Matter of John L. PLATTEN, Petitioner, v. Mark H. DADD, Genesee County Court Judge, Respondent.
-- March 16, 2007
Frederick M. Rarick, Corfu, for Petitioner.Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General, Albany (Marlene O. Tuczinski of Counsel), for Respondent.
In January 1990 petitioner was convicted following a jury trial of murder in the second degree (Penal Law § 125.25 ), and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 20 years to life. On appeal from his judgment of conviction, petitioner did not raise any issues with respect to the propriety of his sentence, and the judgment of conviction was affirmed by this Court (People v. Platten, 175 A.D.2d 561, 572 N.Y.S.2d 226, lv. denied 78 N.Y.2d 1129, 578 N.Y.S.2d 887, 586 N.E.2d 70). Thereafter, petitioner brought several posttrial motions contending that County Court “ illegally enhanced” his sentence after improperly considering two inaccurate entries in the presentence report concerning the disposition of prior charges against petitioner. Most recently, petitioner moved pursuant to CPL 160.50 and 160.55 to seal the sentencing minutes containing references to those prior charges and to be resentenced. In an order dated May 23, 2006, respondent denied that motion and no appeal has been taken from that order. Petitioner then commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding seeking, inter alia, to compel respondent to seal petitioner's sentencing minutes pursuant to CPL 160.50 and 160.55, and to compel respondent to resentence petitioner.
“Mandamus lies to compel the performance of a purely ministerial act where there is a clear legal right to the relief sought” (Matter of Legal Aid Socy. of Sullivan County v. Scheinman, 53 N.Y.2d 12, 16, 439 N.Y.S.2d 882, 422 N.E.2d 542). Mandamus “will not be awarded to compel an act in respect to which the officer may exercise judgment or discretion” (Klostermann v. Cuomo, 61 N.Y.2d 525, 539, 475 N.Y.S.2d 247, 463 N.E.2d 588, quoting Matter of Gimprich v. Board of Educ. of City of N.Y., 306 N.Y. 401, 406, 118 N.E.2d 578 [internal quotation marks omitted] ). We conclude that the extraordinary remedy of mandamus does not lie in this instance because petitioner has failed to establish a clear legal right to the relief sought or that the relief sought involves the performance of a purely ministerial act (see CPL 160.50, 160.55 ). Contrary to the contentions of petitioner, neither CPL 160.50 nor 160.55 mandates that his sentencing minutes be sealed or that he be resentenced. We further conclude that mandamus is not appropriate here because petitioner is essentially seeking relief from an appealable order (see Matter of Fontani v. Hershowitz, 12 A.D.3d 672, 673, 784 N.Y.S.2d 890; see also People v. Anonymous, 7 A.D.3d 309, 310, 776 N.Y.S.2d 282). Moreover, petitioner has failed to establish why the instant contentions were not raised in his direct appeal from the judgment of conviction (see Platten, 175 A.D.2d 561, 572 N.Y.S.2d 226). In any event, we conclude that petitioner is collaterally estopped from relitigating the contentions raised in his petition (see generally Parker v. Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Co., 93 N.Y.2d 343, 349-350, 690 N.Y.S.2d 478, 712 N.E.2d 647; Summer v. Marine Midland Bank, 227 A.D.2d 932, 934, 643 N.Y.S.2d 256).
It is hereby ORDERED that said petition be and the same hereby is unanimously dismissed without costs.