Friday, November 11, 2016

Early last week the Court of Appeals reversed a decision of the First Department which held that the rule of law announced in People v Catu applies retroactively to pre-Catu convictions (People v Smith, 132 AD3d 511 [1st Dept 2015]) -- a decision I had labeled a "huge success for the criminal defense bar" in an October blog post.

In People v Catu, the New York Court of Appeals held that the court must advise a defendant of the post-release supervision (PRS) component of his conviction before accepting a guilty plea, and that a defendant who was not so advised is entitled to reversal of the conviction and automatic vacatur of the plea without being required to demonstrate that he would not have pleaded guilty had he been aware of the PRS component (4 NY3d 242 [2005]).

Unfortunately, the Court, with Justice Rivera dissenting, reversed the First Department's decision and held that Catu does not apply retroactively in enhanced sentence proceedings under either federal or state retroactivity principles (2016 NY Slip Op 07106 [Nov 1 2016]).  Read the full decision here.