January 24, 2016

Appeals court: Sullivan sex offender jailed too long

1-20-16 New York:

FALLSBURG — The Sullivan County Correctional Facility imprisoned a convicted sex offender more than eight months longer than it was supposed to, according to an appellate court ruling.

The Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department said in its ruling Thursday that the maximum security prison — overseen by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision — erred in continuing to hold New York City resident William Green after his release date.

The court also overturned the decision by Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda that kept him in prison.

DOCCS spokesman Patrick Bailey said the agency is "reviewing the decision."

Green was convicted in 2013 of first-degree attempted sexual abuse, a felony; two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and public lewdness, all misdemeanors. He is classified as a level 3 sex offender, the highest risk to commit another sex crime.

Green was sentenced to three years in prison and was scheduled to be released in February. It wasn’t until October that he was released. The court said even though its decision came after Green was released, it was important to rule on his case because this situation was “likely to recur.”

DOCCS explained it continued to hold Green because he had not found “secured suitable housing,” according to the court’s ruling. Green then challenged his imprisonment. In March, LaBuda denied the challenge because he still hadn’t found proper housing.

LaBuda did not immediately return a request for comment.

The appellate court said it understands the “difficulty in finding acceptable housing for sex offenders," but it’s still up to DOCCS to “assist in the process.” It said housing aids in reducing the chances Green, or any sex offender, would commit another crime.

Jill Sanders, Green’s New York City attorney, said Green is back in NYC and is “doing well.” She said she hopes the ruling sends a message.

“Mr. Green served his sentence and he was ready to go back to his community and re-enter successfully,” Sanders said. “(DOCCS) didn’t give him the opportunity to do that.” ..Source.. by Andrew Beam

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