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Legislative Memo: Allowing the Town of Oyster Bay to Create an Administrative Tribunal to Circumvent Criminal Discovery Laws

The NYCLU urges the Assembly not to pass S.6402 (Gaughran) / A.6344 (Montesano). The bill, which would allow the town of Oyster Bay to create its own quasi-criminal court system for adjudicating town code violations, is a transparent attempt to skirt the comprehensive criminal discovery reforms enacted two years ago. It raises due process questions and other serious policy concerns, and would shroud Oyster Bay’s code enforcement system in secrecy and allow residents to complain anonymously about their neighbors. It is a misguided local attempt to roll back recent reforms that ensure full due process, including discovery rights, for all New Yorkers, and should be stopped in its tracks. Due process should be a goal for all legislators, not an obstacle to be circumvented.

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