THE BRONX — A Bronx judge ripped into an NYPD officer accused of fixing tickets for allegedly trying to delay his case this week in order to protect his pension, DNAinfo New York has learned.
A visibly annoyed Judge Steven Barrett blasted Officer Brian McGuckin when he showed up for a pre-trial hearing Tuesday and suddenly told the judge he needed to switch lawyers at the 11th hour, sources said.
Barrett went ballistic when McGuckin told him he believed his present attorney had a conflict of interest because his union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, gave him his lawyer, according to sources.
By McGuckin’s logic, his lawyer had a conflict because McGuckin recently joined an opposition slate of candidates trying to unseat Patrick Lynch, the union president.
McGuckin told Barrett that he felt his lawyer now had an inherent conflict of interest.
Barrett became visibly upset, sources say, and then barked at McGuckin that he did not “care how many times” he wanted to switch lawyers, his trial was going to start on Monday, May 18, as planned, according to sources.
“The judge obviously was thinking, ‘Why did it take him two years to decide his lawyer had a conflict,’” a source said.
The judge then went on to say he believed McGuckin came up with the concept to stall his trial until late August. That’s when McGuckin celebrates his 20th anniversary with the NYPD, which would guarantee him a full pension, even if he is convicted of a felony.
Only Officer Joseph Anthony, who is also being prosecuted in the ticket-fixing case and is running against Lynch’s slate this Spring, has two decades on the force and a guaranteed pension.
McGuckin will be the first of the 13 officers to go on trial.
No one could blame McGuckin, a top Bronx union official, for trying to delay his trial. An officer’s pension is generally worth about $1.5 million in total retirement payouts.
“On The Inside” previously reported that lawyers for the accused cops were trying to cut deals with Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson to plea to reduced charges that might have protected their pensions — but Johnson would not budge.
From the outset of the 2011 scandal, the PBA has maintained that ticket-fixing punishments should have been handled within the NYPD and not in criminal court, especially since the practice has been going on for decades and is viewed largely as a victimless crime.
In fact, PBA President Lynch insisted the accused Bronx officers are being scapegoated while hundreds of other officers implicated in the scandal only faced internal discipline.
The ticket-fixing probe grew out of an investigation into alleged drug dealing by a Bronx officer, Jose Ramos, when Internal Affairs Bureau investigators conducting wiretaps overheard discussions about officers tossing summonses. Ramos was subsequently convicted.