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February 5, 2019

Accessing the personnel records of law enforcement personnel

Accessing the personnel records of law enforcement personnel
Ferrara v Superintendent, Division of State Police, 235 A.D.2d 874,  Appeal dismissed, 90 N.Y.2d 829, Defendant's motion to dismiss appeal granted, 26 F.Supp.2d 410

A prisoner at the Oneida Correctional Facility, submitted a Freedom on Information request to the Division of State Police seeking "records of disciplinary action taken against members of the State Police" as the result of an internal investigation.

The Appellate Division, in sustaining the Division's refusal to provide such information, explained that such records are specifically exempted from disclosure under Civil Rights Law §50-a.

In a similar cases, Nassau County Police Department v Kevin, 237 A.D.2d 354, the Appellate Division quashed a judicial subpoena issued by a District Court that ordered the production of "internal police directives and orders" that it was alleged would establish the existence of a quota system for making arrests for driving while intoxicated on the Long Island Expressway. 

See, also, 166 Misc.2d 207. Here the driver of a motor vehicle had been arrested for allegedly driving 85 miles an hour while intoxicated by Nassau County Police. The Appellate Division said the driver presented nothing to support his claim and that a subpoena may not be used "to fish for impeaching material".

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Public Personnel Law E-books

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State set out in a 700 page e-book. For more information click on

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 442-page e-book focusing on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. Now available in two formats - as a large, paperback print edition and as an e-book. For more information click on

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - A 645 page e-book reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on

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