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N.B. §22 of New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL typically follows this protocol.

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May 7, 2010

Refusal to answer questions after being given “use immunity”

Refusal to answer questions after being given “use immunity”
Martinez v Safir, App. Div., 1st Dept., 251 A.D.2d 62

John Martinez, a New York City probationary police officer, refused to answer question posed by a superior concerning his conduct while off-duty and outside his jurisdiction despite being given “use immunity” with respect his answers to the question.

Individuals granted “use immunity” cannot have their answers to the questions used against them in a subsequent criminal proceeding. Gardner v Broderick, 392 US 273 and People v Corrigan, 80 NY2d 326 discuss the parameters of immunity in connection with compelling a public officer or employee to answer questions concerning his or her performance of official duties.

If, however, an individual fails to answer questions truthfully where he or she has use or transactional immunity, such immunity does not prevent the fact that he or she answered falsely from being used against the individual if he or she is subsequently charged with perjury [United States v Apfelbaum, 445 US 115].

Terminated from his position because of his refusal to answer questions during the investigatory hearing being conducted by his superiors, Martinez appealed. His appeal was dismissed by Appellate Division. The court said that probationary employees may be dismissed in good faith and for any lawful reason. Clearly bad faith was not present here, in view of the fact that Martinez refused to respond to questions after being given use immunity with respect to his answers.

The Appellate Division concluded that terminating Martinez was lawful in view of the Department’s “accountability to the public for the integrity of the police department....” This accountability, said the court, justified its inquiry into any alleged inappropriate conduct of its police officers while off-duty and outside the jurisdiction, particularly where the alleged misconduct involves criminal acts.”

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Wild Thoughts by Julia Randall. A three-part series on wilderness ethics and management written in anticipation of the 2020 Adirondack Wilderness Symposium offering a comprehensive review of wilderness as a legal concept, an ecological condition and cultural phenomenon. Click on the following links to access Part I, What is Wilderness; Part II, For Whom Does Wilderness Exist?; and Part III, Wilderness and a Livable World.

Contaminants of Emergent Concern was discussed by Dr. Robert A. Michaels [bam@ramtrac.com] at the New York State Bar Association, Energy and Environmental Law Section on January 31, 2020. Dr. Michaels' remarks are posted for viewing/downloading at no charge at the following URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339055672_Legacy_Contaminants_of_Emergent_Concern. Other articles addressing environmental issues by Dr. Michaels are posted on on the Internet at:https://publicpersonnellaw.blogspot.com/2020/01/articles-by-dr-robert-michaels-nypers.html

NASSAU COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATIONcoordinates a student mentor program for middle school students. - Click on Jon Michael Probstein's LawBlog at http://jmpattorney.blogspot.com/2020/01/be-student-mentor-nassau-county-bar.html for more information.

New York State's Division of Consumer Protection is alerting New Yorkers affected by the Equifax data breach that deadlines are fast approaching related to the recent settlement. To check whether you or your family were affected, click here

Ransomware continues assault against cities and businesses - take a look at the most recent attacks, how US and international cities have handled them, and advice for dealing with the aftermath. Keep reading.

Social Effects and Outcomes of Identity and ID Programs - Download this impact report that details research, use cases and tips for creating a successful municipal and government ID program to better transact with citizens by clicking here: Government ID Impact Report

Sexual Harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination: New York State's Internet guidelines addressing employer obligations to combat sexual harassment in the workplace is at: https://www.ny.gov/programs/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace

New technology assists local governments to better serve its residents by using new technologies to save money, communicate with residents and allow taxpayers to make payment. Click here to download a report released on September 16, 2019 by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Governing Daily has posted a link to an item, How to Prevent Job Loss in the Public Sector, noting that when budgets get slashed and hiring comes to a halt, municipalities need a way protect their most valuable resources – people and finances. [Content provided by CentralSquare Technologies.] Click here to LEARN MORE

A CyberCemetery: The University of North Texas Libraries and the U.S. Government Printing Office, as part of the Federal Depository Library Program, created a partnership to provide permanent public access to the Internet sites and publications of defunct U.S.government agencies and commissions. Named the "CyberCemetery" by early users of the site, information about the collection is posted on the Internet at: https://library.unt.edu/digital-projects-unit/web-archiving/; the latest additions to the collection are posted at: https://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/GDCC/#latest

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Text prepared by Harvey Randall except as otherwise noted. Randall, former Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service, also served as Director of Personnel for the State University System; as Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and as Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. He has an MPA from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University and a J.D. from Albany Law School.