People v. Herskowitz

CourtNew York County Court
Writing for the CourtTHEODORE DACHENHAUSEN, Jr.
Citation80 Misc.2d 693,364 N.Y.S.2d 350
Decision Date03 February 1975
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York v. Israel Zef HERSKOWITZ and Julius Michael Jacobs, Defendants.

Page 350

364 N.Y.S.2d 350
80 Misc.2d 693
The PEOPLE of the State of New York
v.
Israel Zef HERSKOWITZ and Julius Michael Jacobs, Defendants.
Orange County Court.
Feb. 3, 1975.

Page 353

Abraham J. Weissman, Dist. Atty., for Orange County, Goshen, for the people.

Arnold Becker, New City, for defendants.

THEODORE DACHENHAUSEN, Jr., Judge.

Initial motions to dismiss having been denied, defendants now bring this supplemental pre-trial motion to dismiss Indictment No. 138--74 upon the ground that the acts alleged in said indictment do not constitute the crime of bribery. Said indictment alleges as follows:

[80 Misc.2d 694] 'The Grand Jury of Orange County, by this Indictment, accuse Israel Zef Herskowitz and Julius Michael Jacobs of the crime of Bribery in the Second Degree, in violation of the provisions of Section 200.00 of the Penal Law of the State of New York, committed as follows:

The said defendants, on or about and between May 21, 1974 and June 27, 1974, in the Town of Wallkill and City of Middletown, Orange County, New York, conferred, offered and agreed to confer a benefit, to wit: Money, upon a public servant to wit: Louis Ingrassia, Assemblyman of the State of New York, upon his agreement and understanding that such public servant's vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision or exercise of discretion as a public servant would thereby be influenced so that property owned by defendants and known as the Comfort Farm, would be permitted to connect to and become a part of a water district and sewer district located in the Town of Wallkill, Orange County, New York.

Section 200.00 of the Penal Law provides:

' § 200.00 Bribery in the second degree

A person is guilty of bribery in the second degree when he confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a public servant upon an agreement or understanding that such public servant's vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision or exercise of discretion as a public servant will thereby be influenced.'

The defendants' position, in effect, is stated thusly: Conceding, for the purposes of this motion, that every fact recited in the indictment is true, said indictment does not allege facts which constitute a violation of Penal Law Section 200.00 and, therefore, is fatally defective as a matter of law because the official alleged to have been bribed, Within the conduct of his office as a public servant, had no power, authority or function to perform or refrain from performing the act in respect of which it was sought to influence him.

Page 354

The touchstone of this motion, therefore, involves an interpretation of the phrase 'as a public servant' as contained in Section 200.00 and a determination of whether the conduct sought to be performed in this case was within the ambits of such phrase as it applies to a member of the State Assembly.

From its earliest common law beginnings the crime of bribery has been denoted as an offense involving an official who accepted, privately, an undue reward intended to influence conduct in office. Although originally directed against the corruption of judges and other officials involved in administering justice, its scope has been enlarged over the years so that today it [80 Misc.2d 695] encompasses all public servants. Even though the evolution of this penal statute has significantly expanded the category of public officers whose corruption is prohibited, it is significant that the conduct sought to be influenced still must relate to the powers, duties or functions of the public officer In his official or public servant capacity, as opposed to his individual capacity. People v. Chapman, 13 N.Y.2d 97, 242 N.Y.S.2d 200, 192 N.E.2d 160.

An examination of the various decisions interpreting the provisions of Section 200.00 and its progenitors reveals in each case that the individual found to have been bribed had either colorable authority to act in connection with the subject matter of the bribe (People v. Jackson, 191 N.Y. 293, 84 N.E. 65; People v. LaFaro, 250 N.Y. 336, 165 N.E. 518; People v. Chapman, supra), or some official relationship thereto by virtue of his employment. People v. Clougher, 246 N.Y. 106, 158 N.E. 38.

It is a cardinal rule of statutory interpretation that the...

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8 practice notes
  • US v. Analytis, No. 87 Cr. 902 (DNE).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 24 mai 1988
    ...a valid defense to a charge of bribery. See e.g., State v. Bowling, 5 Ariz.App. 436, 427 P.2d 928 (1967); People v. Herskowitz, 80 Misc.2d 693, 364 N.Y.S.2d 350 (1975), aff'd, 51 A.D.2d 1047, 382 N.Y.S.2d 293 (2d Dep't 1976), aff'd, 41 N.Y. 2d 1094, 396 N.Y.S.2d 356, 364 N.E.2d 1127 (1977);......
  • People v. Smith
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • 30 mai 1985
    ...all persons retained to perform government service. (People v. Ebuzome, supra at 466, 435 N.Y.S.2d 243, citing People v. Herskowitz, 80 Misc.2d 693, 694-695, 364 N.Y.S.2d 350 (Orange Co Ct, 1975)). Noting that statutes must be construed according to their "fair import" and to "promote justi......
  • People v. Groh
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • 11 janvier 1979
    ...convinced that the "defect" attending the first grand jury proceedings was not of an inherently fatal nature. Cf. People v. Herskowitz, 80 Misc.2d 693, 364 N.Y.S.2d 350 (Co.Ct. Orange Co., Assuming that a third submission was not barred by CPL 190.75(3) or 210.20(4), resubmission in the dis......
  • People v. Dewall, 2002-04346.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • 14 février 2005
    ...NY, Book 1, Statutes § 276; People v Gottlieb, 36 NY2d 629, 632 [1975]) or to stretch "a statute to fit the facts" (People v Herskowitz, 80 Misc 2d 693, 697 [1975], affd 51 AD2d 1047 [1976], affd 41 NY2d 1094 Here, contrary to the People's contention, the words are plainly limiting. To inte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • US v. Analytis, No. 87 Cr. 902 (DNE).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 24 mai 1988
    ...a valid defense to a charge of bribery. See e.g., State v. Bowling, 5 Ariz.App. 436, 427 P.2d 928 (1967); People v. Herskowitz, 80 Misc.2d 693, 364 N.Y.S.2d 350 (1975), aff'd, 51 A.D.2d 1047, 382 N.Y.S.2d 293 (2d Dep't 1976), aff'd, 41 N.Y. 2d 1094, 396 N.Y.S.2d 356, 364 N.E.2d 1127 (1977);......
  • People v. Smith
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • 30 mai 1985
    ...all persons retained to perform government service. (People v. Ebuzome, supra at 466, 435 N.Y.S.2d 243, citing People v. Herskowitz, 80 Misc.2d 693, 694-695, 364 N.Y.S.2d 350 (Orange Co Ct, 1975)). Noting that statutes must be construed according to their "fair import" and to "promote justi......
  • People v. Groh
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • 11 janvier 1979
    ...convinced that the "defect" attending the first grand jury proceedings was not of an inherently fatal nature. Cf. People v. Herskowitz, 80 Misc.2d 693, 364 N.Y.S.2d 350 (Co.Ct. Orange Co., Assuming that a third submission was not barred by CPL 190.75(3) or 210.20(4), resubmission in the dis......
  • People v. Dewall, 2002-04346.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • 14 février 2005
    ...NY, Book 1, Statutes § 276; People v Gottlieb, 36 NY2d 629, 632 [1975]) or to stretch "a statute to fit the facts" (People v Herskowitz, 80 Misc 2d 693, 697 [1975], affd 51 AD2d 1047 [1976], affd 41 NY2d 1094 Here, contrary to the People's contention, the words are plainly limiting. To inte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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