NEW YORK (CN) – A New York appellate division reversed and remanded the dismissal of an imprisoned New York City police officer’s request for documents that he claims could prove his innocence in the shooting death of an intoxicated house painter.
Richard Molloy was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in 1999 and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for shooting painter Patrick Phelan. Molloy’s defense argued that the victim had “furtively” removed a revolver from the off-duty cop’s holster and committed suicide.
Molloy requested investigative records from the New York City Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau, which would allegedly show that Phelan had tried to take a pistol from another officer and had previously attempted suicide.
The NYPD denied the request on the grounds that “the information would reveal non-routine investigative procedures” and “would identify a confidential source/confidential information.”
The lower court dismissed the petition, agreeing with the police department that Civil Rights Law protects the records from disclosure.
The appellate division, however, ruled that the confidentiality of the statute “is designed to protect the police officer, not the department, and therefore should not be deemed automatically waived by the inaction of the department.”
It reversed dismissal of the petitioner’s claim.