Case: People of the State of New York v. Wallkill

7:01-cv-00364 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Filed Date: Jan. 18, 2001

Closed Date: 2006

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 18, 2001, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Town of Wallkill, seeking injunctive relief to reform and monitor the Wallkill Police Department, which Spitzer had described as "out of control."The lawsuit was the offshoot of the Attorney General's investigation of the Wallkill PD. The investigation revealed a pattern of pervasive misconduct including: officers illegally stopping women moto…

On January 18, 2001, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Town of Wallkill, seeking injunctive relief to reform and monitor the Wallkill Police Department, which Spitzer had described as "out of control."

The lawsuit was the offshoot of the Attorney General's investigation of the Wallkill PD. The investigation revealed a pattern of pervasive misconduct including: officers illegally stopping women motorists and sexually harassing them; retaliation by officers against the Town's Police Commission after it issued a report that criticized the department; and officers illegally stopping drivers for the Middletown newspaper and charging them with bogus traffic violations in retaliation for stories the newspaper ran about the department.

A month after the complaint was filed the Town agreed to enter into a consent decree which the Attorney General. However, in court proceedings discussing the formal entry of the consent decree, counsel for Wallkill commented that the Town did not believe that the court had subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Judge Colleen McMahon treated the comment as an oral motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and ordered that the parties brief the issue, before the court evaluated the proposed consent decree.

On March 20, 2001, after considering the parties' briefs, judge McMahon issued her decision and order dismissing the defendant's challenge to subject matter jurisdiction. The court cited the doctrine of parens patriae which allows states to use their power to seek federal relief to protect their "quasi-sovereign interest in the health and well-being - both physical and economic - of [their] residents." Alfred L. Snapp & Sons, Inc. v. Puerto Rico, 458 U.S. 592, 600 (1982).

On April 5, 2001, the court entered the consent decree and an amendment to the decree.

On May 2, 2001, the court appointed Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) as the independent monitor to oversee the implementation of the consent decree. On June 11, 2001, the Court appointed Dean M. Esserman to serve as auditor of the Wallkill PD for the duration of the consent decree. The court approved additional amendments to the consent decree on September 21, 2004.

The independent monitor issued four reports detailing the compliance efforts of the WPD.

On February 28, 2006, the court entered its order terminating its oversight with respect to the WPD and ordered the WPD to comply with certain sections of the Best Practices Guidelines adopted pursuant to the consent decree.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (12/29/2006)

People


Judge(s)

McMahon, Colleen (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Celli, Andrew G. Jr. (New York)

Landau, Lisa (New York)

Pope, Peter (New York)

Spitzer, Eliot (New York)

Yap, Elisabeth (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Rosenstein, Monte J. (New York)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Esserman, Dean (New York)

Peters, Mark G. (New York)

Judge(s)

McMahon, Colleen (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Celli, Andrew G. Jr. (New York)

Landau, Lisa (New York)

Pope, Peter (New York)

Spitzer, Eliot (New York)

Yap, Elisabeth (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Rosenstein, Monte J. (New York)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Esserman, Dean (New York)

Peters, Mark G. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

March 6, 2006 Docket
7

Decision and Order Dismissing Defendant's Challenge to Subject Matter Jurisdiction

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

2001 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13364

March 20, 2001 Order/Opinion
12

Amendment to Consent Decree

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

April 5, 2001 Settlement Agreement
32

First Report of the Monitor

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

March 24, 2004 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
33

Second Report of the Monitor

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

March 24, 2004 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
34

Third Report of the Monitor

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

March 24, 2004 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
38

Fourth Report of the Monitor

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

March 22, 2005 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
40

Final Judgment

People of the State of New York v. Town of Wallkill

Feb. 28, 2006 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT filed. Summons issued and Notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(c). FILING FEE $ 150.00 RECEIPT # E394541. (ll) (Entered: 01/19/2001)

Jan. 18, 2001

Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith is so Designated. (ll) (Entered: 01/19/2001)

Jan. 18, 2001
2

ANSWER to Complaint by The Town of Wallkill (Attorney Monte J. Rosenstein from the Firm: Monte J. Rosenstein, P.C.) . (pf) (Entered: 02/07/2001)

Feb. 7, 2001
3

RETURN OF SERVICE executed as to The Town of Wallkill by William P. Cullen on 1/18/01 . .Served Summons & Complaint by leaving with Mr. Thomas Nosworthy personally at Walkill Town Hall: 600 rte. 211, Middletown, NY 10940. (dc) (Entered: 02/14/2001)

