A Hennepin County judge has tossed a criminal complaint accusing a City Hall veteran of records misuse, agreeing with the defense that the charges were overly vague.
The announcement is a hiccup in the case against Tom Deegan, a 37-year city employee who was the visible head of housing inspections when charges were filed against him last September. The judge, Laurie Miller, said in her order that the prosecution has seven days to file an amended complaint.
The St. Paul City Attorney's office, who is handling the case because of potential conflicts of interest, claimed in their initial complaint that Deegan had repeatedly accessed drivers license records without an authorized purpose over the span of several years.
The drivers license database, which contains photographs, addresses and driving records on Minnesotans with a license, is protected by state and federal law against unauthorized use.
Deegan's attorney said they could not adequately prepare a defense because the prosecution did not provide the dates and times of alleged misuse. Deegan did, after all, have authorized work reasons to make DVS queries.
"By simply alleging that Defendant made unauthorized inquiries over this time period...the complaint is too vague as to date and time to put Defendant on sufficient notice of the charges made against him, and to allow him to prepare a defense," Miller wrote.
Deegan's attorney had also argued that his client was being selectively prosecuted, since more than 40 city employees had acted similarly. Miller wrote that they had not sufficiently proved this point, however.