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A judge steps in to allow Nassau drunk driving cases to proceed without police providing records

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A Nassau County judge has allowed dozens of drunk driving cases to proceed without police misconduct records being given to defendants.

This is the latest in a standoff over whether police misconduct records need to be given to criminal defendants as part of the discovery process. The lower court judge presiding over the drunk driving cases, Andrew Engel, said yes, misconduct records need to be disclosed because the state Legislature repealed the law shielding them in 2020.

Nassau police commissioner Patrick Ryder said no, there are other laws shielding misconduct records from being released. Prosecutors said the impasse threatens to cause 143 drunk driving cases to be dismissed, and possibly thousands more.

For now, a higher court judge sided with police by issuing a temporary restraining order, advancing the cases forward without disclosing misconduct records. However, the court will hear the case in more detail in the coming months.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.
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