The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a state Civil Service Commission’s decision to fire a Union City police officer who overdosed on cocaine in 2014.
“The three witnesses were qualified to testify as to the hospital records. They were familiar with the Raritan Bay records system and the hospital’s regular practice of generating and maintaining records. Furthermore, [Achala] Parikh personally ran [Corey] Corbo’s test through the Cobas testing instrument,” today’s 15-page decision by Appellate Judges Douglas Fasciale and Lisa Firko says.
“The City established the hospital records met the requirements of the business record
exception and their trustworthiness. Corbo had the burden of demonstrating the
test results were not reliable and failed to do so. Therefore, the hospital records
were properly admitted.”
Corbo and his girlfriend at the time, Jessica Garcia, also a Union City police officer, were being investigated for illegal drug use back in June 2014 after police and emergency medical service were called to a home in Monroe Township, where Corbo was unconscious and received CPR.
While he was fired after it was determined he overdosed on cocaine, the appellate court actually ruled in Corbo’s favor in March 2018, claiming that the city had only presented hearsay at that time.
Then in August 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court sent the case back to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law.
According to the latest court ruling, there is ample evidence to justify the CSC’s decision.
“The CSC found that Garcia’s statement ‘is now admissible as hearsay supported by a residuum of competent evidence, namely the hospital records which revealed that a cocaine metabolite was present in [Corbo’s] urine,'” the court explained.
“The hospital records and lab report, which reflect the positive test results for cocaine
conducted at Raritan Bay, are competent proof that Corbo ingested cocaine. Garcia’s statement to DiGrazio that Corbo did a ‘bump’ of cocaine five days earlier corroborates the positive test results.”