner on the issue of a collateral estoppels in this case. The proceeding is dismissed and the writ of prohibition is denied. The respondent Justice is prohibited from trying the petitioner for the Queens County Indictment.

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