senate Bill S2174

Authorizes prosecuting agency to move to have identity of undercover public officers and employees protected while testifying in court

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 14 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 28 / Feb / 2013
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.126
  • 04 / Mar / 2013
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 05 / Mar / 2013
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 06 / Mar / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 06 / Mar / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 06 / Mar / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • DIED IN ASSEMBLY
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 06 / May / 2014
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.576
  • 07 / May / 2014
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 12 / May / 2014
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 20 / May / 2014
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 20 / May / 2014
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 20 / May / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CODES

Summary

Authorizes the people in a criminal proceeding, the presentment agency in a juvenile delinquency proceeding and a governmental agency or public employer in a civil enforcement action to move to protect the identity, address and any other identifying information of any witness who is an undercover public officer or employee when the disclosure of the identity of such officer or employee would endanger the officer's life or employee's life or compromise his or her continued effectiveness.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A2139
Versions:
S2174
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Assembly Codes
Law Section:
Civil Rights Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §50-a, Civ Rts L; amd §60.15, CP L; add §343.6, Fam Ct Act; add R4516-a, CPLR
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S1751A, A4872A
2009-2010: S2117, A3512
2007-2008: A1829A

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2174

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law, the criminal
procedure law, the family court act and the civil practice law and
rules, in relation to protecting the identity of undercover public offi-
cers and employees

PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to protect the identity of under-
cover police officers who are required to testify in court.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This amends Civil Rights Law § 50-a to include
within the confidentiality provisions for police personnel records those
records that include the identity of undercover police officers. The
bill would also amend Criminal Procedure Law § 60.15 to create a proce-
dure whereby a District Attorney may request that an undercover offi-
cer's identity be protected. There would be a rebuttable presumption
that an undercover police officer would be endangered, or his or her
effectiveness compromised, by public disclosure of her identity.

The bill allows the District Attorney to ask the court for additional
measures to protect the police officer's identity if necessary. These
requests would continue to be governed by standards articulated by the
united States Supreme Court in WALLER V. GEORGIA, 467 U.S. 39,48 (1984).
In addition, the bill would allow a defendant to require the court to
instruct the jury that no inference unfavorable to the defendant may be
drawn because the undercover police officer is testifying under a pseu-
donym or form of any other similar protective measure.

EXISTING LAW:

Section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law and section 60.15 of the Criminal
Procedure Law are amended.

JUSTIFICATION: Undercover police officers perform their duty under
extraordinarily dangerous circumstances. These brave officers put their
safety at risk to make the city and State of New York safer. The safety
of their loved ones is also sometimes at risk as a result of their
dangerous work.

Tragically, too many have been murdered, shot, stabbed and beaten by
narcotics dealers. This violence and murder does not stop on the street;
it extends into our judicial system as well, in the form of witness
intimidation. When this intimidation is directed at undercover police
officers, it undermines the efforts of law enforcement to penetrate
criminal drug gangs and obtain the evidence necessary to put their lead-
ers and operatives behind bars. Currently, state law does not do enough
to secure the availability of one of the most important and effective
sources of this evidence-the testimony of undercover police officers.
This bill changes that by giving greater protection to the identity of
undercover police officers who are called upon to testify in court.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.1870A of 2005-06 - Passed Senate S.5335A of
2007-08 - Referred to Codes S.2117 of 2009-10 - Referred to Codes
S.1751A of 2011- Passed Senate 03/29/12

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                  2174

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 14, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, the criminal  procedure  law,  the
  family  court act and the civil practice law and rules, in relation to
  protecting the identity of undercover public officers and employees

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

  Section  1.  Subdivision 1 of section 50-a of the civil rights law, as
amended by section 53 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of  the  laws
of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
  1. All personnel records used to evaluate performance toward continued
employment  or  promotion,  under  the  control  of any police agency or
department of the state or any political subdivision  thereof  including
authorities or agencies maintaining police forces of individuals defined
as  police  officers  in  section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law and
such personnel records under the control of a sheriff's department or  a
department  of correction of individuals employed as correction officers
and such personnel records under the control of a paid  fire  department
or    force    of    individuals    employed    as    firefighters    or
firefighter/paramedics and such personnel records under the  control  of
the  department of corrections and community supervision for individuals
defined as peace officers  pursuant  to  subdivisions  twenty-three  and
twenty-three-a  of  section  2.10 of the criminal procedure law shall be
considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review  without
the  express  written  consent  of  such  police  officer,  firefighter,
firefighter/paramedic, correction officer or peace  officer  within  the
department  of  corrections  and  community supervision except as may be
mandated by lawful court order.  FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, PERSONNEL
RECORDS SHALL INCLUDE ANY REPORT, PAPER, PICTURE, PHOTOGRAPH, COURT FILE
OR OTHER DOCUMENT, IN THE CUSTODY OR POSSESSION OF ANY PUBLIC OFFICER OR
EMPLOYEE, WHICH TENDS TO IDENTIFY BY NAME OR IMAGE AN INDIVIDUAL WHO  IS

