A judge granted an ex-Nassau County police commander’s request to postpone serving his jail sentence for a misconduct conviction while New York State’s highest court decides if it will hear his appeal.
Leslie Stein, an associate judge at the state Court of Appeals in Albany, granted Monday the stay of execution of a 60-day jail term that William Flanagan, a former deputy Nassau police commissioner, was sentenced to after he was convicted of misconduct and conspiracy two years ago.
“Stay is granted only pending this court’s determination” of whether it will hear Flanagan’s attorneys argue why they think the court should overturn his conviction, the judge wrote in her order. The conviction was upheld two weeks ago by the state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department.
Prosecutors have said that Flanagan helped quash the case against Zachary Parker, of Merrick, who stole thousands of dollars worth of electronics from his alma mater, John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, shortly before he graduated in 2009 while he interned with the Nassau police Ambulance Bureau. The burglar’s father, Gary, was volunteering for the nonprofit Nassau County Police Department Foundation when he asked Flanagan for help with the case.
Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas had opposed the request to stay Flanagan’s sentence. The appellate division in Brooklyn first stayed the execution of his sentence pending the first round of appeals.
Flangan’s attorney, Donna Aldea, head of the Appellate Practice Group for Garden City-based Barket Marion Epstein & Kearon, LLP, said that she is confident that the Court of Appeals will overturn the conviction. Her argument is that he didn’t receive a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct, prejudicial statements and insufficient evidence.
Singas’ office stands by the conviction. A panel of four judges in the appellate division wrote in their decision upholding the conviction that any errors prosecutors made were mitigated by “overwhelming evidence of the defendant’s guilt.”
Two other ex-police commanders—John Hunter, the retired Deputy Chief of Patrol, and Det. Sgt. Alan Sharpe—both pleaded guilty to misconduct and were sentenced to probation in connection with the case, which stemmed from a Press expose into police favoritism for the nonprofit’s donors. Zachary Parker pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to prison after violating his probation. He has since been released.