A 3-2 Appellate Division, First Department, panel ruled for the second time that New York City can terminate union-mandated paid “release time” for police officers involved in a ticket-fixing scheme.
Justice Richard Andrias (See Profile) wrote the majority opinion in Patrolmen’s Benevolent Assn. v. City of New York, 113039/11, joined by Justices Leland DeGrasse (See Profile) and Sallie Manzanet-Daniels (See Profile). Justice Judith Gische (See Profile) dissented, joined by Justice Peter Tom (See Profile).
The case was originally heard by only Andrias, DeGrasse, Gische and Tom because Justice Dianne Renwick (See Profile) recused. Renwick is married to Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, whose office prosecuted the officers for the ticket-fixing. When the four-judge panel tied, Manzanet-Daniels was vouched in to break the tie. The panel issued its 3-2 decision in favor of the city last December (NYLJ, Dec. 4, 2013).
Attorneys for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association had demanded an argument with all five judges present, citing the First Department’s Rule 600.1 (NYLJ, Jan. 30). The little-used rule allows parties to make such a demand when a panel splits 2-2.
The five-member panel heard arguments, but Manzanet-Daniels’ position was unchanged. The majority opinion and the dissent handed down Tuesday were identical to those handed down in December.
The case involves three police officers indicted for allegedly taking part in a ticket-fixing scheme in 2011. The officers had been given leave, known as release time, in order to work for the union. After they were indicted, their release time certificates were rescinded.
The union sought a court injunction preventing the city from revoking the officers’ release time, pending arbitration. Justice Joan Lobis (See Profile) granted the injunction, but the First Department ruled the union was unlikely to prevail and reversed.