What can only be described as a horrendous result from the eyes of the prosecution and a tremendous result from the eyes of Police Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, a Manhattan jury acquitted the accused NYPD officers of rape and every other felony. What was once a bleak outlook where each man faced mandatory state prison, is now a significantly less dire situation. At the time of sentencing, both Mr. Moreno and Mr. Mata “merely” face up to one year in jail on Rikers Island. Official Misconduct: New York Penal Law 195.00
According to the New York Penal Law, Official Misconduct occurs when a person who is a public servant (such as a police officer), with intent to obtain a benefit, commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions. The accused must also know that such act is unauthorized.
Far from the most serious crime, a conviction for this offense in the realm of employment as a Police Officer will likely result in their dismissal from the Police Department. Having said that, a more interesting question and issue is the type of sentence these men will receive. Will the court sentence Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata to a year in jail? How about six months or even a “split” of jail and probation. Can and will the court use the underlying offense, aka, the alleged rape, as the basis to maximize the sentence even thought there was an acquittal? Is it ethical to do so? While a victim impact statement is often relevant to a judge at time of sentencing, according to the jury, there is no victim and, as a result, no possible victim impact statement. On a side note, what happens to the young lady, who is no longer a “victim” in the criminal law sense, and her suit against New York City? All of these questions and issues are interesting ones that are likely running through the judge’s mind. Sooner or later we will get his answer.
Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. For information on criminal statutes, legal decisions and analysis of cases in the news, please review the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog or the Saland Law PC website.