The case against a former Suffolk police sergeant accused of stealing cash from Hispanic drivers will move to trial this fall after the judge Friday appointed an attorney to represent him.
The former sergeant, Scott Greene, 51, had been told in a previous court appearance that he might have to represent himself at trial over a host of hate crime charges if he did not hire a lawyer. But Friday he returned to court once more without legal representation, according to a News 12 Long Island report.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho scolded Greene for not retaining an attorney, the report said, and appointed a lawyer to represent him on the spot.
Court spokesman Robert F. Quinlan said Camacho selected Jonathan B. Manley as Greene's 18B attorney, a designation for lawyers usually assigned by the courts for defendants who can't afford to hire counsel.
The case was adjourned until Sept. 22, Quinlan said. It is expected to go to trial in state Supreme Court in Central Islip by the end of October.
Greene has pleaded not guilty. He faces a maximum of 462/3 to 140 years in prison if convicted of multiple charges, including larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, and official misconduct after authorities said he targeted more than 20 Hispanic drivers in traffic stops while he was on the force.
He is accused of singling out those driving in the Coram area with out-of-state license plates -- as immigrants illegally in the country sometimes do -- and of taking cash from them instead of issuing traffic tickets.
Manley, reached at his Hauppauge office, said he will prepare to defend Greene.
"I will need some time to review all the evidence, review the discovery, and we'll be proceeding from there," Manley said. "The trial's been scheduled for late October and we'll be prepared for trial in late October."
Manley said he and Greene "were introduced to each other today" and had not had a chance to discuss the substance of the case.
Spouses of some of the immigrants who say they were stopped by Greene were in court Friday and said they are hopeful the case will move forward, said Irma Solis, a community organizer in the Hispanic community around Coram, Medford and Farmingville.
"They were happy to hear that at least now we are talking about a concrete day for the trial, and hopefully they will see their day in court," Solis said.