senate Bill S7867

Relates to the unauthorized release of sealed records

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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

  • 16 / Jun / 2014
    • REFERRED TO RULES

Summary

Relates to the unauthorized release of sealed records.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A4337
Versions:
S7867
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Public Officers Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง81, Pub Off L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: A3087A, A3087A
2009-2010: A11389, A11389

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7867

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to
the unauthorized release of sealed records

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To establish the crime of intentionally
releasing or otherwise disclosing the nature, substance or contents of a
sealed record.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill would create a new section 81 in the public offi-
cers law which would establish the crime of intentionally releasing or
otherwise disclosing the nature, substance or contents of a sealed court
record. Section 2 is the effective date

JUSTIFICATION: Under limited circumstances, criminal and family court
records may be sealed to protect the subject of the record from the
significant and fundamental limitations, scrutiny and stigma that they
might otherwise suffer as a result of a public record. Once a record is
sealed, in the eyes of the law, the entire incident never occurred. In
most respects, a sealing restores you to the status you occupied before
being arrested or charged.

Sealed records must remain sealed unless a statute specifies an excep-
tion or upon a written order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction
lest we undermine the very purpose and policy we instituted when we
granted the power to seal court records. In recent years, there have,
been instances in which public officials have released sealed criminal
and family court records in an effort to justify action taken against
the individual. This cannot be tolerated.

The sealing provision attaches to a record, not to a person. To be
clear, even if the subject of the record is deceased, records that have
been sealed by the court are to remain sealed. Violation of this law may
result in a criminal conviction punishable by up to a year in jail.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2014 New Bill in Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

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
________________________________________________________________________

                                  7867

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 16, 2014
                               ___________

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

AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to the unauthorized
  release of sealed records

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

  Section  1. The public officers law is amended by adding a new section
81 to read as follows:
  S 81. UNAUTHORIZED RELEASE OF SEALED RECORDS. 1. ANY  PUBLIC  OFFICER,
OR   AN  EMPLOYEE  THEREOF,  WHO  INTENTIONALLY  RELEASES  OR  OTHERWISE
DISCLOSES TO AN UNAUTHORIZED PERSON  A  SEALED  RECORD  OR  THE  NATURE,
SUBSTANCE  OR  CONTENTS OF SUCH RECORD THAT HE OR SHE KNEW OR REASONABLY
SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WAS A SEALED RECORD, UNLESS DISCLOSURE OF SUCH  RECORD
OR  THE  NATURE, SUBSTANCE OR CONTENTS THEREOF IS REQUIRED BY STATUTE OR
UPON WRITTEN ORDER ISSUED BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION, SHALL BE
GUILTY OF A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR.
  2. NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION SHALL:
  (A) PROHIBIT AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF A SEALED  RECORD  OR,
IF  SUCH  PERSON  IS DECEASED, THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF HIS OR HER
ESTATE, FROM DISCLOSING TO ANOTHER THE NATURE, SUBSTANCE OR CONTENTS  OF
HIS OR HER SEALED RECORD;
  (B)  PROHIBIT A PUBLIC OFFICER, OR AN EMPLOYEE THEREOF, FROM RELEASING
OR OTHERWISE DISCLOSING SUCH RECORD OR THE NATURE, SUBSTANCE OR CONTENTS
THEREOF PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE ORDER SEALING SUCH RECORD;
  (C) PROHIBIT A PUBLIC OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE  THEREOF,  FROM  DISCUSSING
EVENTS  WITHIN  SUCH  OFFICER  OR  EMPLOYEE'S  KNOWLEDGE SO LONG AS SUCH
DISCUSSION DOES  NOT  CONFIRM  OR  DISCLOSE  THE  NATURE,  SUBSTANCE  OR
CONTENTS OF A SEALED RECORD;
  (D)  PROHIBIT A PUBLIC OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF, FROM RELEASING OR
OTHERWISE DISCLOSING SUCH RECORD OR THE NATURE,  SUBSTANCE  OR  CONTENTS
THEREOF  TO  A  PERSON IF HE OR SHE HAS REASON TO BELIEVE, IN GOOD FAITH
AND WITH SUFFICIENT CAUSE, THAT SUCH PERSON IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE  SUCH
RECORD OR THE NATURE, SUBSTANCE OR CONTENTS THEREOF; OR

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00096-01-3

S. 7867                             2

  (E)  PROHIBIT  A  PUBLIC OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF, FROM DISCLOSING
THE NATURE OR EXISTENCE OF A SEALED RECORD IN A GOOD FAITH  RESPONSE  TO
AN  INQUIRY  WHEN  SUCH  DISCLOSURE IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SUBJECT OF
SUCH SEALED RECORD.
  3. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:
  (A) "SEALED RECORD" SHALL MEAN ANY RECORD REQUIRED TO BE SEALED PURSU-
ANT TO SECTION 160.50, 160.55, 160.58, 720.15, OR 725.15 OF THE CRIMINAL
PROCEDURE LAW, OR SECTION 375.1 OR 375.2 OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT;
  (B) "UNAUTHORIZED PERSON" SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON WHO IS NOT ENTITLED TO
RECEIVE  OR  WHO  HAS NOT BEEN GRANTED ACCESS TO, A SEALED RECORD OR THE
NATURE, SUBSTANCE OR CONTENTS THEREOF, PURSUANT TO  STATUTE  OR  UPON  A
WRITTEN ORDER ISSUED BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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