This case is about the New York City Sheriff’s office utilizing the Queens District Attorney’s Office to prosecute a New York City sheriff in retaliation for said sheriff suing the New York City Sheriffs’ Office for discrimination and other claims in prior years.
The particulars of this case are as follows.
New York City Sheriff, Sergeant Jefferson Rodriguez was arrested on January 27th, 2010, at his work site, 30-10 Starr Avenue in Long Island City by members of the New York City Police Department.
New York City Sheriff Department Advocates, Nancy Goodman and Ari Lieberman along with the agency attorney, Tim La Rose, threatened Sergeant Rodriguez with arrest for criminal trespass if he failed to comply with their orders to leave the premise. Sergeant Rodriguez, in good faith and upon the union’s advice, believed that said orders were unlawful.
The significance of this case is as follows. Sergeant Rodriguez at the time of his arrest was an active member of the New York City Sheriff’s Department for the prior 17 years, given the worst case scenario, Sergeant Rodriguez was insubordinate. This being the case, Sergeant Rodriguez should have been disciplined and/ or perhaps suspended, whereby following the guidelines and authority of the New York City Sheriff’s Department Advocate for their members. Instead, New York City Sheriff’s Department chose to have Sergeant Rodriguez arrested by the New York City Police Department in order to have an outside agency, the Queens District Attorney’s Office, to prosecute criminally what was a simple internal disciplinary issue.
What is at stake here is the following. On Tuesday Judge D. Lebowitz’s decision could set a new precedence for internal discipline cases within the New York City Sheriff’s Department. In fact depending on Judge Lebowitz’s decision, it may very well impact all other city agencies on their internal structure with the manner in which they discipline their members.
Important points of interest regarding this case
In 2007 New York City Sheriff Sergeant Jefferson Rodriguez sued the New York City Sheriff’s Department for discrimination and won. New York City Sheriff Department Advocate Nancy Goodman was a named defendant in that lawsuit. He believes that his arrest stems from retaliation by the New York City Sheriff’s Department.
On January 19th 2010 Sergeant Rodriguez followed the Stand Operation Procedure of the New York City Sherriff’s Office and New York State Civil Service Law in lawfully returning to work.
On January 19th NYC Sheriff Department Advocate issued a memo to Sgt. Rodriguez to leave his work premises based upon an inapplicable section of the NYS Civil Service Law (Section 73) to Jefferson Rodriguez.
On January 27th 2010 when Sergeant Rodriguez again refused to comply with the orders he believed to be lacking a lawful basis, a dozen members of the NYPD's Queens North Task Force were called and they subsequently placed Sergeant Rodriguez under arrest for trespassing [Penal Law § 140.05] and Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree [Penal Law 195.05]
This was the first time a New York City Sheriff was ever arrested for simply going to his job.
On Tuesday May 22, 2012 New York City Sheriff Department Advocate Nancy Goodman testified under oath that she cited incorrect sections of law (NYS Civil Service Law article 73) to have Sergeant Rodriguez arrested, and never corrected the inaccuracy at any time.
For over two and A half years she allowed a false memo to remain a part of the official record of the NYC Sheriff’s Office. After her cross examination, it became clear that she violated the NYS Penal Law (sec 175.30) by offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree. Although she knew that section 73 of the NYS Civil Service Law did not apply to Sergeant Rodriguez, she continued to use the said section as a basis for his eventual unlawful arrest.
New York City Sheriff Department Advocate Nancy Goodman could not cite a proper legal section of any Standard Operating procedure or NYS Civil Service Law to form the basis of Sergeant Rodriguez’s arrest.
The advocates along with Tim La Rose decided to bypass the New York City Sheriff’s Department Standard Operating Procedures pertaining to the customary disciplinary process.
On January 27th 2010 Timothy LaRose, Chief of Operations in the New York City Sheriff’s Office filed a sworn criminal complaint under penalty of perjury that falsely stated the dates that Sergeant Rodriguez was present at the New York City Sherriff’s Office located at 30-10 Starr Avenue in Long Island City, although he knew the information in the said complaint was inaccurate, he allowed the false information to be used to prosecute a Sergeant Rodriguez.
Inexplicably, New York City Sheriff Lieutenant John Schwartz, Sergeant Rodriguez’s direct supervisor from January 19th 2010 to January 27th 2010 claimed under oath at trial that Sergeant Rodriguez had no lawful basis to return to work on January 19th 2010. Interestingly enough, according to an email he wrote to LaRose on January 27th 2010 he stated “I am not sure if he is supposed to be here or not”.
LaRose suspiciously claimed that Sergeant Rodriguez’s arrest was directed by the New York City Sherriff Lindsey Eason, however, there is not one document to support his position,
Lieutenant Schwartz falsely testified that Sergeant Rodriguez was not ordered to work at the 911 site in 2001 as part of his official duties as a NYC Sherriff, this was done to try and smear his decorated background as a ground zero first responder.
Jefferson Rodriquez is being represented by criminal defense attorney Mark A. Panzavecchia, Esq., 1050 Franklin Ave., Suite 302, Garden City , NY 11530; (t) 516.776.9494 http://www.panzavecchialaw.com