People v. David Lofton; People v. Kevin Minemier


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 (Lofton), 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.