NYSTPBA Reaction to NYCLU Lawsuit

For Immediate Release, July 6, 2022

Statement from New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (NYSTPBA) President Thomas H. Mungeer:

The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (NYSTPBA) finds it odd that the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is suing the Division of State Police over its denial of the release of certain disciplinary records, yet the NYCLU itself is able to legally hide its own associated attorneys’ disciplinary records.

The NYCLU recently announced the lawsuit against the Division of State Police for, in its own words, “unlawfully denying the NYCLU’s requests for records related to police misconduct authorized to be disclosed following the 2020 repeal of 50-a.”

However, in the NYCLU’s announcement, it failed to include the fact that many of the records it is requesting are ones that have been deemed unfounded. As such, the NYSTPBA agrees with the current policy of the Division of State Police of releasing only founded complaints, a policy that is buttressed by an opinion from The Committee on Open Government that municipalities should not disclose unfounded/unsubstantiated complaints as a result of a FOIL request.

There appears to be an interesting twist to the NYCLU’s actions, as under New York’s Judiciary Law, “any complaint, inquiry, investigation or proceeding relating to the conduct of an attorney shall be sealed and be deemed private and confidential (Judiciary Law § 90[10]). If the complaint did not result in a formal disciplinary proceeding in court, the records concerning the investigation, the deliberations of the grievance committee, and the outcome are not open to the public.”

“It’s odd and ironic that the disciplinary records and any unfounded complaints of the attorneys that make up the NYCLU – as well as those of their pro bono attack dog Latham & Watkins LLP – will remain hidden and confidential and out of the scrutiny of the public eye,” said NYSTPBA President Thomas H. Mungeer. “I guess the NYCLU is not familiar with the phrase, ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?’”

While our court system continues to be clogged with the frivolous litigation filed by the NYCLU, the men and women who have proudly earned the title of New York State Trooper will continue to serve the people of the state of New York, even if on an uneven playing field.