Hearsay evidence may be the basis for an administrative disciplinary determination

Hearsay evidence may be the basis for an administrative disciplinary determination Matter of Hughes v New York State Unified Ct. Sys., Off. of Ct. Admin., 2010 NY Slip Op 07932, Decided on November 3, 2010, Appellate Division, Second Department Thomas Hughes, an Office of Court Administration [OCA] court officer, was served with disciplinary charges alleging, among other offenses, failing to keep his uniform in proper condition, failing to keep his weapon properly loaded, and keeping an impermissible metal-jacketed round in his weapon. The disciplinary hearing officer found that Hughes was guilty of "engaging in acts of misconduct and incompetency prejudicial to the good order and efficiency of the New York State Unified Court System and adversely reflecting on his fitness to continue as a court office." OCA accepted the hearing officer's recommendation that Hughes be dismissed from his position. Hughes filed a petition pursuant to CPLR Article 78 seeking a court order vacating OCA's decision to terminate him. The Appellate Division dismissed Hughes petition noting that "appellate review of an administrative determination made after a hearing required by law is limited to whether that determination is supported by substantial evidence." In this instance, said the court, the hearing officer's findings were supported by substantial evidence.* Addressing another issue concerning the evidence presented in the course of the disciplinary hearing, the Appellate Division commented that "Hearsay evidence may be the basis for an administrative determination," citing Gray v Adduci, 73 NY2d 741. As to the penalty imposed, dismissal, the court said that "termination of employment was not so disproportionate to the misconduct as to shock the conscience." * Substantial evidence has been defined as "such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact." The decision is posted on the Internet at: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_07932.htm NYPPL

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