October 29, 2019

Publication of the findings made, and penalty recommended, after a disciplinary hearing by a New York City Office of Trials and Hearings Administrative Law Judge


At the close of a §75 disciplinary hearing held before the New York City Office of Trials and Hearings, the employee, a correction officer, moved to prohibit publication of the OATH Administrative Law Judge's report of findings and recommendation with respect to the penalty to be imposed, citing to §50-a of the Civil Rights Law. The correction officer contended that §50-a requires personnel records under the control of the Department of Correction be kept confidential.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Kevin F. Casey denied the correction officer's motion as untimely.

In addition, Judge Casey explained that [1] because OATH, as an autonomous agency and independent tribunal, its records are not under the control of Department of Correction and [2] the correction officer failed to overcome the broad presumption under the First Amendment in favor of public access to OATH proceedings.

The ALJ's ruling cites Matter of Victor v New York City Off. of Trials & Hearings, 174 AD3d 455, in which the Appellate Division held that Victor's claim that a disciplinary report and recommendation issued as the result of an OATH disciplinary hearing is confidential under Civil Rights Law §50-a was moot, explaining that "[f]or several years, the report has been publicly available from multiple sources, including the OATH and LEXIS websites" and as the court "cannot afford petitioner any meaningful relief," it dismissed Victor's appeal.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: 
http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/19_cases/19-1663md.pdf.

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A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees in New York State. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

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