Officers arrested in man’s paralysis case could have a chance to wipe their records clean
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – Five officers charged in connection with the paralysis of a man in their custody may have an opportunity to have their records essentially wiped clean.
Randy Cox, 36, was paralyzed from the chest down when officers failed to secure him in the back of a police van in June.
The driver of the van stopped to avoid a crash and that sent Cox head-first into the van’s rear doors.
State police identified the five officers who were arrested as Officer Oscar Diaz, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier, Officer Luis Rivera, and Sgt. Betsy Segui.
Tuesday, the attorneys for the Cox family were up in arms about the notion that the officers may have a chance to clear themselves of second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons charges.
The program they’re upset about is called “accelerated rehabilitation,” or AR.
Lawyers said it’s for first-time offenders who face charges that the court defines as minor or non-serious.
The charges in the Cox case are considered misdemeanors.
If the officers applied for AR and completed the program, that could dismiss their charges and allow them to avoid a conviction, jail time, and other legal penalties.
However, a lawyer Channel 3 spoke with said the officers would have to attend an accelerated rehabilitation hearing before a judge, and that the victim would be allowed to make a statement before the judge arguing against it.
“The judge hears from both sides, so they’ll hear from the lawyers for the officers to kind of explain why their client is a good candidate for AR and they’ll hear from the victims who will object and say this was way, way, way too serious,” said Beth Merkin, lawyer and University of New Haven professor.
“One of the conditions of the program is that the charge is not of a serious nature, and I would put it to anyone listening to this to come to the conclusion that what happened to Randy Cox was not a crime of a serious nature,” argued R.J. Weber, an attorney on Cox’s legal team.
If the officers were to be denied for the AR program, the cruelty to persons charge carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail. The reckless endangerment charge could result in about 6 months behind bars.
Copyright 2022 WFSB. All rights reserved.