University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Graziano v. Pataki CJ-NY-0004
Docket / Court 7:06-cv-00480-CS ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On January 23, 2006, prisoners in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services and serving sentences for second degree murder filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against ... read more >
On January 23, 2006, prisoners in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services and serving sentences for second degree murder filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Governor Pataki and the New York State Division of Parole. Plaintiffs alleged that Governor Pataki instigated an unofficial policy of denying parole release to prisoners convicted of A-1 violent felony offenses solely on the basis of the violent nature of such offenses, and thus without proper consideration of any other relevant or statutorily mandated factor. This unofficial policy, plaintiffs alleged, resulted in unconstitutional enhancements of their sentences in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the ex post facto clause.

Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim. The District Court (Judge Brieant) denied the motion. Graziano v. Pataki, 2006 WL 2023082, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52556 (S.D.N.Y., July 17, 2006).

Defendants subsequently filed a second motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed opposition papers and moved for class certification on behalf of a class consisting of: all prisoners in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services who: 1) were convicted of A-1 violent felony offenses; 2), were eligible for parole release; and 3) have been denied parole solely because of the "seriousness of the offense." Hearing on pending motions occurred on July 20, 2007, and the motions were taken under submission by the Court. Shortly thereafter, the parties advised the Court that they expected to reach a settlement of the case and asked the Court to defer its ruling on all pending motions.

In November 2007, settlement negotiations broke down and the defendants notified the Court that they no longer wished to pursue settlement. Shortly thereafter, the District Court (Judge Charles L. Brieant) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification. Graziano v. Pataki, 2007 WL 4302483 (S.D.N.Y. Dec 05, 2007).

On Dec 10, 2010, the US District Court (Judge Seibel) dismissed the case. On January 11, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal. On November 14, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a per curium opinion affirming the judgment of the lower court.

Gregory Pitt - 07/19/2012
Priyah Kaul - 11/18/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Ex Post Facto
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Parole grant/revocation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New York State Division of Parole
Plaintiff Description All prisoners in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services who: 1) were convicted of A-1 violent felony offenses; 2), were eligible for parole release; and 3) have been denied parole because of the “seriousness of the offense"
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
7:06-cv-00480-CLB (S.D.N.Y.) 11/14/2012
CJ-NY-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order 07/17/2006 (2006 WL 2023082) (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0004-0004 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum and Order 12/05/2007 (2007 WL 4302483) (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0004-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
ORDER FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION AND NOTICE TO THE CLASS 12/21/2007 (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0004-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
JUDGMENT 12/16/2010 (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0004-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 08/03/2012 (689 F.3d 110)
CJ-NY-0004-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brieant, Charles L. Jr. (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0004-0001 | CJ-NY-0004-0004 | CJ-NY-0004-0005 | CJ-NY-0004-9000
Katzmann, Robert A. (Second Circuit)
CJ-NY-0004-0003
Seibel, Cathy (S.D.N.Y.)
CJ-NY-0004-9000
Underhill, Stefan R. (D. Conn.)
CJ-NY-0004-0003
Wesley, Richard C. (State Appellate Court, State Trial Court, Second Circuit)
CJ-NY-0004-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Isseks, Robert Nathan (New York)
CJ-NY-0004-0004 | CJ-NY-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dawkins, Julinda A. (New York)
CJ-NY-0004-9000
Johnson, Jennifer Lynn (New York)
CJ-NY-0004-9000
Shevlin, Neil (New York)
CJ-NY-0004-0004 | CJ-NY-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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