The State Ethics Commission and Albert Inostroza enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(j).
On January 24, 2007, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Inostroza. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on April 25, 2007, found reasonable cause to believe that Inostroza violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Inostroza now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Findings of Fact
1. Albert Inostroza is a Lawrence Police Department patrolman.
2. On the evening of July 29, 2006, a friend telephoned Inostroza at his home; Inostroza was off-duty at the time. The friend asked Inostroza to come to his home because he and his wife had discovered a .22-caliber revolver in the bedroom of their 17-year-old daughter.
3. Inostroza went to the friend's home and took possession of the gun. Inostroza spoke with the daughter about the matter. The daughter stated she the found the gun on the ground near a convenience store. The friend asked Inostroza to delay reporting the gun until they (the parents) had a chance to talk further with their daughter. Inostroza left with the gun.
4. Possession of a firearm without an identification card has penalties of up to two years in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
5. The City of Lawrence Police Department Manual requires police officers to communicate promptly all important happenings which come to their attention, whether on or off-duty.
6. On August 7, 2007, nine days after Inostroza took the gun, the Lawrence Police Department first became aware of the gun matter through a confidential informant. On that same day, the department's internal affairs division (IAD) opened an investigation. The IAD found no record that Inostroza had filed a police report regarding his visit to the friend's home on July 29, 2006, or that he had submitted the gun to the evidence officer.
7. Later on August 7, 2006, Inostroza filed a police report concerning the gun.
8. Inostroza stated that he did not file a police report about the gun because he believed that the true owner of the gun, who was out the country, was returning soon.
9. The IAD recommended that Inostroza be given a 20-day suspension for his misconduct. After an appeal, Inostroza was suspended for 10 days.
Conclusions of Law
10. General laws, c. 268A, s. 23(b) (2) prohibits a municipal employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
11. As a Lawrence Police Department Patrolman, Inostroza is a municipal employee within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A.
12. The failure to promptly report the friend's daughter's possession of a gun was an unwarranted privilege of substantial value for the daughter as she would be facing charges of possession of a firearm without an identification card, which has potential penalties of prison time and fines and the costs incurred with defending that charge.
13. This unwarranted privilege was not otherwise properly available to similarly situated individuals.
14. Inostroza used his police officer position to secure or attempt to secure this privilege by failing to report the friend's daughter's possession of a gun.
15. Therefore, Inostroza violated s. 23(b)(2) as he knowingly used his position to secure or attempt to secure an unwarranted privilege of substantial value to his friend's daughter that was not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Inostroza, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and conditions agreed to by Inostroza:
(1) that Inostroza pay to the Commission the sum of $2,000 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A as noted above; and
(2) that Inostroza waive all rights to contest the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement in this or any other related administrative or judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a party.
Date Issued: July 10, 2007
 General laws c. 269, s. 10.
End Of Decision