79-a. Consequence of sentence to imprisonment for life. 1. Except as provided in subdivisions two and three, a person sentenced to imprisonment for life is thereafter deemed civilly dead; provided, that such a person may marry while on community supervision, or after he or she has been discharged from community supervision, if otherwise capable of contracting a valid marriage. A marriage contracted pursuant to this section by a person while he or she is on community supervision, without prior written approval of the commissioner of corrections and community supervision, shall be ground for revocation of the community supervision. This section shall not be deemed to impair the validity of a marriage between a person sentenced to imprisonment for life and his or her spouse.
2. A sentence to imprisonment for life shall not be deemed to suspend the right or capacity of any person so sentenced to commence, prosecute or defend an action or proceeding in any court within this state or before a body or officer exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative functions within this state; provided, however, that where at the time of the commencement and during the prosecution or defense of such action or proceeding such person is an inmate of a state correctional institution, he or she shall not appear at any place other than within the institution for any purpose related to such action or proceeding unless upon a subpoena issued by the court before whom such action or proceeding is pending or, where such action or proceeding is pending before a body or officer, before a judge to whom a petition for habeas corpus could be made under subdivision (b) of section seven thousand two of the civil practice law and rules upon motion of any party and upon a determination that such person's appearance is essential to the proper and just disposition of the action or proceeding. Unless the court orders otherwise, a motion for such subpoena shall be made on at least two days' notice to the commissioner of corrections and community supervision.
3. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the state shall not be liable for any expense of or related to any such action or proceeding, including but not limited to the expense of or related to transporting the inmate to, or lodging or guarding him or her at any place other than in a state correctional institution. The department of corrections and community supervision shall not be required to perform any services related to such action or proceeding, including but not limited to transporting the inmate to or lodging or guarding him or her at any place other than a state correctional institution unless and until the department has received payment for such services.
(b) Where the inmate is permitted in accordance with any other law to proceed with the action or proceeding as a poor person the expense of transporting the inmate to, or lodging or guarding him at any place other than in a state correctional institution or any other expense relating thereto shall be a state charge; provided, however, that where an inmate has been granted such permission and a recovery by judgment or by settlement is had in his favor, the court may direct him to pay out of the recovery all or part of any sum expended by the state.
4. This section shall not apply to a person sentenced to imprisonment for an indeterminate term, having a minimum of one day and a maximum of his natural life.
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude the issuance of a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct pursuant to article twenty-three of the correction law to a person who previously has been sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Last modified: February 3, 2019