ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT USED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN THE SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISIONS PREPARED BY NYPPL

December 29, 2016

The Fifth Amendment's bar against “self-incrimination” does not protect an individual who lies in the course of an official inquiry


The Fifth Amendment's bar against “self-incrimination” does not protect an individual who lies in the course of an official inquiry 
2016 NY Slip Op 08368, Appellate Division, Second Department

In this proceeding pursuant to CPLR Article 78 to review the appointing authority’s adopting a Civil Service Law §75 hearing officer's findings and recommendation as to the discipline to be imposed, the Appellate Division sustained the appointing authority’s finding the employee [Petitioner] guilty of certain charges of misconduct and incompetence filed against him and imposing the penalty of dismissal of the Petitioner from his employment.

Among the charges filed against Petitioner was that, in response to a request for an account concerning an incident, Petitioner conceded made a false statement to his superior.

In sustaining the appointing authority’s action, the Appellate Division noted that the privilege against self-incrimination set out in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not a bar to the disciplinary charge alleging that Petitioner had made the false statement because he was not required to waive his immunity with respect to the use of the statements in a criminal proceeding.

The court, citing Brogan v United States, 522 US 398, explained that "neither the text nor the spirit of the Fifth Amendment confers the privilege to lie." Similarly, in In Matter of Mathis (Commissioner of Labor), 110 AD3d 1412, the Appellate Division held that an employee’s constitutional right against self-incrimination does not give the individual the right to answer questions untruthfully. 

As to the penalty imposed on Petitioner, termination from his position, the Appellate Division said that a court "may set aside an administrative penalty only if it is so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness, thus constituting an abuse of discretion as a matter of law." In this instance, said the court, the penalty of dismissal is not so disproportionate to the offenses as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness.”

Further, there may be unintended consequences if an employee is not truthful in responding to job related inquiries in an effort to avoid disciplinary action. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a federal government agency could impose a harsher discipline on an employee who lied while being investigated for job-related conduct than might otherwise have been imposed. Although only federal employees were involved, the ruling may influence cases involving state and local employees.
______________

The Discipline Book - A 458 page guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html
______________

CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
New York Public Personnel Law. Email: publications@nycap.rr.com