Feb. 13, 2001
5

Memo-Endorsement on letter addressed to USDJ McMahon from Lisa Landau, dated 2/16/01. Re: mutually agreeable discovery plan...ENDORSEMENT: Ms. Landau-This will require some discussion. I am not signing it today. I am not cancelling the March 1 conference either. So Ordered: ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (pf) (Entered: 02/22/2001)

Feb. 22, 2001
6

MEMORANDUM OF LAW by The Town of Wallkill (dh) (Entered: 03/08/2001)

March 8, 2001
7

DECISION AND ORDER DISMISSING DEFENDANT'S CHALLENGE TO SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION (On the facts here pleaded, the parens patriae remedy is more than merely appropriate; it is virtually compelled. For the foregoing reasons, I find that the Court does have jurisdiction to enter the proposed consent decree. I have several comments on the substance of teh decree, which will be forwarded to counsel for both sides under separate cover. So Ordered. dated 3/16/01.)( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (kz) (Entered: 03/21/2001)

March 20, 2001
8

Memorandum of the Hon. Colleen McMahon, U.S.D.J. addressed to All Counsel in People v. Wallkill....."The only change I want to make to the4 consent decree is to the provision about the appointment of the Federal monitor. The Court should be in charge of that process. Obviously, the names of serious candidates would be sent to both sides, in order to uncover any potential bias. But I continue to have problems with the selection mechanism to which you have agreed. With an appropriately worded change to that provision, I will sign the decree." (kz) (Entered: 03/30/2001)

March 29, 2001
9

Memo-Endorsement on letter addressed to USDJ McMahon from Mark G. Peters, dated 4/3/01. Re: proposed consent decree...ENDORSEMENT: I made one little change and have signed both orders. So Ordered: ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (pf) (Entered: 04/05/2001)

April 3, 2001
10

Letter filed addressed to All COunsel from Judge McMahon, dated 04/05/01, re: The Consent Decree. (fk) (Entered: 04/09/2001)

April 5, 2001
11

CONSENT Decree by People of The State, The Town of Wallkill (signed by USDJ McMahon) (fk) (Entered: 04/09/2001)

April 5, 2001
12

Amendment to the Consent Decree(signed by USDJ McMahon) (fk) (Entered: 04/09/2001)

April 5, 2001
13

NOTICE TO CANDIDATES FOR POSITION OF POLICE AUDITOR UNDER THE CONSENT DECREE...Enclosed you will find a consent decree (with amendment) pursuant to which the Court's Auditor will be appointed. I would appreciate it if you would review the consent decree and prepare (1) a brief description of the work required of the monitor, and (2) an estimated budget for same, including hours to be spent, jourly rates, and personnel to be utilized. I appreciate that the budget will likley be front end loaded, in that much more work will be required in the first year then in year four. It is my intention that the Auditor have input into the fashioning of the Best Practices Guidelines, and it is my preference that the Auditor be "hands-on", especially during the first two years of the consent Decree. (fk) (Entered: 04/26/2001)

April 25, 2001
14

INTERIM ORDER APPOINTING POLICE ASSESMENT RESOURCE CENTER TO ASSIST IN THE MONITORING OF DEFENDANT'S POLICE DEPARTMENT. Accordingly, I hereby ORDER that the Police Assesement Resource Center (PACR) of the Vera Institute of Justice, 233 Broadway, NY, NY 10279, be appointed and retained to provide staff support and training in connection with the auditing function contemplated by the Consent Decree entered in this action on April 6, 2001; and I further ORDER: See Document for more details. ENDORSED: CM ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (dc) (Entered: 05/03/2001)

May 2, 2001
15

Transcript of record of proceedings before Judge Colleen McMahon for the date(s) of 3/1/01. Court Reporter: Christina Arends-Dieck (pf) (Entered: 05/03/2001)

May 3, 2001
16

Letter filed by People of The State addressed to Judge McMahon from Mark Peters, dated 05/23/01, re: Consent to Amend Paragraph 56. (fk) (Entered: 05/24/2001)

May 23, 2001
17

Letter filed addressed to All Counsel from USDJ Colleen McMahon, dated 5/22/01, re: I met today with Christopher Stone of the Vera Institute and Merrick Bobb, who is heading the newly-established Police Assessment Resource Center. They have assembled a list of seven potential candidates for the position of monitor in Wallkill. Resumes of all seven will be sent to you by the end of the week. If you object to any of the candidates, please convey your objection, and th ereason forit, to my attention(by fax, as usual) no later than noon on Monday, June 4, 2001..... (pf) (Entered: 05/29/2001)

