Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gardner v. Broderick case brief

Gardner v. Broderick case brief summary
392 U.S. 273 (1968)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant challenged a judgment of the Court of Appeals of New York that affirmed dismissal of his action seeking reinstatement as a police officer, after appellant was dismissed from duty, pursuant to New York City, N.Y., Charter § 1123, on grounds that appellant refused to waive his privilege against self-incrimination in an investigation into police corruption. Appellant contended § 1123 violated his rights under U.S. Constitutional amends. V and XIV.

CASE FACTS
Pursuant to New York City, N.Y., Charter § 1123, appellant was discharged from duty as a police officer after he refused to waive his privilege against self-incrimination and to sign a waiver of immunity from prosecution, in a grand jury investigation of police corruption. The trial court's dismissal of appellant's petition seeking reinstatement was affirmed by the state's highest court.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the United States Supreme Court noted that appellant was discharged not for failure to answer relevant questions about his official duties, but for refusal to waive a constitutional right and that he was dismissed solely for his refusal to waive the immunity to which he would be entitled if he was ever required to testify despite his constitutional privilege. 
  • The Court ruled that was contrary to U.S. Constitutional Amendment V; therefore, the charter provision that authorized appellant's dismissal for failing to waive a constitutional right could not stand.

CONCLUSION
The Court reversed a judgment that dismissed appellant's action seeking reinstatement as a police officer because the provision of the city charter that authorized appellant's discharge from employment for refusing to waive his privilege against self-incrimination, in an investigation into police corruption, was unconstitutional as it was contrary to U.S. Constitutional Amendment V, as applicable to the states by U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV.

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