People v. David Lofton
Decided June 22, 2017
Issues before the Court: Whether the sentencing court must not merely make grumbling noises about whether it was making a youthful offender (YO) determination, but actually make one (Loften), and, if so, does the judge have to state reasons for denying YO (Minimier)?
Held: The sentencing judge must squarely make an on the record YO determination where the defendant is eligible for YO; mere grumbling mutterings revealing the judge’s attitude about granting YO are insufficient (Lofton). However, in denying YO, the court does not have to put its reasons on the record; it can just say. “I’m denying YO” (Minemier).
CAL Observes: The Minemier decision went against the jurisprudence of some of the Appellate Divisions. But the decision was unanimous: nothing in the CPL requires the judge to give reasons in making a YO determination.