People
v.
Hackett

Not overruled or negatively treated on appealinfoCoverage
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.Nov 10, 2011
933 N.Y.S.2d 470 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011)
933 N.Y.S.2d 47089 A.D.3d 14792011 N.Y. Slip Op. 8061

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2011-11-10

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Patrick HACKETT, Defendant–Appellant.

Wyoming County–Attica Legal Aid Bureau, Warsaw (Norman P. Effman of Counsel), for Defendant–Appellant. Lori Pettit Rieman, District Attorney, Little Valley (Kelly M. Balcom of Counsel), for Respondent.


Wyoming County–Attica Legal Aid Bureau, Warsaw (Norman P. Effman of Counsel), for Defendant–Appellant. Lori Pettit Rieman, District Attorney, Little Valley (Kelly M. Balcom of Counsel), for Respondent.

PRESENT: CENTRA, J.P., FAHEY, PERADOTTO, LINDLEY, AND MARTOCHE, JJ.

MEMORANDUM:

On appeal from an order determining that he is a level three risk pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act ( [SORA] Correction Law § 168 et seq.), defendant contends that County Court miscalculated his total risk factor score in the risk assessment instrument (RAI), and thus mistakenly determined that he was presumptively a level three risk based on that score. We agree with defendant. In fact, pursuant to the correct total risk factor score in the RAI, defendant is presumptively classified as a level two risk. We note, however, that the court also sua sponte assessed additional points under risk factor 3 (Number of Victims) and risk factor 4 (Duration of Offense Conduct with Victim) in the RAI, which then rendered defendant a presumptive level three risk. We further agree with defendant that the court violated his due process rights by sua sponte assessing those additional points. The due process guarantees in the United States and New York Constitutions require that a defendant be afforded notice of the hearing to determine his or her risk level pursuant to SORA and a meaningful opportunity to respond to the risk level assessment ( see § 168–n[3]; People v. David W., 95 N.Y.2d 130, 136–140, 711 N.Y.S.2d 134, 733 N.E.2d 206). Here, neither risk factor was originally selected on the RAI or raised by the People at the SORA hearing, and defendant learned of the assessment of the additional points for the first time when the court issued its decision ( cf. People v. Wheeler, 59 A.D.3d 1007, 872 N.Y.S.2d 360, lv. denied 12 N.Y.3d 711, 2009 WL 1309378). We therefore reverse the order, vacate defendant's risk level determination, and remit the matter to County Court for a new risk level determination, and a new hearing if necessary, in compliance with Correction Law § 168–n(3) and defendant's due process rights.

It is hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously reversed on the law without costs and the matter is remitted to Cattaraugus County Court for further proceedings.