May 23, 2001
18

Letter filed by People of The State addressed to Mr. Rosenstein from Mark Peters, dated 05/21/01, re: Draft of the Best Practices Guideline. (fk) (Entered: 05/29/2001)

May 23, 2001
19

Letter filed addressed to USDJ McMahon from Monte J. Rosenstein, dated 5/29/01, re: I have received the resumes of the proposed auditors, and the letter from Mark Peters, Esq. dated 5/29/01...On behalf of the Town of Wallkill, I would object to any calls to the candidates by the Atty General's Office... (pf) (Entered: 05/31/2001)

May 30, 2001
20

Memo-Endorsement on letter addressed to USDJ McMahon from Mark G. Peters, dated 5/29/01. Re: ...OAG would like to call several of the candidates so as to obtaion additional information on how they would carry out their duties...ENDORsEMENT: I believe that issue is for me to decide. Please comment on the resumes and let me know what you find objectable if anything. There is no need to call the candidates. So Ordered:( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (pf) (Entered: 05/31/2001)

May 30, 2001
21

ORDER APPOINTING AUDITOR...Pursuant to Paragraph 55 of the Amended Consent Decree, the Court Appoints Dean M. Esserman to serve as auditor of the Town Of Wallkill Police Department for the duration of the Consent Decree....(see doc for details) So ORdered . ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (fk) (Entered: 06/14/2001)

June 11, 2001
22

MEMORANDUM ORDER: 1. The time for the Town of Walkill to comment on the best practices guidelines is extended to and including June 18, 2001. 2. The Plaintiff is directed to send a copy of the draft Best Practices Guidlines, as well as the comments on those Guidelines made by both sides, to the Auditor, and Merrick E. Bobb, at PARC. The Court will not sign off on the Best Practices Guidelines until Chief Esserman and Mr. Bobb have an opportunity to reveiw and comment on the Guidelines. 3. All future correspondence in this matter, and all Court papers, are to be copied to the Auditor and to Mr. Bobb. SO ORDERED: ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (dc) (Entered: 06/19/2001)

June 13, 2001
23

SEALED DOCUMENT placed in vault. Monitor Materials enclosed. Log# 5204. Signed by Colleen McMahon, USDJ. (dc) (Entered: 07/24/2001)

July 23, 2001
24

Letter filed addressed to Counsel from James F. O'Neill, Law Clerk to USDJ McMahon, dated 7/27/01, re: After consulting with the court appointed monitor, Dean Esserman, and PARC representative, Merrick Cobb, and after reviewing recent correspondence between the parties, Judge McMahon has called a pre-trial conference for 9/5/01 at 2:00 p.m. Representatives of the Wallkill Town Board are required to be present at the conference(this is in addition to counsel). The Court encourages the parties to work between now and September in implementing the "Best Practices Guidelines." The Judge expects that the parties will have significant progress to report at the September conference.(signed: James F. O'Neill) (pf) (Entered: 08/01/2001)

July 30, 2001
25

Town of Wallkill Police Department Best Practices Guidelines (fk) (Entered: 09/10/2001)

Sept. 7, 2001
26

CONFIDENTIALITY ORDER: IT IS ORDERED THAT the office of the Attorney General shall turnover the investigation records to Douglas Soloman, Esq., labor counsel to the police dept. of the Town of Walkill, no later than Wednessday, 09/12/01 at 12 noon. The investigative records may be seen only by the Chief of Police of the Town of Walkill and Attorney Solomon and other memebts of his firm who are acting in the firm's capacity as labor counsel for the Police Dept; The investigative records may be used may used only in connection with internal Police Dept. personnel matter, including decision making concerning hiring, firing, promotion, transfer, and in disciplinary proceedings, and for no other purpose, pending further order of the Court. Nothing in this order shall preclude the Town of Walkill from applying to the Court for relief from this Order if it becomes necessary to disclose the investigative records in connection with any disciplinary proceeding or challenge to a Police Dept. Personnel action, and in connection with any such application, the Office of the Attorney General may argue for the imposition of additional confidentiality restrictions if disclosure is permitted; This Order shall be reviewed in one year and may be re-entered at that time if appropriate. SO ORDERED: ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (dc) (Entered: 09/10/2001)

Sept. 7, 2001
27

AMENDMENT TO THE WALLKILL POLICE DEPARTMENT RULES AND REGULATIONS: Subject to the approval of the Court and the Court-appointed Auditor, the parties agree to the following amendment to the Rules, the following provision shall be added to immediately follow Rule 10.3.c.: See Document for details. SO ORDERED: ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (dc) (Entered: 03/01/2002)

