Alvarez v. Annucci, No. 50 SSM 35 (N.Y. 2022)
Nature of Case: Petitioner pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and seven years’ post-release supervision, and was ultimately adjudicated as a level one offender under the “Sex Offender Registration Act” (“SORA”). As a result, the Board of Parole imposed various conditions on Petitioner including Sexual Assault Reform Act (“SARA”) residency restrictions. Due to these restrictions, after serving a full prison term, Petitioner was not placed in a residence shelter in his city of choice and was instead transferred to two correctional facilities, referred to as “residential treatment facilities.” Petitioner brought a CPLR Article 78 proceeding seeking to compel the Acting Commissioner of New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to release him. Petitioner argued that he cannot lawfully be kept confined for a failure to secure SARA-compliant housing because SARA’s residency restrictions do not apply to him since he is neither on conditional release nor subject to parole.
The New York Supreme Court dismissed Petitioner’s Article 78 petition. The Appellate Division affirmed. The New York Court of Appeals granted leave to appeal. On appeal, Petitioner argues that SARA’s residency restrictions do not apply to those individuals released to post-release supervision who have completed their full prison terms.
Holding: The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decisions that Petitioner has not established a clear legal right to relief and held that residency restrictions of SARA applied equally to eligible offenders released on parole, conditionally released, or subject to period of post-release supervision.
Judge Wilson filed dissenting opinion in which Judge Rivera concurs.