A former NYPD Officer who worked as an investigator for defense lawyers has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to pay a police sergeant for gaining access to a restricted law enforcement database which contained information about witnesses in cases that the former officer was working on.
In nearly a dozen cases in which the former officer, Joseph P. Dwyer, 47, was retained by the defense, the sergeant, Ronald G. Buell, tapped into the database to obtain the information, prosecutors said.
Mr. Dwyer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, for which he could receive up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on May 20 by Judge Alison J. Nathan of Federal District Court. The government and the defense have agreed that the applicable sentence under the advisory sentencing guidelines would be 10 to 16 months.
The unusual case highlights the role many retired police officers play in the city’s criminal justice system, as they work as private investigators and help defense lawyers investigate their clients’ cases.
The retired officers are often retained for their broad contacts and investigative skills. But they were each accused of crossing the line when the government said the former officer paid Sergeant Buell to tap into the database, which is called the National Crime Information Center and is run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.