A former Shelton cop now facing drug possession charges hasn’t been following judge’s orders.
That’s why prosecutors want the bond increased for the officer, Loren Casertano, while the drug case is pending. A hearing on the matter is set for next week.
Casertano has missed appointments at a court diversionary program and, a prosecutor says, “made it abundantly clear he has better things to do.”
Casertano was arrested in March on charges he had painkiller pills, in addition to vials and syringes containing testosterone, in his police department locker a day before he was fired from his job last May.
Casertano is free on a promise to appear. The motion for a bond increase, filed by Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Bepko, does not specify how much prosecutors want Casertano’s bond increased.
The case is being heard at Superior Court in Milford.
When Casertano first appeared there in April, Judge Maureen Keegan ordered him to participate in the Judicial Branch’s Alternative in the Community (AIC) program, which monitors certain defendants with pending cases.
Casertano refused to submit to random drug testing with the program and failed to attend an appointment before his court date in May, according to Bepko’s motion.
A copy of the motion appears below. Article appears after the document.
A judge, in May, modified the conditions of Casertano’s promise to appear to let him submit to drug tests with an independent provider. His lawyer, Rob Serafinowicz, says Casertano has provided clean specimens.
But Bepko’s motion says a report filed this month “indicated defendant failed to attend AIC because he had a dentist appointment.” Job and family commitments also reportedly interfered with appointments.
The next report on Casertano, the motion says, was dated Wednesday (June 20) and indicated he was removed from a class “due to lack of attendance” and then didn’t go to “case management” sessions.
When Casertano called AIC, the motion says, he told them he was not willing to comply with their rules and regulations.
“It is the State’s position that the Defendant is in violation of the Court Order that defendant participate with AIC,” Bepko’s motion concludes. “He was accommodated in that he was able to render urines with an outside agency. He was not excused from case management and has made it abundantly clear he has better things to do.”
Casertano appeared at Superior Court in Milford Friday.
Outside the courtroom, Serafinowicz said the motion showed that “the state’s attorney’s office is trying to harass my client.”
He said he has given proof of Casertano’s clean urine specimens to prosecutors on every court date.
“The whole point of (AIC) was to ensure and to prove he was not using any illicit substances,” Serafinowicz said.
As for the classes and case management sessions, Serafinowicz’s answer was simple: Casertano doesn’t need them.
“My client is an extremely busy man,” he said.
Serafinowicz also said he’d demand a trial on the charges be held that day if Bepko pursued the motion.
Inside the courtroom, though, Judge Keegan offered Serafinowicz the chance to make arguments about the motion next week, which he accepted.
He told Keegan that he will also prepare a formal motion to terminate his client’s involvement with AIC.
“He poses no threat to society,” Serafinowicz said. “He is now retired and works as a real estate developer.”
Serafinowicz has long claimed that the drug case was initiated as revenge for his client not settling a federal lawsuit and state Department of Labor complaint against the city.
He said after the court that the easiest way to resolve the case would be to set it down for an immediate trial.
“Let’s cut out all the delays and stop arguing about minutiae and set the case down to be tried before a jury of my client’s peers,” the lawyer said.
Since the criminal case began, the others have been settled.
Shelton Aldermen last Thursday voted unanimously to accept a settlement with Casertano after a brief executive session. They did not discuss the case in public before voting.
The lawyer representing Casertano in the settlement negotiations, John “Chip” Walsh, hasn’t returned messages seeking comment.
The lawyer who joined Aldermen during the executive session last week, Ramon Sous, couldn’t be reached Friday afternoon.
But according to a draft of the document obtained by the Valley Indy, details of which were confirmed by sources with knowledge of the negotiations, the city agreed to reinstate Casertano, after which he retired with benefits.
Mayor Mark Lauretti said Friday he was “not at liberty” to discuss the details of the deal, but that the city chose to settle because it was cheaper than going to trial would have been.
“It’s all-encompassing,” Lauretti said of the settlement. “It resolves all our issues with Casertano. Now everybody goes their separate ways.”