Justice Sotomayor’s Statement in Oritz v. Breslin
Today, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Ortiz v. Breslin. This case has been floating around for some time. It was first distributed for conference on 9/27/2021. It was rescheduled twelve times! It seems that Justice Sotomayor was likely trying to muster three more votes for cert. She was unsuccessful. Instead, she wrote a six-page statement respecting the denial of certiorari. It is not quite a dissent, but Justice Sotomayor states very clearly that she thinks the New York Court of Appeals got the case wrong.
Here is Justice Sotomayor’s summary of the dispute:
In New York, criminal defendants who earn sufficient good time credits before the end of their prison sentences are entitled to conditional release. Defendants classified by the State as “level three sex offenders,” however, must first assure the State that they will not reside within 1,000 feet of any school. In New York City, this is no easy task, and the difficulties of finding a compliant residence can result in defendants serving additional time in prison past the expiration of their sentences. Because petitioner Angel Ortiz was unable to identify any release address that satisfied the State’s requirement, he spent over two additional years in-carcerated when he should have been at liberty. Although Ortiz’s petition does not satisfy this Court’s criteria for granting certiorari, I write to emphasize that New York’s residential prohibition, as applied to New York City, raises serious constitutional concerns.
Justice Sotomayor explains that in New York City, it is virtually impossible for a person to live more than 1,000 feet from a school. And, she contends, the state’s policy is not narrowly tailored to the density of New York C
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