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02555-01-3

S. 2174                             2

PERFORMING  OR  HAS  PERFORMED OFFICIAL DUTIES IN A COVERT OR UNDERCOVER
CAPACITY AND WHOSE PERSONNEL  RECORDS  ARE  OTHERWISE  COVERED  BY  THIS
SUBDIVISION.
  S  2. Section 60.15 of the criminal procedure law is amended by adding
a new subdivision 3 to read as follows:
  3. WHEN A PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED  TO  A
POLICE  OFFICER AS DEFINED IN SECTION 1.20 OF THIS PART OR A PEACE OFFI-
CER AS DEFINED IN SECTION 2.10  OF  THIS  PART,  IS  PERFORMING  OR  HAS
PERFORMED  OFFICIAL  DUTIES  IN  A  COVERT OR UNDERCOVER CAPACITY AND IS
CALLED AS A WITNESS IN A CRIMINAL PROCEEDING:
  (A) THE PEOPLE MAY MAKE A REQUEST OF THE COURT THAT  THE  IDENTITY  OF
THE  WITNESS BE PROTECTED. THERE SHALL BE A PRESUMPTION THAT THE WITNESS
WOULD BE ENDANGERED OR HIS OR HER EFFECTIVENESS COMPROMISED  IF  HIS  OR
HER  IDENTITY  IS  DISCLOSED  AND  THAT THEREFORE THE PEOPLE HAVE MADE A
SHOWING THAT THE WITNESS SHOULD BE EXCUSED FROM  PROVIDING  HIS  OR  HER
IDENTITY.  THE  DEFENDANT  MAY  THEREUPON  SEEK TO REBUT THE PRESUMPTION
AND/OR DEMONSTRATE THE MATERIALITY OF  THE  WITNESS'S  IDENTITY  TO  THE
ISSUE  OF  GUILT OR INNOCENCE. IF THE PRESUMPTION HAS NOT BEEN REBUTTED,
THE COURT SHALL THEN BALANCE THE INTERESTS AND IF IT DETERMINES THAT THE
NEED OF THE PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WITNESS FOR ANONYMITY EXCEEDS THE
DEFENDANT'S NEED TO  OBTAIN  THE  WITNESS'S  IDENTITY  FOR  PURPOSES  OF
CROSS-EXAMINATION, THE COURT SHALL DIRECT THAT THE WITNESS TESTIFY UNDER
A PSEUDONYM SUCH AS A SHIELD NUMBER.
  (B)  IF REQUESTED BY THE PEOPLE, THE COURT SHALL TAKE SUCH OTHER MEAS-
URES AS ARE NECESSARY, CONSISTENT WITH RIGHTS OF THE DEFENDANT, TO SAFE-
GUARD THE IDENTITY OF THE WITNESS.
  (C) UPON REQUEST OF THE DEFENDANT DURING A JURY TRIAL, THE COURT SHALL
INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT THE USE OF A PSEUDONYM OR  ANY  OTHER  ADDITIONAL
MEASURE  TO  PROTECT  THE  IDENTITY  OF THE WITNESS IS NOT A FACTOR FROM
WHICH AN INFERENCE UNFAVORABLE TO THE DEFENDANT MAY BE DRAWN.
  S 3. The family court act is amended by adding a new section 343.6  to
read as follows:
  S  343.6.  RULES  OF  EVIDENCE; TESTIMONY GIVEN BY A PUBLIC OFFICER OR
EMPLOYEE. WHEN A PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, INCLUDING BUT  NOT  LIMITED
TO A POLICE OFFICER AS DEFINED IN SECTION 1.20 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
LAW  OR  A  PEACE  OFFICER  AS  DEFINED  IN SECTION 2.10 OF SUCH LAW, IS
PERFORMING OR HAS PERFORMED OFFICIAL DUTIES IN A  COVERT  OR  UNDERCOVER
CAPACITY AND IS CALLED AS A WITNESS IN A DELINQUENCY PROCEEDING:
  1.  THE  PRESENTMENT  AGENCY  MAY MAKE A REQUEST OF THE COURT THAT THE
IDENTITY OF THE WITNESS BE PROTECTED. THERE SHALL BE A PRESUMPTION  THAT
THE  WITNESS WOULD BE ENDANGERED OR HIS OR HER EFFECTIVENESS COMPROMISED
IF HIS OR HER IDENTITY IS DISCLOSED AND THAT THEREFORE  THE  PRESENTMENT
AGENCY  HAS  MADE  A  SHOWING  THAT  THE  WITNESS SHOULD BE EXCUSED FROM
PROVIDING HIS OR HER IDENTITY.   THE RESPONDENT MAY  THEREUPON  SEEK  TO
REBUT   THE  PRESUMPTION  AND/OR  DEMONSTRATE  THE  MATERIALITY  OF  THE
WITNESS'S IDENTITY TO THE ISSUE OF GUILT OR INNOCENCE. IF  THE  PRESUMP-
TION  HAS  NOT BEEN REBUTTED, THE COURT SHALL THEN BALANCE THE INTERESTS
AND IF IT DETERMINES THAT THE NEED OF THE  PUBLIC  OFFICER  OR  EMPLOYEE
WITNESS  FOR  ANONYMITY  EXCEEDS  THE  RESPONDENT'S  NEED  TO OBTAIN THE
WITNESS'S IDENTITY FOR PURPOSES OF CROSS-EXAMINATION,  THE  COURT  SHALL
DIRECT  THAT  THE  WITNESS  TESTIFY  UNDER  A PSEUDONYM SUCH AS A SHIELD
NUMBER.
  2. IF REQUESTED BY THE PRESENTMENT AGENCY, THE COURT SHALL  TAKE  SUCH
OTHER  MEASURES AS ARE NECESSARY, CONSISTENT WITH RIGHTS OF THE RESPOND-
ENT, TO SAFEGUARD THE IDENTITY OF THE WITNESS.

