People v. Coumatos

CourtNew York Court of General Sessions
Writing for the CourtJAMES E. MULACHY
Citation32 Misc.2d 1085,224 N.Y.S.2d 507
Decision Date19 January 1962
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York v. Nicholas COUMATOS, Defendant.

Page 507

224 N.Y.S.2d 507
32 Misc.2d 1085
The PEOPLE of the State of New York
v.
Nicholas COUMATOS, Defendant.
Court of General Sessions, New York County.
Jan. 19, 1962.

Page 508

Maurice J. McCarthy, Jr., New York City, for defendant.

Frank S. Hogan, Dist. Atty. of New York County, New York City, Oscar J. Cohen, Asst. Dist. Atty., New York City, of counsel, for the People.

Page 509

JAMES E. MULACHY, Judge.

Defendant, an American citizen was tried on a forty-four count indictment for the crimes of grand larceny in the first degree by means of false and fraudulent representations made by the defendant, all of which crimes were allegedly committed within the confines of the United Nations Headquarters.

The evidence indicated that the defendant was employed on the premises at the United Nations Headquarters as an inventory clerk on the payroll of the United Nations, and that he was arrested by the New York City Police outside the United Nations Headquarters, to wit in Bronx County.

[32 Misc.2d 1086] The defendant waived his right to a trial by jury and consented to proceed with the Court as the sole trier of the facts as well as the law.

In this case the defendant has objected to the entire proceeding on the stated ground that this Court is entirely without jurisdiction by virtue of his position as a United Nations employee and in view of the fact that all of the alleged acts constituting a violation of our Penal Law took place on the United Nations premises, which the United States ceded to this International Organization by agreement in 1947.

On June 26, 1947, the United States and the United Nations entered into an agreement commonly called the 'Headquarters Agreement', Title 22 U.S.C.A. § 287 note; 61 Stat. 756, Ch. 482, 80th Congress, First Session 1947. Under its provisions, diplomatic immunity was extended to four principal categories of representatives of member nations of the United Nations, i. e., ambassadors or ministers plenipotentiary; resident members or their staffs; persons designated in the United Nations Charter; and such other principal resident representatives of members to a specialized agency or members of their staffs.

Penal Law, Sec. 25 has codified this rule of national policy regarding immunity of foreign diplomats and their staffs in New York . (See also U.S.Const. Art. 3, Sec. 2).

However, this blanket immunity was not conferred upon officers and employees of the United Nations--as distinguished from the four categories of resident representatives of the United Nations--but their immunity is defined in the International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945 (Title 22 U.S.C.A. § 288 et seq.).

'An employee of the United Nations, as such, is separate and distinct from persons designated by foreign governments to serve as their governmental representatives in or to the United Nations'. United States v. Melekh, 1960, D.C., 190 F.Supp. 67, 81. The distinction appears in Article 105 of the United Nations Charter (79th Congress, First Session, 1945, 59 Stat. 1033, 1053) and Title 22 U.S.C.A. Secs. 288b and 288d.

Under Section 288b, relating to immunity from suit and local processes, it is provided that representatives, employees and officers of international

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organizations have immunity only with respect to 'acts performed by them in their official capacity and falling within their functions as such [representatives], officers or employees'. See United States v. Coplon, D.C., 1949, 84 F.Supp. 472.

The Court notes that defendant, even as an United States citizen, by virtue of his employment with the United Nations, [32 Misc.2d 1087] would gain the same immunity as any official of an international organization for all acts performed in his official capacity. (See Congressional Comments on the Immunities Act, 1945, U.S.Code Cong.Service, p. 946) .

In this case the defendant does not claim that he was or is...

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5 practice notes
  • United States v. Al Sharaf, Criminal No. 15-mj-139 (BAH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • May 2, 2016
    ...of his U.N. employment.’ " Id . at 535 (discussing People v. Coumatos , 224 N.Y.S.2d 504, 510 (Sup.Ct.1961), later opinion , 32 Misc.2d 1085, 224 N.Y.S.2d 507 (Sup.Ct.1961), aff'd mem. 20 A.D.2d 850, 247 N.Y.S.2d 1000 (N.Y.App.Div.1964) ). The De Luca court explained that " Coumat......
  • De Luca v. United Nations Organization, No. 92 Civ. 2021 (WK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 10, 1994
    ...Plaintiff would have us rely on People v. Coumatos, (Gen.Sess.N.Y.Co.1961) 224 N.Y.S.2d 504, later opinion, (Gen.Sess.N.Y.Co.1962) 32 Misc.2d 1085, 224 N.Y.S.2d 507, aff'd mem. (1st Dep't.1964) 20 A.D.2d 850, 247 N.Y.S.2d 1000, in which the trial court held that defendant, a U.N. inventory ......
  • People v. Weiner, AP--17
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • January 19, 1976
    ...absence of any rules or regulations of the United Nations in conflict with the local law, the local law applies (see People v. Coumatos, 32 Misc.2d 1085, 224 N.Y.S.2d Included in this court's determination of jurisdiction in this case is the issue of the propriety of the District Attorney o......
  • Great Neck Suburban Hotel Corp. v. Board of Zoning and Appeals of Town of North Hempstead
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • January 30, 1962
    ...78 proceeding may be commenced to compel the issuance of the permit. The fact that a hotel is defined by the ordinance as a building [32 Misc.2d 1085] 'for a residential use' (section 180.27) would appear to support the belated contention of the petitioner that the rooms occupied by the gue......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • United States v. Al Sharaf, Criminal No. 15-mj-139 (BAH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • May 2, 2016
    ...of his U.N. employment.’ " Id . at 535 (discussing People v. Coumatos , 224 N.Y.S.2d 504, 510 (Sup.Ct.1961), later opinion , 32 Misc.2d 1085, 224 N.Y.S.2d 507 (Sup.Ct.1961), aff'd mem. 20 A.D.2d 850, 247 N.Y.S.2d 1000 (N.Y.App.Div.1964) ). The De Luca court explained that " Coumat......
  • De Luca v. United Nations Organization, No. 92 Civ. 2021 (WK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 10, 1994
    ...Plaintiff would have us rely on People v. Coumatos, (Gen.Sess.N.Y.Co.1961) 224 N.Y.S.2d 504, later opinion, (Gen.Sess.N.Y.Co.1962) 32 Misc.2d 1085, 224 N.Y.S.2d 507, aff'd mem. (1st Dep't.1964) 20 A.D.2d 850, 247 N.Y.S.2d 1000, in which the trial court held that defendant, a U.N. inventory ......
  • People v. Weiner, AP--17
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • January 19, 1976
    ...absence of any rules or regulations of the United Nations in conflict with the local law, the local law applies (see People v. Coumatos, 32 Misc.2d 1085, 224 N.Y.S.2d Included in this court's determination of jurisdiction in this case is the issue of the propriety of the District Attorney o......
  • Great Neck Suburban Hotel Corp. v. Board of Zoning and Appeals of Town of North Hempstead
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • January 30, 1962
    ...78 proceeding may be commenced to compel the issuance of the permit. The fact that a hotel is defined by the ordinance as a building [32 Misc.2d 1085] 'for a residential use' (section 180.27) would appear to support the belated contention of the petitioner that the rooms occupied by the gue......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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