Monday’s dismissal of the wrongful Greenwich Connecticut arrest for criminal mischief and larceny charges against a beloved Parkway School employee was a complete validation and victory for the employee and her scores of supporters. According to reports, the employee believed that another parent planted a recording device in the Parkway School’s central office. Acting quickly, and with the sole purpose of protecting the privacy rights of Parkway students, parents and staff, she removed the device from the office and was arrested by Greenwich Police for larceny and criminal mischief. And to top off the absurdity, the Town of Greenwich unceremoniously terminated her employment after an exemplary 20-year career with the school. The irony here is that the Town of Greenwich should have been thanking this woman; instead they gave her a pink slip and a set of handcuffs.
Supported by dozens of past and present Parkway and Greenwich Connecticut students, parents and families, the employee felt relieved and validated by the court’s quick dismissal of all charges. Thankfully, under Connecticut’s Erasure Statute, all of her arrest and case records will be destroyed and “erased,” and she can now even swear under oath that she was never arrested. But the bigger issue that looms over this case is how the Town of Greenwich and Greenwich Police would not even meaningfully investigate the allegation of illegal wiretapping that was alleged to have taken place in the Parkway School. Why wouldn’t they do this?
The answer? A perfect storm of politics, posturing, lack of resources, and selective prosecution…
As the best Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys acutely appreciate (but what many Greenwich Connecticut residents have problems understanding), is the fact that not all crimes are or can be prosecuted. The Greenwich Police simply do not have enough time and financial resources to prosecute eavesdropping crimes, especially in this day and age of webcams, iPhone and tablet apps that can secretly record people in schools, businesses, homes, and motor vehicles. These recording devices are discreet and cheap. Top Greenwich Connecticut divorce lawyers frequently cry foul and call the police when webcams or GPS devices are unknowingly planted in their clients’ homes and cars, unbeknownst to their clients. Yes, it’s a technical violation of state and federal privacy laws, but as the top Greenwich Connecticut criminal defense attorneys appreciate, the crime is rarely prosecuted, unless the videos and digital recordings have been used to extort or humiliate the victim (top Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers have seen these cases come up mostly in Voyeurism arrests in Stamford, Greenwich, Dairen and New Canaan Connecticut). Click here to read more about Connecticut voyeurism arrests and Connecticut’s snooping spouse laws that have become a hot topic of conversation among the best Connecticut divorce lawyers and Greenwich Connecticut computer crimes detectives.
The reason why the legal concept is called “selective prosecution” is that sometimes Connecticut police and prosecutors will make the decision to select one target, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, attempt to garner mass media attention of the case, and make an example out of the single case with the hope that people considering committing this crime in the future will reconsider. This approach goes hand-in-hand with a criminal law punishment theory called “general deterrence,” which is grounded in selective prosecutions such as the wrongful Greenwich Connecticut arrest of the Parkway School employee for larceny and criminal mischief. Thankfully, there are ways to quash a prosecution and, as in the Parkway School case, a compassionate and fair-minded judge saw this case for what it was and dismissed the Greenwich Connecticut arrest for larceny and criminal mischief quickly, possibly setting the table for a wrongful termination civil lawsuit against the Town of Greenwich.
We believe one of the reasons why the Superior Court dismissed this Parkway case so quickly was that her lawyers argued that the legal defense of “necessity” would have prevailed at a trial of this Greenwich Connecticut arrest for criminal mischief and larceny. While we all could agree that the employee should have immediately called the police, it is much easier for critics to second-guess her conduct after the fact. The reality of these situations is that when you are eye-witnessing what you believe to be criminal conduct, you must act quickly, safely, and in the best interests of the people you are trying to protect. And luckily, Connecticut law does allow for what’s called a “necessity” defense, allowing you to argue an affirmative defense to your charge that the criminal conduct you may have engaged in was absolutely necessary and justified in order to prevent a greater crime or harm from occurring (such as speeding to get your pregnant wife to a hospital). In removing the recording device from the Parkway School, the employee felt she was stopping the unauthorized recording of students, teachers and administrators. Whether the device was actually in recording mode is still in dispute, but the employee truly believed this, and did what she thought was in the best interest of her students on a moment’s notice. (Clearly a 20-year veteran school employee was not committing larceny—that is, she did not intend to permanently deprive the device owner of their property. She owned and could afford her own IPhone). Some of the best Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers have argued the necessity defense in other criminal arrests for criminal mischief where property was destroyed (such as breaking a car window to save a dog or child in a hot car). So if you are accused of criminal conduct that you believe was justified, then be sure to discuss the viability of the necessity defense with your top Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney.
Finding yourself wrongfully arrested in Greenwich Connecticut for Criminal Mischief and Larceny can be devastating to your career and reputation. And if prosecutors are not willing to drop your charges, you should follow the lead of the Parkway Elementary school employee who, with the help of her Greenwich criminal lawyer, sought relief and resolution for the judge who graciously and thoughtfully dismissed the case after a very short period of time. Don’t let Greenwich police soil your reputation with frivolous and unfair criminal arrests for Larceny and Criminal Mischief. Stand up for yourself by contacting an experienced Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyer today.