Frolov v. Delo

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New York)
Writing for the CourtMORTON B. SILBERMAN
Citation383 N.Y.S.2d 470,86 Misc.2d 485
Decision Date20 February 1976
PartiesApplication of Dimitris FROLOV, Individually and on Behalf of all Persons Similarly Situated, Petitioner, for a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, v. Raymond DELO, Individually and in his capacity as Town Clerk of the Town of Orangetown, and Ogden R. Reid, Individually and in his capacity as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Respondents.

Page 470

383 N.Y.S.2d 470
86 Misc.2d 485
Application of Dimitris FROLOV, Individually and on Behalf
of all Persons Similarly Situated, Petitioner, for
a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 of the
Civil Practice Law and Rules,
v.
Raymond DELO, Individually and in his capacity as Town Clerk
of the Town of Orangetown, and Ogden R. Reid, Individually
and in his capacity as Commissioner of the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation, Respondents.
Supreme Court, Rockland County.
Feb. 20, 1976.

Page 471

Lee A. Hoffman, Jr., Nyack, for petitioner.

John J. Fox, Town Atty., Town of Orangetown, Orangeburg, for respondent Delo.

Louis J. Lefkowitz, Atty. Gen., New York City, for respondent Reid.

MORTON B. SILBERMAN, Justice.

This is a CPLR article 78 proceeding in the nature of mandamus. Petitioner, a 75-year-old alien who has resided in the United States for 13 years and in Rockland County for five years, seeks a judgment compelling respondents to issue to him a New York State fishing license without payment of any fee. The issue presented is whether section 11--0715 of the Environmental Conservation Law is violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution in that it authorizes the issuance of free hunting and fishing licenses to 'citizenresidents' over age 70, but requires 'alienresidents' over age 70 to pay the usual fees therefor.

In general terms, a denial of equal protection occurs where there exists a systematic pattern of discrimination between classes of persons with no rational basis for differentiation (e.g., Mtr. of Posner v. Rockefeller, 31 A.D.2d 352, 353, 297 N.Y.S.2d 867, 869, affd. 25 N.Y.2d 720, 307 N.Y.S.2d 224, 255 N.E.2d 563). Conversely, there is no denial of equal protection if a reasonable relationship supports the classification made and the legitimate purpose

Page 472

sought to be achieved in making it (McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 81 S.Ct. 1101, 6 L.Ed.2d 393; Allied Stores of Ohio v. Bowers, 358 U.S. 522, 79 S.Ct. 437, 3 L.Ed.2d 480; Matter of Bauch v. City of New York, 21 N.Y.2d 599, 606--607, 289 N.Y.S.2d 951, 954--955, 237 N.E.2d 211, 213--214, cert. den. 393 U.S. 834, 89 S.Ct. 108, 21 L.Ed.2d 105; see, also, People v. Ditniak, 28 N.Y.2d 74, 78, 320 N.Y.S.2d 25, 27, 268 N.E.2d 768, 769).

Unquestionably, legally admitted aliens are 'persons' within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and, as such, are entitled to the equal protection of...

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