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Court OK’s Guard Firings For Motorcycle Club Ties

NEW YORK (CN) - The 2nd Circuit held that the state Department of Correction had a constitutional right to fire three correctional officers and "counsel" a fourth for their association with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

In a 77-page ruling, the court affirmed dismissal of the officers' lawsuit accusing the department of violating their First and 14th Amendment rights.

The officers' conduct "had the potential in several ways to disrupt and reflect negatively on the DOC's operations," Judge Amalya Kearse wrote.

The OMC is involved in making and dealing methamphetamine, and in dealing ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine, according to a report by the National Drug Intelligence Center.

The unanimous three-judge panel said the DOC's interest in maintaining the "efficiency, security and integrity of its operations outweighed the associational interests" of Gary Piscottano, Mark Vincenzo, Walter Scappini II and James Kight.

The department fired Piscottano, Vincenzo and Kight, and ordered counseling for Scappini. See ruling.

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