NEW YORK (AP) — Two ex-New York City detectives accused of having sex in a police van with an 18-year-old woman they arrested were sentenced Thursday to probation, irritating prosecutors who wanted them behind bars.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office had been pushing for at least a year in jail for Eddie Martins and Richard Hall.
The case originally involved rape charges, which were later dropped. It also led to a change in state law meant to curb such abuses of police power.
The sentence, though, wasn't a surprise.
Judge Danny Chun announced his intent to sentence Martins, 39, and Hall, 34 to five years of probation when they pleaded guilty in August to official misconduct and other charges stemming from the September 2017 encounter.
"These defendants lost their jobs and are now convicted felons because of the appalling abuse of power to which they admitted," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office had dropped kidnapping and rape charges against Martins and Hall in March, citing "serious credibility issues."
The case spurred legislation to close what some called a police sex loophole. While New York law already bars sex between prison guards and inmates, it didn't apply to officers and those in their custody. That allowed officers to claim that sex with a detainee was consensual, Gonzalez said.
"Unfortunately, we could not apply that new law retroactively," he said.
The victim was driving with two friends near Coney Island when the two plainclothes detectives pulled her over and found marijuana.
After they released her, the woman went to the hospital, where prosecutors say DNA was obtained that matched both men. The officers, who resigned after the allegations broke, pleaded not guilty and claimed the sex was consensual.
A lawyer for one of the men has said the case was botched from the start and that the former detectives were smeared with false allegations of rape.