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From: Robert Freeman

Date: 3/25/02 4:01PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Military Discharges

Dear

I have received your inquiry in which you asked whether a request to have a DD-214 sealed must be made at the time that the record is filed with the County Clerk.

The statute that deals with foregoing, section 79-g of the Civil Rights Law, states that:

"a. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general, special or local law to the contrary, any person filing a certificate of honorable discharge in the office of a county clerk shall have the right to direct the county clerk to keep such certificate sealed.

b. Thereafter, such certificate shall be made available to the veteran, a duly authorized agent or representative of such veteran or the representative of the estate of a deceased veteran but shall not be open for public inspection."

As I interpret the language quoted above, there is no requirement that a request to have a certificate of honorable discharge sealed must be made at the time that such document is filed with a county clerk. While that language is not entirely clear, there is nothing specifying that a request to have the certificate sealed can only be made at the time of filing.

I hope that I have been of assistance.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
NYS Committee on Open Government
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231
(518) 474-2518 - Phone (518) 474-1927 - Fax Website - www.dos.ny.gov/coog/coogwww.html

>>> Janet Mercer 03/25/02 03:43PM >>>

>>> Dears Sir or Madam, I have a situation where an individual who has his DD-214 on file in our office has requested that it be sealed. I have gone forward with this request.I now am being challenged by someone who wishes to inspect this particular Military Discharge saying that the request to seal a DD-214 must be made at the time of the actual filing. Once it is filed can it be sealed? Thank you for your attention to this matter.