New York State Supreme Court Upholds Commission's Revocation of Special Craft Longshoreman's Registration.
January 12, 2012
On January 6, 2012, Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York State Supreme Court denied and dismissed the Article 78 Petition filed by special craft longshoreman Anthony Rispoli to overturn the Waterfront Commission's revocation of his registration. Rispoli was charged with operating a large-scale marijuana grow operation, thereby rendering his presence at the piers or other waterfront terminals in the Port of New York district a danger to the public peace and safety within the meaning of the Waterfront Commission Act. After an administrative hearing, the Administrative Law Judge found that the Commission established the charges against Rispoli by a fair preponderance of the credible evidence. The Administrative Law Judge recommended that Rispoli's registration be suspended for six (6) months. Having duly considered the record of the proceedings, including the findings and recommendations in the Administrative Law Judge’s Report and Recommendations, the Commission instead revoked Rispoli’s registration.
On appeal, Rispoli requested that the Court annul the Commission's determination due to various due process violations, which included the admission of certain hearsay testimony during the administrative hearing. He also argued that the revocation, rather than a suspension, of his longshoreman registration was an abuse of discretion.
The Court rejected Rispoli's allegations that there were due process violations, indicating that "it is well-established that hearsay evidence is admissible in administrative hearings." Moreover, the Court held that the Commission's decision to revoke Rispoli's registration was not disproportionate to the offense charged. The Court found that though the Administrative Law Judge "did not recommend permanently revoking Rispoli's registration, he did find that his presence at the piers was a danger to the public peace or safety, and based on this finding the Commission has the statutory discretion to revoke Rispoli's registration.” The Court held that “given the Commission's purpose of eliminating criminal activities in New York harbor, the punishment here does not shock the Court's sense of fairness.”
Accordingly, the Court denied and dismissed Rispoli's petition. A copy of the Court's Decision, Order and Judgment is attached.
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