Police Expert Witness Supports Former Felon

Former paratroopers argued before New York Justice Henry Kron this week that Specialist Osvaldo Hernandez deserved to have his civil rights restored. Hernandez served a year on Rikers Island for illegal gun possession before joining the Army and serving a 15-month tour in Afghanistan. Hernandez hopes to join the New York police force.

His lawyer, James D. Harmon Jr., a former prosecutor who served in Vietnam and their expert witness, Randy Jergensen, a retired New York police detective who parachuted into battle in Korea, testified on behalf of Hernanez. They believe that his service in the army and certificate of good conduct from the parole board remove any legal barriers to Mr. Hernandez’s joining the police force. The decision is now up to police officials, who have said that the city’s administrative code forbids hiring anyone with a felony conviction as a police officer.

Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick of the Army Recruiting Command says the Army has accepted 372 felons this year as of October 10, down from 511 last year. A recent military study showed that such recruits were promoted faster, were more likely to re-enlist, and received more awards.

For more see New York Times.