Provides for the admissibility of recordings and logs of inmate calls made by the department of correction of the city of New York, as business records.
BILL NUMBER:S2485 REVISED 4/25/13
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to the admissibility as business records of recordings and logs made by the department of correction of the city of New York of inmate telephone calls
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of this bill amends Rule 4518 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules by adding a new subdivision (h) to provide that New York City Department of Correction (DOC) recordings of inmate telephone calls and logs containing identifying information about the calls are admissible in evidence as business records without further need for foundation testimony. The bill requires a certification or authentication of the records. The party seeking to introduce the records into evidence would have to provide reasonable written notice to an adverse party and make the records and the certification or authentication available for inspection.
Section two is the effective date.
REASONS FOR SUPPORT: It is current practice for The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) to record telephone calls made by inmates as part of its regular course of business. DOC provides notice to all people on the call and does not record inmate conversations with their attorney or other privileged communications. Computer generated logs for these calls contain identifying information about the call, including the time of call, the telephone number of origin, the telephone number called, the inmate identification number used to make the call, and the name of the inmate associated with that identification number. These are then subject to subpoenas requesting copies of these phone calls and directing DOC representatives to appear and testify at court proceedings to authenticate the recordings.
DOC receives approximately 200 requests per week from District Attorneys and other parties for recordings of inmate telephone calls and the corresponding logs. Current law requires that these recordings and logs be authenticated with in-court testimony before they are admitted into evidence, causing DOC to send an employee to court to provide authentication testimony which, depending on court schedules, can cause the employee to spend hours or even an entire day waiting to testify in what turns out to be a routine process of authentication.
This proposal seeks the ability to authenticate recorded inmate phone calls as a business record in writing, provided it bears a certification by an appropriate DOC representative, as opposed to sending a representative to appear and authenticate the record in person and diverting already scarce department employee time and resources. Codifying these recordings and logs as admissible under the business record exception is appropriate because the records are made by DOC in the regular course of business and similar allowance is permissible by law for other business records such as hospital bills. Nothing in this proposal would preclude the court from requesting the appropriate DOC representative from being called to appear and authenticate the record in person, it would simply allow for the
written authentication as a business record. The staff and resources currently dedicated to authenticating these records in court could then be better utilized on other pressing legal matters affecting DOC and on efficiently responding to the parties' requests for records.
Accordingly, the Mayor urges the earliest possible favorable consideration of this proposal by the Legislature.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2485 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 17, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to the admissibility as business records of recordings and logs made by the department of correction of the city of New York of inmate telephone calls THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Rule 4518 of the civil practice law and rules is amended by adding a new subdivision (h) to read as follows: (H) A RECORDING MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK OF AN INMATE'S TELEPHONE CALL, OR A LOG MADE BY SUCH DEPARTMENT CONTAINING IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ABOUT SUCH A CALL, SUCH AS THE TIME OF THE CALL, TELEPHONE NUMBERS OF ORIGIN AND DESTINATION OF THE CALL, INMATE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER USED TO PLACE THE CALL AND NAME OF THE INMATE ASSOCIATED WITH SUCH IDENTIFICATION NUMBER, IS ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE UNDER THIS RULE WITHOUT FURTHER NEED FOR FOUNDATION TESTIMONY, PROVIDED THAT THE RECORDING OR LOG IS ACCOMPANIED BY A CERTIFICATION OR AUTHENTICATION BY A CUSTODIAN OF THE RECORDING OR LOG OR ANOTHER QUALI- FIED PERSON FROM SUCH DEPARTMENT DESIGNATED FOR THAT PURPOSE THAT THE RECORDING OR LOG WAS MADE IN THE REGULAR COURSE OF SUCH DEPARTMENT'S BUSINESS, AND THAT IT WAS THE REGULAR COURSE OF SUCH BUSINESS TO MAKE THE RECORDING AT THE TIME OF THE INMATE'S TELEPHONE CALL OR TO MAKE THE LOG AT THE TIME OF THE INMATE'S TELEPHONE CALL OR WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME THEREAFTER. PRIOR TO THE TRIAL OR HEARING, THE PARTY SEEKING TO INTRODUCE THE RECORDING OR LOG INTO EVIDENCE SHALL PROVIDE AN ADVERSE PARTY WITH REASONABLE WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE INTENT TO OFFER THE RECORD- ING OR LOG AND SHALL MAKE THE RECORDING OR LOG AND THE CERTIFICATION OR AUTHENTICATION AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05565-01-3