November 18, 2003

Police Officer Shot in 1999 Expected to File Suit

By William Murphy STAFF WRITER

A police officer is expected to file a lawsuit for damages today against a Queens man who allegedly shot him in 1999, but avoided prosecution because of delays in going to trial.

Officer David Gonzalez and leaders of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association plan to file the lawsuit against William Hodges for a portion of any future income.

"It's our feeling we've got to hold him accountable any way we can," union spokesman Albert O'Leary said yesterday. "Whatever it is, income from a job or lotto winnings, a portion of that money should go to Gonzalez."

State Supreme Court Justice Laura Blackburne dismissed the charges in December, ruling that prosecutors had used 208 days of adjournments, well above the legal requirement of bringing a defendant to trial within 182 days.

She said the case had been handled by five prosecutors, seven judges, a judicial hearing officer and three defense attorneys as it dragged through the system.

The Queens district attorney's office has appealed her decision. Blackburne has declined to discuss union complaints, saying that she has a personal interest in the case because she and Hodges' mother are members of the Jamaica branch of the NAACP.