Feb. 25, 2002
28

AMENDMENT TO CONFIDENTIALITY ORDER OF 09/06/02: It is ORDERED that the investigative records generated by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of NY in connection with this matter, which were previously released to the Cheif of Police of the Town or Wallkill and his labor counsel, Douglas Solomon, Esq., may also be seen by Jacqueline Ricciani, and other members of her firm, who are acting in the firm's capacity as Town Attorney to the Town of Walkill. ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); Copies mailed. (dc) (Entered: 03/19/2002)

March 18, 2002
29

Transcript of record of proceedings before Judge Colleen McMahon for the date(s) of 3/12/02. (dh) (Entered: 04/30/2002)

April 30, 2002
30

Memorandum to Docket Clerk: Court Reporter Sue Ghorayeb. Decision: Status Conference held. Next Status Conference to be held in 6 months. . (sv) (Entered: 09/23/2002)

Sept. 20, 2002

Status Conference held before Judge Colleen McMahon . (sv) (Entered: 09/23/2002)

Sept. 20, 2002
31

ORDER;...NOW THEREFORE, subject to the approval of the Court and the Court-appointed Auditor, the parties agree to the followng amendments to the Rules: (see document for details). So Ordered . ( signed by Judge Colleen McMahon ); clk/m/cpys. (sv) (Entered: 08/04/2003)

July 31, 2003
32

First Report of Monitor (January 2002). (fk, ) (Entered: 03/26/2004)

March 24, 2004
33

Second Report of Monitor (July 2002). (fk, ) (Entered: 03/26/2004)

March 24, 2004
34

Third Report of Monitor (February 2004). (fk, ) (Entered: 03/26/2004)

March 24, 2004
35

MEMORANDUM TO THE DOCKET CLERK: 06/15/04 - Parties Present. Court Reporter: Albi Gorn. Decision: Court holds conference to discuss the "Third Report of the Monitor." The matter is adjourned sine die until after the Monitor files his "Fourth Report," which is due sometime in the fall of 2004. Submitted by: Jim Oneill. (dcr, ) (Entered: 06/17/2004)

June 15, 2004
36

TRANSCRIPT of proceedings held on 06-14/04 before Judge Colleen McMahon.(cg, ) (Entered: 08/18/2004)

Aug. 17, 2004
37

AMENDMENT TO CONSENT DECREE: NOW THEREFORE, subject to the approval of the Court and the Independent Auditor, and pursuant to Paragraph 83 of the Consent Decree, the parties agree to the following amendment to paragraph 72: 72. See document for details. SO ORDERED: (Signed by Judge Colleen McMahon on 09/20/04) Clerk's Office Mailed Copies..(dcr, ) (Entered: 09/22/2004)

Sept. 21, 2004
38

FOURTH REPORT OF THE MONITOR, March, 2005, by Dean Esserman, Monitor. (ae, ) (Entered: 03/23/2005)

March 22, 2005
39

ENDORSED LETTER addressed to Judge Colleen McMahon from Joseph McKay dated 1/31/06 re: Conference set for 2/6/06. Endorsement: What I said is: The consent decree is extended until 2/6/06.. (Signed by Judge Colleen McMahon on 1/31/06) (fk, ) (Entered: 02/02/2006)

Feb. 1, 2006

MEMORANDUM TO THE DOCKET CLERK: 2/6/06- Court Reporter: Mary Staten. Parties present. Court holds final conference in this matter. Town of Wallkill is no longer bound b y the consent decreee. The parties are to submit a final jgmnt within 14 days. The monitor's final report will be filed by the end of February. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case and remove it from the Court's docket. (pf, ) (Entered: 02/07/2006)

Feb. 6, 2006
40

FINAL JUDGMENT...ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:...This court ended its oversight with respect to the WPD on February 6, 2006, Defendant is permanently enjoined and required to comply with Section 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 and 8.1 of the Best Practices Guidelines adopted pursuant to this Court's Consent Decree and this case is hereby closed. (Signed by Judge Colleen McMahon on 02/28/2006) The Clerk's Office Has Mailed Copies.(gco, ) (Entered: 02/28/2006)

Feb. 28, 2006
41

TRANSCRIPT of proceedings held on 02/06/2006 before Judge Colleen McMahon. Court Reporter: Mary M. Staten. (gco, ) (Entered: 03/06/2006)

March 6, 2006

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 18, 2001

Closing Date: 2006

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The people of the state of New York seeking supervision of the Town of Wallkill’s police department, which is claimed to be "out of control"

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Town of Wallkill Police Department (Town of Wallkill), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2001 - 2006

Issues

General:

Failure to discipline

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

Racial profiling