An Albany court has granted a stay of sentence for a former Nassau police commander while considering whether it will hear his case after a Brooklyn appellate court's recent affirmation of his 2013 misdemeanor corruption conviction.
In an Oct. 19 decision, the New York State Court of Appeals said William Flanagan can be free on his own recognizance for now in connection with the case.
On Oct. 7, a Brooklyn appellate court upheld Flanagan's conviction on two official misconduct charges and a conspiracy count after a scandal linked to a Bellmore school burglary. The court cited "overwhelming evidence" of his guilt.
However, Flanagan's attorney, Donna Aldea of Garden City, has said that the defense maintains Flanagan was wrongfully convicted and hopes the Court of Appeals will hear his case.
Flanagan spent 29 years on Nassau's police force and retired in 2012 as second deputy commissioner.
After a Nassau jury's 2013 verdict, a judge had sentenced Flanagan to 60 days in jail and 3 months of community service. The Brooklyn appellate court had already stayed his sentence during his appeal in that court.
Prosecutors said at his trial that Flanagan misused his position by conspiring to quash the felony arrest of a high school student as a favor to the student's father, a longtime donor to police causes. The case involved the burglary of more than $10,000 in electronics from John F. Kennedy High School and also led two other retired police officials to plead guilty to official misconduct.
Flanagan abused his authority to get police to return electronics that the student stole, and the student's father repaid him with gift cards and a state-of-the-art flashlight, prosecutors also said.
Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in response to the Brooklyn appellate court's decision earlier this month that public corruption "cannot be tolerated."
Singas' office also had said at the time prosecutors would oppose Flanagan's request for another stay of sentence, and Tuesday called the stay "routine."