Civil Rights Laws
New York Law
New York State Consolidated Laws
Article 3 - NY Civil Rights Law
S 20. No imprisonment for non-payment of costs in certain cases. A
person shall not be arrested or imprisoned, for the non-payment of
costs, awarded otherwise than by a final judgment, or a final order,
made in a special proceeding instituted by state writ, except where an
attorney, counselor, or other officer of the court, is ordered to pay
costs for misconduct as such, or a witness is ordered to pay costs on an
attachment for non-attendance.
S 21. No imprisonment for non-payment of money pursuant to judgment or
order requiring payment of money due upon contract. Except in a case
where it is otherwise specially prescribed by law, a person shall not be
arrested or imprisoned for disobedience to a judgment or order,
requiring the payment of money due upon a contract, express or implied,
or as damages for non-performance of a contract.
S 22. Privilege of officers and prisoner from arrest while passing
through another county. A prisoner conveyed to jail through another
county by a sheriff or other officer pursuant to law, or the officer
having him in custody, is not liable to arrest in any civil action or
special proceeding, while passing through another county.
S 23. No person to be arrested in civil proceedings without a
statutory provision. A person shall not be arrested in a civil action or
special proceeding, except as prescribed by statute. The writ of ne
exeat is abolished.
S 24. Privilege from arrest of officers of courts of record. An
officer of a court of record, appointed or elected pursuant to law, is
privileged from arrest, during the actual sitting, which he is required
to attend, of a term of the court of which he is an officer, and no
longer; but an attorney or counselor is not thus privileged, unless he
is employed in a cause, to be heard at that term.
S 25. Witness exempt from arrest. A person duly and in good faith
subpoenaed or ordered to attend, for the purpose of being examined, in a
case where his attendance may lawfully be enforced by attachment or by
commitment, is privileged from arrest in a civil action or special
proceeding, while going to, remaining at, and returning from, the place
where he is required to attend. An arrest, made contrary to the
provisions of this section, is absolutely void and is a contempt of the
court, if any, from which the subpoena was issued, or by which the
witness was directed to attend.
S 26. Action against officer making arrest of exempt person. An action
may be maintained, by the person arrested, against the officer or other
person making an arrest contrary to the provisions of the last section,
in which the plaintiff is entitled to recover treble damages. A similar
action may also be maintained, in a like case, by the party in whose
behalf the witness was subpoenaed, or the order procured, to recover the
damages sustained by him, in consequence of the arrest. But a sheriff,
or other officer, or person, is not so liable, unless the person
claiming an exemption from arrest, makes, if required by the sheriff or
officer, an affidavit, to the effect that he was legally subpoenaed or
ordered to attend, and that he was not so subpoenaed or ordered by his
own procurement, with the intent of avoiding arrest. In his affidavit he
must specify the court or officer, the place of attendance, and the
cause in which he was so subpoenaed or ordered. The affidavit may be
taken before the officer arresting him, and exonerates the officer from
liability for not making the arrest.
S 27. Discharge of exempt witness. Where a person has been arrested in
violation of section twenty-five, a justice of the supreme court, a
county judge or the court, if any, from which the subpoena was issued or
which ordered the witness to attend, or a judge thereof, shall order
such person discharged from the arrest upon proof, by affidavit, of the
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