April 27, 1998
Mr. Louis Chaney
Clinton Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 2001
Dannemora, NY 12929-2001
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue
advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the
information presented in your correspondence.
Dear Mr. Chaney:
I have received your letter of April 5 in which you sought assistance
in obtaining a certificate of conviction relating to a 1983 arrest that resulted
in a youthful offender adjudication.
While I am not an expert on the subject, it appears that you cannot
obtain a certification of conviction because the youthful offender adjudication
is not equivalent to a conviction. I direct your attention to §720.35 of the
Criminal Procedure Law, which states in relevant part that:
"1. A youthful offender adjudication is not a
judgment of conviction for a crime or any
other offense, and does not operate as a
disqualification of any person so adjudged to
hold public office or public employment or to
receive any license granted by public authority
but shall be deemed a conviction only for the
purposes of transfer of supervision and
custody pursuant to section two-hundred fifty-nine of the executive law.
2. Except where specifically required or
permitted by statute or upon specific
authorization of the court, all official records
and papers, whether on file with a court, a
police agency or the division of criminal justice
services, relating to a case involving a youth
who has been adjudicated a youthful offender,
are confidential and may not be made available
to any person or public or private agency,
other than an institution to which such youth
has been committed, the division of parole and
a probation department of this state the
requires such official records and papers for
the purpose of carrying out duties specifically
authorized by law."
Based on the foregoing, a youthful offender adjudication is not a conviction.
Further, I believe that authorization from the court would be required to
obtain any records relating to a youthful offender adjudication.
It is suggested that you discuss the matter with your attorney.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman