S 168-N Judicial determination. 1. A determination that an offender is a sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender as defined in subdivision seven of section one hundred sixty-eight-a of this article shall be made prior to the discharge, parole, release to post-release supervision or release of such offender by the sentencing court applying the guidelines established in subdivision five of section one hundred sixty-eight-l of this article after receiving a recommendation from the board pursuant to section one hundred sixty-eight-l of this article. 2. In addition, applying the guidelines established in subdivision five of section one hundred sixty-eight-l of this article, the sentencing court shall also make a determination with respect to the level of notification, after receiving a recommendation from the board pursuant to section one hundred sixty-eight-l of this article. Both determinations of the sentencing court shall be made thirty calendar days prior to discharge, parole or release. 3. No later than thirty days prior to the board's recommendation, the sex offender shall be notified that his or her case is under review and that he or she is permitted to submit to the board any information relevant to the review. Upon receipt of the board's recommendation, the sentencing court shall determine whether the sex offender was previously found to be eligible for assigned counsel in the underlying case. Where such a finding was previously made, the court shall assign counsel to represent the offender, pursuant to article eighteen-B of the county law. At least twenty days prior to the determination proceeding, the sentencing court shall notify the district attorney, the sex offender and the sex offender's counsel, in writing, of the date of the determination proceeding and shall also provide the district attorney, the sex offender and the sex offender's counsel with a copy of the recommendation received from the board and any statement of the reasons for the recommendation received from the board. This notice shall include the following statement or a substantially similar statement: "This proceeding is being held to determine whether you will be classified as a level 3 offender (risk of repeat offense is high), a level 2 offender (risk of repeat offense is moderate), or a level 1 offender (risk of repeat offense is low), or whether you will be designated as a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender, which will determine how long you must register as a sex offender and how much information can be provided to the public concerning your registration. If you fail to appear at this proceeding, without sufficient excuse, it shall be held in your absence. Failure to appear may result in a longer period of registration or a higher level of community notification because you are not present to offer evidence or contest evidence offered by the district attorney." The written notice to the sex offender shall also advise the offender that he or she has a right to a hearing prior to the court's determination, and that he or she has the right to be represented by counsel at the hearing. If counsel has been assigned to represent the offender at the determination proceeding, the notice shall also provide the name, address and telephone number of the assigned counsel. Where counsel has not been assigned, the notice shall advise the sex offender that counsel will be appointed if he or she is financially unable to retain counsel, and a returnable form shall be enclosed in the court's notice to the sex offender on which the sex offender may apply for assignment of counsel. If the sex offender applies for assignment of counsel and the court finds that the offender is financially unable to retain counsel, the court shall assign counsel to represent the sex offender pursuant to article eighteen-B of the county law. If the district attorney seeks a determination that differs from the recommendation submitted by the board, at least ten days prior to the determination proceeding the district attorney shall provide to the court and the sex offender a statement setting forth the determinations sought by the district attorney together with the reasons for seeking such determinations. The court shall allow the sex offender to appear and be heard. The state shall appear by the district attorney, or his or her designee, who shall bear the burden of proving the facts supporting the determinations sought by clear and convincing evidence. Where there is a dispute between the parties concerning the determinations, the court shall adjourn the hearing as necessary to permit the sex offender or the district attorney to obtain materials relevant to the determinations from the state board of examiners of sex offenders or any state or local facility, hospital, institution, office, agency, department or division. Such materials may be obtained by subpoena if not voluntarily provided to the requesting party. In making the determinations the court shall review any victim's statement and any relevant materials and evidence submitted by the sex offender and the district attorney and the recommendation and any materials submitted by the board, and may consider reliable hearsay evidence submitted by either party, provided that it is relevant to the determinations. Facts previously proven at trial or elicited at the time of entry of a plea of guilty shall be deemed established by clear and convincing evidence and shall not be relitigated. The court shall render an order setting forth its determinations and the findings of fact and conclusions of law on which the determinations are based. A copy of the order shall be submitted by the court to the division. Upon application of either party, the court shall seal any portion of the court file or record which contains material that is confidential under any state or federal statute. Either party may appeal as of right from the order pursuant to the provisions of articles fifty-five, fifty-six and fifty-seven of the civil practice law and rules. Where counsel has been assigned to represent the sex offender upon the ground that the sex offender is financially unable to retain counsel, that assignment shall be continued throughout the pendency of the appeal, and the person may appeal as a poor person pursuant to article eighteen-B of the county law. 4. Upon determination that the risk of repeat offense and threat to public safety is high, the sentencing court shall also notify the division of such fact for the purposes of section one hundred sixty-eight-q of this article. 5. Upon the reversal of a conviction of a sexual offense defined in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subdivision two or three of section one hundred sixty-eight-a of this article, the appellate court shall remand the case to the lower court for entry of an order directing the expungement of any records required to be kept herein. 6. If a sex offender, having been given notice, including the time and place of the determination proceeding in accordance with this section, fails to appear at this proceeding, without sufficient excuse, the court shall conduct the hearing and make the determinations in the manner set forth in subdivision three of this section. Top of Page
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