Judge denies accused Norwalk police officer's application for accelerated rehabilitation
One of two Norwalk police officers accused of drinking on the job and ignoring service calls won't be granted access to a program that would allow charges to be dropped.
The judge denied Michael Dimeglio's application for accelerated rehabilitation, a pretrial program that allows a defendant to be on probation for a year and not admit guilt. If no other crimes are committed, the charges disappear.
Dimeglio's co-defendant, Sara Laudano, was at the hearing. Laudano previously applied for accelerated rehabilitation but will find out her fate next week.
"The state sees this as a very serious offense," says Stamford State's Attorney Paul Ferencek. "He drank before going on shift. He drank during the majority of his shift and was hanging out partying with his girlfriend when he should've been patrolling the streets."
Ferencek argued against Dimeglio's request for accelerated rehabilitation while defense attorney Jessica Kordas pushed for leniency.
"I think he made a mistake. We're all entitled to make a mistake. He should be given a second chance that many people are given when they make an application for this program, your honor, in this very court," said Kordas.
She says Dimeglio is a former military member who was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"As his advocate, I will say that he is intensely remorseful. He is extremely consumed by shame and moments after this arrest, and even before, he reached out for help... that help he's gotten now in counseling and in working on himself, I think will ensure that he will not reoffend," Kordas says.
Dimeglio is charged with larceny and reckless endangerment. Police say during a shift in October, Dimeglio and Laudano drank in their police cars and didn't respond to calls.
They were found together in a hotel room.
"I think he is completely unfit to be a police officer and I would urge the court not to grant the application so that he never works in this profession again," says Ferencek.
Judge Gary White agreed, ruling the alleged crime is too serious.
Ferencek plans to offer a plea deal when Dimeglo returns to court Oct. 19.
The internal investigation by the Norwalk Police Department is still ongoing. Dimeglio was joined in court by his police union representative.
Dimeglio and Laudano remain on administrative leave from the Norwalk Police Department. Ferencek says Dimeglio recently applied to join the Stamford Police Department.