Judge denies Norwalk police officer's request for pre-trial probation program

A second Norwalk police officer accused of drinking on the job and ignoring service calls will not get the chance to have her charges dropped after a judge denied her request for a pre-trial probation program.
Sara Laudano's co-defendant, Michael Dimeglio, had his request for accelerated rehabilitation denied last week.
Laudano's attorney argued she should be considered differently while the prosecution countered the accusations against her are even worse.
Attorney Ray Hassett called Laudano the ideal person for accelerated rehabilitation because she's someone with no prior record and is unlikely to get in trouble again.
"I understand the state has its job to do but in this scenario, this is a perfect candidate in my opinion who has a small toddler at home, is taking care of it as a single parent and has gone through a great deal of turmoil," Hassett says.
Hassett had previously said Laudano was depressed and self-medicating after an assault in 2019 and it got worse when she had a baby last year.
In January, police arrested Laudano and Dimeglio following a three-month investigation into their behavior during a 12-hour shift in October. Arrest warrants say they drank before their shifts and during them, and didn't respond to service calls before supervisors found them in a hotel room.
Police also say Laudano drove with her infant in the cruiser after drinking and vaping THC.
"In comparison with Mr. Dimeglio's case, Ms. Laudano actually faces more serious charges - a felony count of risk of injury to a minor," says Stamford State's Attorney Paul Ferencek.
Judge Gary White ruled Laudano endangered the residents of Norwalk and her child. He determined the circumstances were too serious for accelerated rehabilitation, telling the court, "Your client was a police officer and I can't ignore that fact. Is she eligible for AR? Yes. Under proper circumstances, would I give her AR? Yes. But this is not a situation where she impulsively did something."
Laudano returns to court on Dec. 3. Ferencek says he'll put a plea offer on the table.
Both Laudano and Dimeglio have been on leave while the Norwalk Police Department conducts an internal investigation. Disciplinary hearings are pending.