Tafariv.Cuomo

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New YorkMar 14, 2019
94 N.Y.S.3d 458 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019)
94 N.Y.S.3d 458170 A.D.3d 13512019 N.Y. Slip Op. 1866

526332

03-14-2019

In the Matter of Injah Unique TAFARI, Appellant, v. Andrew Michael CUOMO, as Governor, et al., Respondents.

Injah Unique Tafari, Attica, appellant pro se. Letitia James, Attorney General, Albany (Brian D. Ginsberg of counsel), for respondents.


Injah Unique Tafari, Attica, appellant pro se.

Letitia James, Attorney General, Albany (Brian D. Ginsberg of counsel), for respondents.

Before: Garry, P.J., Egan Jr., Clark, Devine and Rumsey, JJ.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court (Ryba, J.), entered February 9, 2018 in Albany County, which dismissed petitioner's application, in a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, to review a determination of the Board of Parole denying petitioner's request for parole release.

Petitioner has a violent criminal history dating back to the early 1980s. In 1989, he was convicted of two counts of robbery in the first degree and was sentenced as a persistent violent felony offender to concurrent prison terms of 20 years to life. During his incarceration, he was convicted of the additional crimes of assault in the second degree and criminal mischief and was sentenced to prison terms that ran consecutively to the sentence he was serving. In May 2017, petitioner made his sixth appearance before the Board of Parole seeking to be released to parole supervision. At the conclusion of the interview, the Board denied his request and ordered him held for an additional 24 months. The determination was later upheld on administrative appeal, and petitioner commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding challenging it. Following joinder of issue, Supreme Court dismissed the petition, and this appeal ensued.

Initially, we note that parole release decisions are discretionary and will not be disturbed as long as the Board complied with the statutory requirements set forth in Executive Law § 259–i (see Matter of Pedraza v. New York State Bd. of Parole, 166 A.D.3d 1194, 1194, 86 N.Y.S.3d 666[2019] ; Matter of Hill v. New York State Bd. of Parole, 130 A.D.3d 1130, 1130, 14 N.Y.S.3d 515 [2015] ). Here, the Board complied with the statute by considering not only the serious nature of petitioner's crimes, but also his lengthy criminal record, prison disciplinary infractions, program accomplishments and postrelease plans, as well as the sentencing minutes and the COMPAS Risk and Needs Assessment instrument (see Matter of Perea v. Stanford, 149 A.D.3d 1392, 1393, 53 N.Y.S.3d 231 [2017] ; Matter of Hill v. New York State Bd. of Parole, 130 A.D.3d at 1130–1131, 14 N.Y.S.3d 515 ). Significantly, the Board was not required to give each statutory factor equal weight, but could, as it did, place greater emphasis on the seriousness of petitioner's crimes (see Matter of Perea v. Stanford, 149 A.D.3d at 1393, 53 N.Y.S.3d 231 ; Matter of King v. Stanford, 137 A.D.3d 1396, 1397, 26 N.Y.S.3d 815 [2016] ). Furthermore, there is no indication that the Board relied upon erroneous information in making its decision or that its decision was predetermined (see Matter of Gonzalvo v. Stanford, 153 A.D.3d 1021, 1021, 56 N.Y.S.3d 896 [2017] ). We have considered petitioner's remaining contentions and find them to be lacking in merit. Inasmuch as the Board's decision does not exhibit " ‘irrationality bordering on impropriety’ " ( Matter of Silmon v. Travis, 95 N.Y.2d 470, 476, 718 N.Y.S.2d 704, 741 N.E.2d 501 [2000], quoting Matter of Russo v. New York State Bd. of Parole, 50 N.Y.2d 69, 77, 427 N.Y.S.2d 982, 405 N.E.2d 225 [1980] ), we find no reason to disturb it.

Garry, P.J., Egan Jr., Clark, Devine and Rumsey, JJ., concur.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.