Friday, August 22, 2014

An individual’s domicile and residence distinguished


An individual’s domicile and residence distinguished
Weiss v Teachout, 2014 NY Slip Op 05888, Appellate Division, Second Department*

A person may have only one domicile at a time but he or she may have many residences simultaneously.

From time to time, however, the term “residence” is used as a substitute for the term “domicile.” This was demonstrated in Weiss v Teachout.

Seeking to invalidate the petition designating Zephyr R. Teachout as a candidate for the office of governor, Harris Weiss alleged that Teachout did not meet the constitutional residency requirements for the office of governor.

Article IV, §2 of the State Constitution, in pertinent part, requires that an individual seeking election to the office of governor “shall have been five years next preceding the election a resident of this state” while Election Law §1-104.22 states that the term residence “shall be deemed to mean that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which he [or she], wherever temporarily located, always intends to return."

The Appellate Division explained that as used in the Election Law, and presumably in the State Constitution, the term ‘residence' is being used to denote an individual's legal status that is more accurately described as his or her “domicile."

Crucial to the determination as to whether an individual satisfies the constitutional “residency” requirement, said the court, is that the individual manifests an intent [to reside there], coupled with physical presence without any aura of sham [see People v. O'Hara, 96 NY2d 378].**

The Appellate Division sustained Supreme Court's determination that the Weiss failed demonstrate that Teachout did not meet the constitutional residency requirements for the office of governor is warranted by the facts.

The Appellate Division held that although both the Constitution and the Election Law use the “residence,” it was five years as a “domiciliary” of New York State that was required to satisfy such “residence” requirements and the fact that Teachout had has resided in several different residences within the City of New York during the relevant time period, while maintaining close connections to her childhood domicile of Vermont, constituted “nothing more than an ambiguity in the residency calculus.”

* See, also, Jones v Blake, 2014 NY Slip Op 05919, Appellate Division, First Department, an appeal arising “out of a special proceeding in which petitioner sought to establish that respondent did not satisfy the residency requirements for the public office of Member of the Assembly.”

** In Board of Trustees of the Vil. of Sodus, N.Y. v Allen, 2011 NY Slip Op 31035(U), [Not selected for publication in the Official Reports], Supreme Court Judge Dennis M. Kehoe held the where the record revealed that the individual elected to public office [1] rented the upstairs apartment from his wife four days before the election, for an annual rental of $1.00, for a period which extends through December 31, 2012, the date his term as Mayor expires; [2] that the furnishings of the apartment consist of one bed with a crate used as a night table, had no appliances such as a refrigerator, stove, or microwave - and no television or computer; [3] that he did not move his personal belongings to the apartment; and [4] that he regularly ate dinner with his wife and children at the residence in the Town of Sodus; and spent the majority of his nights there, he must conclude that the Allen’s attempt to establish a residence in the Village of Sodus was contrived for the purpose of making him eligible to run for the office of Mayor.” Judge Kehoe noted that he was aware of the fact that “his decision will result in an immediate vacancy in the office of the Mayor of Sodus Village, but this outcome is mandated by the Public Officers Law §30(1)(d), unless otherwise stayed by a higher court.”

The Weiss decision is posted on the Internet at:

The Village of Sodus decision is posted on the Internet at:
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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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