S. 2174                             3

  S 4. The civil practice law and rules is amended by adding a new  Rule
4516-a to read as follows:
  RULE 4516-A. TESTIMONY BY CERTAIN PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES.  WHEN
A  PUBLIC  OFFICER  OR  EMPLOYEE,  INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A POLICE
OFFICER AS DEFINED IN SECTION 1.20 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE  LAW  OR  A
PEACE  OFFICER  AS DEFINED IN SECTION 2.10 OF SUCH LAW, IS PERFORMING OR
HAS PERFORMED OFFICIAL DUTIES IN A COVERT OR UNDERCOVER CAPACITY AND  IS
CALLED  AS  A WITNESS IN A CIVIL ENFORCEMENT ACTION BROUGHT BY A GOVERN-
MENTAL ENTITY:
  (A) SUCH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY OR THE PUBLIC EMPLOYER OF THE WITNESS MAY
MAKE A REQUEST OF  THE  COURT  THAT  THE  IDENTITY  OF  THE  WITNESS  BE
PROTECTED. THERE SHALL BE A PRESUMPTION THAT THE WITNESS WOULD BE ENDAN-
GERED  OR HIS OR HER EFFECTIVENESS COMPROMISED IF HIS OR HER IDENTITY IS
DISCLOSED AND THAT THEREFORE THE GOVERNMENT ENTITY HAS  MADE  A  SHOWING
THAT  THE  WITNESS SHOULD BE EXCUSED FROM PROVIDING HIS OR HER IDENTITY.
THE RESPONDENT MAY THEREUPON SEEK TO REBUT THE PRESUMPTION AND/OR DEMON-
STRATE THE MATERIALITY OF THE WITNESS'S IDENTITY TO THE ISSUE  OF  GUILT
OR  INNOCENCE. IF THE PRESUMPTION HAS NOT BEEN REBUTTED, THE COURT SHALL
THEN BALANCE THE INTERESTS AND IF IT DETERMINES THAT  THE  NEED  OF  THE
PUBLIC  OFFICER  OR  EMPLOYEE WITNESS FOR ANONYMITY EXCEEDS THE RESPOND-
ENT'S NEED TO OBTAIN THE WITNESS'S IDENTITY FOR PURPOSES OF CROSS-EXAMI-
NATION, THE COURT SHALL DIRECT THAT THE WITNESS TESTIFY UNDER A  PSEUDO-
NYM SUCH AS A SHIELD NUMBER.
  (B)  IF REQUESTED BY SUCH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY OR SUCH PUBLIC EMPLOYER,
THE COURT SHALL TAKE SUCH OTHER MEASURES AS  ARE  NECESSARY,  CONSISTENT
WITH  RIGHTS  OF  THE  ADVERSE  PARTY,  TO SAFEGUARD THE IDENTITY OF THE
WITNESS.
  (C) DURING A JURY TRIAL, UPON REQUEST BY THE PARTY  AGAINST  WHOM  THE
ACTION  IS  BROUGHT, THE COURT SHALL INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT THE USE OF A
PSEUDONYM OR ANY OTHER ADDITIONAL MEASURE TO PROTECT THE IDENTITY OF THE
WITNESS IS NOT A FACTOR FROM WHICH  AN  INFERENCE  UNFAVORABLE  TO  SUCH
PARTY MAY BE DRAWN.
  (D)  NOTHING  IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT OR OTHER-
WISE AFFECT APPROPRIATE MEASURES TO SAFEGUARD THE IDENTITY OF A  WITNESS
THAT  MAY  BE  TAKEN IN ANY CIVIL ACTION THAT IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF
THIS SECTION.
  S 5. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part
of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction  to
be  invalid,  the  judgment  shall  not affect, impair or invalidate the
remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause,
sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly  involved  in  the
controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
  S 6. This act shall take effect immediately.

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