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People v. Thompson (1969) – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In People v. Thompson, 58 Misc 2d 511, 296 N.Y.S.2d 166 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1969) the Defendant was charged with Official Misconduct in his capacity as Deputy Chief of Police of the Village of Balston Spa. The allegations were that the Defendant placed a bet, off track, on his favorite horse, with a local bookmaker.

The bookmaker, by taking the Chief's bet was engaged in criminal conduct, to wit" Promoting Gambling. The Chief was charged with Official Misconduct in that he failed to perform a duty imposed on him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

The duty in question was his obligation to arrest of the bookmaker for engaging in illegal gambling activities.

The Court in Thompson dismissed the charge, holding that the proof was insufficient to establish the Chief's conduct resulted in a benefit being conferred upon him. The language of the opinion also suggests that not every act of nonfeasance or malfeasance by a person who holds public office constitutes Official Misconduct.

It further establishes that a successful bet and the resultant monetary award does not satisfy the benefit element of the crime of Official Misconduct.