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Snuszki v. Wright

Supreme Court of New York, Niagara County

September 6, 2002, Decided

Index No: 110189

Opinion

 [*491]  [**346]   Ralph A. Boniello, III, J.

This action was commenced by the filing of a summons and complaint on October 31, 2001, pursuant to the provisions of article 22 of the Executive Law and by the service of an order to show cause with a temporary restraining order attached with supporting affirmation from John F. McHugh, Esq., on November 8, 2001. In response, the defendant filed a notice of motion in opposition requesting that the court dismiss the plaintiff's complaint on the grounds that the causes of action therein are barred by the statute of limitations and/or fail to state a cause of action asserting that article 22, section 632-a (3) of the Executive Law is unconstitutional. Thereafter, by letter dated [***2]  January 22, 2002, the Office of the Attorney General requested that they be allowed to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the statute pursuant to Executive Law § 71 and CPLR 1012 (b).

This action is brought pursuant to Executive Law article 22, also known as the Son of Sam Law, by the plaintiff, Melanie Snuszki, the duly appointed administratrix of the estate of her mother, Peggy Anne Bannach Wright, who was murdered on January 22, 1988, by the defendant, Thomas Wright. Ms. Wright was survived by her two children, Ian Wright and Melanie Wright (now Snuszki). The defendant was convicted of murder in the second degree, a "specified crime" as defined in section 632-a (1) (e) (i) of the Executive Law and is incarcerated at Sullivan County Correctional Facility as an "inmate serving a sentence with the department of correctional services" as defined in section 632-a (1) (c) (i) of the Executive Law. The defendant received $ 25,000 as a settlement in an action brought by him against certain individuals employed by the New York State Department of Correctional Services on or about May 17, 2001. The monies that the defendant received fall within the [***3]  scope of the statute, which states in pertinent part:

] "Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of the estates, powers and trusts law or the civil practice law and rules with respect to the timely bringing of an action, any crime victim shall have the right to bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover money damages from a person convicted of a crime of which the crime victim is a  [*492]  victim, or the representative of that convicted [**347]  person, within three years of the discovery of any profits from a crime or funds of a convicted person, as those terms are defined in this section." (Executive Law § 632-a .)

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193 Misc. 2d 490 *; 751 N.Y.S.2d 344 **; 2002 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1507 ***

Melanie Snuszki, as Administrator of the Estate of Peggy A.B. Wright, Deceased, for the Benefit of Ian Wright et al., Plaintiff, v Thomas Wright, Defendant, and Eliot Spitzer, as Attorney General of the State of New York, Intervenor.

Subsequent History: Affirmed by Snuszki v. Wright, 2003 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 12365 (N.Y. App. Div. 4th Dep't, Nov. 21, 2003)

Disposition:  [***1]  Defendant's motion to dismiss denied.

CORE TERMS

Executive Law, courts, crime victim, convicted person, fundamental rights, funds, statute of limitations, constitutional right

Civil Procedure, Remedies, Damages, Monetary Damages, Criminal Law & Procedure, Sentencing, Profits From Crime, Constitutional Law, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, General Overview, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Prisoner Rights, Access to Courts, Postconviction Proceedings, Imprisonment, Scope, Law Enforcement Officials, Discrimination, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Extensions & Revivals, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Eyewitness Identification, Due Process Protections, Fair Identification Requirement