Research

New York State Office of the Special Prosecutor Executive Files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
Executive Orders 55 through 59, issued by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller on September 19, 1972, required the Attorney General to appoint one or more special deputies and assistants to investigate and prosecute alleged "corrupt acts and omissions" in the five counties comprising the City of New York. This series consists of notes, audio-visual material, press clippings, memorandums, and reference material relating to cases being investigated by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Investigation of the New York City Criminal Justice System.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
108 cubic feet (including 36 audio reels/cassettes and 2 videotapes)
Inclusive Dates:
1967-1990
Series Number:
16104

Administrative History

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption in the City of New York (known as the "Knapp Commission" from its chairman, Whitman Knapp), appointed by the mayor in 1970, issued a report in 1972 recommending the appointment of a special prosecutor. Executive Orders 55 through 59, issued by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller on September 19, 1972, required the Attorney General to appoint one or more special deputies and assistants to investigate and prosecute alleged "corrupt acts and omissions" in the five counties comprising the City of New York.

Those acts were specified as including unauthorized exercise of an official function, failure to perform a public duty, and violations of various sections of the Penal Law, including coercion, larceny, official misconduct, obstructing governmental administration, bribery involving public servants and related offenses, perjury and related offenses; also criminal solicitation, conspiracy, and criminal facilitation relating to the aforementioned offenses. Subjects of investigation and prosecution included both individuals, in particular "public servants" (public officers and employees), and other public or private entities. The Office of the Special Prosecutor focused its attention mainly on the New York City Police Department.

Scope and Content Note

16104-90: These records include correspondence files (alphabetical or chronological); topical subject files; case tracking information (including judicial assignments, court calendars, etc.); case status reports; prosecution analysis reports; legal opinions and rulings; bribery arrest authorizations; indictment files; research materials; copies of executive orders authorizing prosecutions; annual reports; news releases; and press clippings. There are also small quantities of investigative files and wiretap reports.

16104-91: In addition to the kinds of records found in accession 16104-90, this accretion includes surveys of drug defendant sentencing (1967-1974) and "Corruption Summaries" (1975-1981).

16104-92: These are additional general files primarily containing notes, press clippings, memoranda, and reference material relating to cases being investigated by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Investigation of the New York City Criminal Justice System. Records in this accretion relate to the service of Roderick C. Lankler who, while serving as chief of the trial division of Manhattan's district attorney's office, was appointed chief assistant to special state prosecutor John Keenan. Lankler was later appointed chief counsel to Arthur L. Liman's Executive Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice.

The records include a few incomplete case files which include scattered copies of affidavits, memoranda of law, and motions filed, as well as some notes apparently made by Lankler, along with related materials, in the course of his duties. There is also one file of travel vouchers and affirmations of funds disbursed to Lankler.

16104 92A: This accretion consists of audio-visual material primarily related to investigative work of the Office of Special Prosecutor. Included are 31 audio cassettes, 2 half-inch reels of videotape, and 5 reels of audio tape containing interviews, cross examinations, expert testimony, dictation and comments, and broadcast interviews and debates.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Partly restricted by Executive Law sect. 63.8, Civil Rights Law sect. 73.8, and Freedom of Information Law sect. 87.2(a), (b), (c), (f), and (g). Statues restricting access to certain materials pursuant to Freedom of Information Law sect. 87.2(a) are Criminal Procedure Law sect. 700.65 (communications intercepted by authority of an "eavesdropping" warrant); Penal Law sect. 215.70 (grand jury testimony); Civil Practice Law and Rules sect. 3101(b) (confidential attorney-client communications); and Criminal Procedure Law sect. 240.10(2) (confidential attorney work product or material prepared for litigation).

Related Information

Related Materials

Series 16012 New York City Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the City's Anti-Corruption Procedures background and investigation files, contains related material.

Other finding aids

16104-90, 16104-91: Container list is available at the repository.

Processing Information

16104-92: This accretion was culled from a group of records from the Executive Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice (now series A3336) which were weeded by Archives staff at the time of accession.

16104-92A: This accretion was culled from a group of records from the Temporary State Commission to Make a Study of the Governmental Operations of the City of New York (now series A3337-92) which were weeded by Archives staff at the time of accession.

Access Terms

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