Frederick K. Brewington of the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington has announced that on December 11, 2014, his client, Nancy Genovese, was awarded a $1.112 million jury verdict for pain and suffering after being falsely and maliciously prosecuted by a Suffolk County Sheriff. The jury found that Ms. Genovese experienced humiliation and physical abuse during her detention and incarceration and that the actions taken against her violated her Constitutional Rights.
On July 30, 2009, Ms. Genovese, a resident of East Quogue, was driving home on County Road 31, when she passed by the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach. She saw a decorative helicopter shell in front of the base and pulled over in an open public area to take a photograph of the shell. The photograph was to be used in a “Support Our Troops” website.
As Ms. Genovese was about to drive away, she was stopped by an off-duty police officer, Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Robert Iberger. He asked Ms. Genovese why she was taking pictures. As she showed him the photos she took. Ms. Genovese then removed the memory card and gave it to Lt. Iberger, who had the ANG base called and they called the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office.
While on the side of the road, Iberger searched through Ms. Genovese’s car without her consent and retrieved a rifle, which was legally owned and being transported back from the firing range where Ms. Genovese had just come from. Suffolk County Deputy Sheriff Robert Carlock arrived on the scene and took over and, while grabbing the rifle and holding in a dangerous fashion, said to Ms. Genovese, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people” and when Ms. Genovese responded that she had gone to one of the Tea Party Rallies, Carlock said to Ms. Genovese, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and said he would arrest her for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.” Although the FBI brought no charges against Ms. Genovese, Deputy Sheriff Carlock had her arrested. On July 31, 2009, she was arraigned on a B misdemeanor charge of Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree and, to her shock, was held on $50,000.00 bail.
Although her sons, who witnessed a good part of her mistreatment on the side of the road, tried to take her property and her car, Ms. Genovese’s car was required to be left on the side of the road by Carlock while she was being brought to Suffolk County Jail. When her two sons finally were allowed to retrieve her car, they noticed that some of her property was missing, especially a large amount of cash and family court papers.
From July 30, 2009 to August 3, 2009, Ms. Genovese was incarcerated at Suffolk County Jail. During that time, she was subjected to humiliation, strip search, verbal and physical abuse and denial to legal counsel and access to medical care for a leg injury which became seriously infected. She was also placed under suicide watch. Deputy Sheriff Carlock and Suffolk County Undersheriff Joseph T. Caracappa worked on a press release which was riddled with false claims, including claiming Ms. Genovese wandered around near the ANG base and that she had been told not to return on prior occasions, which led to Ms. Genovese being labeled a terrorist and other false names in the press and on the Internet. On August 3, 2009, she was released after making $50,000 bond. After going to Court numerous times, the charges were formally dismissed on November 17, 2009.
On July 29, 2010, Ms. Genovese filed a Federal lawsuit and, on December 11, 2014, after an eight-day trial, a jury from the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York ruled in favor of Ms. Genovese, awarding her $1,112,000 in compensatory damages. The jury was hung on punitive damages and another trial on those damages will be held in the future.
“We are glad to see the jury awarded Ms. Genovese the financial compensation she deserves,” Mr. Brewington said, “but what they took from this woman cannot be measured in money. There is no reason to treat another human the way they treated her. Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because they did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights.”
Ms. Genovese stated, “This is a relief that the Jury heard the truth and that I now have had the chance to clear my name. If this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”
For more information, call (516) 489-6959.