CHICAGO | A Cook County judge on Thursday issued an order saying Lynwood's Police and Fire Board was wrong to fire a police officer whose squad car was stolen and demolished during a police chase.
That order by Judge Mary L. Mikva says Joseph Marigliano could have been suspended for up to 30 days as punishment, rather than being fired for the December 2012 incident.
In theory, that restores Marigliano to his position as a patrol officer with the Lynwood Police Department. However, attorney Timothy Lapp, who is advising the Police and Fire Board, told Mikva during a hearing in her Daley Center courtroom the village does not intend to give Marigliano his job back, and will instead file an appeal with the Illinois appellate court to try to get it overturned.
According to state law, Lynwood officials have a 30-day period in which to file an appeal. Lapp would only say the appeal would be filed soon.
In the Marigliano case, he was one of several officers involved in a police chase of an armed man. At one point, the chase continued on foot, and Marigliano got out of his squad car to help. But he did not trigger a lockout device that would have prevented the suspect from being able to double back, get to the squad car and drive away — which is what happened.
The Police and Fire Board last year fired Marigliano, but Mikva earlier this year ruled they were wrong to do so on grounds there is no specific requirement the lockout device be triggered in those circumstances.
She gave the village a chance to change their penalty, but the Police and Fire Board last month ruled it believed it was right to dismiss Marigliano.
That resulted in Thursday's court ruling, which resolves the case at this level, and allows it to advance to the appellate court in Chicago.
Mikva said she realized her ruling will be subject to appellate court challenges, but refused a request by Lapp to issue a stay that would have put a hold on Marigliano's fate while the case is pending in the appeals court.
She said she thinks the appeals court will ultimately uphold her ruling, which she thinks is correct.
"I see it the way I see it, so I think I'm right," she said.
As for whether or not Marigliano is entitled to any back pay, Mikva refused to hear arguments from Marigliano attorney Christopher Cooper, telling him, "Save it for the appellate court."
Cooper continues to insist Marigliano was distracted and someone drove off in his assigned squad car because he was trying to help another officer who was injured.
"I think it's wrong to fire a police officer who was trying to accomplish the public good," Cooper said.
Marigliano, who kept quiet during Thursday's court hearing, has worked during the past year as a part-time security officer at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. But Cooper pointed out that Marigliano and his son were recently evicted from the house in which they were living because of his erratic income.