What Is the Coroner's Authority In New York ?

In Darcy v. Presbyterian Hosp, 202 NY 259 [1911] the Court examined the various sections of the law which then applied, including Penal Law of 1909 2213 (now Public Health Law 4210) and Penal Law of 1909 2214 (which then provided that "A person who makes, or causes or procures to be made, any dissection of the body of a human being, except by authority of law, or in pursuance of a permission given by the deceased, is guilty of a misdemeanor"). Darcy (supra) also considered the Consolidated Laws of the City of New York (L 1882, ch 410, 1773), which (similar to the present New York City Charter) provided that the coroner in the City of New York was a public officer authorized to investigate the cause of death of any person who died "in a suspicious or unusual manner" (Darcy at 265). The Darcy Court, upon a review of the adequacy of the pleadings and the controlling statutory provisions, noted that an autopsy which is not specifically authorized by law constitutes a crime, and is civilly actionable.