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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Darlene Miller's DWI Conviction is Upheld By Appellate Court


Darlene Miller

Darlene Miller was arrested in 2011 for drunk driving. She was convicted of DWI, but Appealed the decision to the Second Department Appellate Division, and lost her appeal on April 15, 2021. (see the decision, below). She was removed from The Museum School in 2020 but received her full salary anyway.

For what, you say? For sitting in a rubber room. I do not believe that most DOE employees who were convicted of DWI or another criminal act would be getting their salary for 10 years after being arrested.

In 2018 I was hired to do the 3020-a cases for two teachers at the Museum School. One was a general education teacher who had been at the school for many years and was the UFT chapter leader. The other was a Special Education teacher who entered the Museum school in September 2017, and yet both teachers were charged with 3020-a in June 2018.

My point is that I was fortunate enough to spend three days with Darlene Miller, and can, therefore give you all my opinion. The first day, Miller came in looking disheveled, very similar to her picture, above. She was more or less incoherent, and we wondered whether she was drunk. On the second and third dates, she came in more put together, but still showed an arrogance that led us to conclude we were wasting her time.

Drink-driving: Principal Darlene Miller, left, pictured here with Assistant
Principal Joel Lowy, right

The AP for the school, Joel Lowy, (Miller's always-willing personal assistant) gave both teachers a Teacher Improvement Plan ("TIP") THE SAME DAY September 19, 2017 and put both teachers into the same ICT math class, so that both could compare notes (and, hire me to represent them at 3020-a, so I could compare their cases too). The TIPs of both teachers were exactly the same, with a few words added for 'special education. How ridiculous is that? Additionally, the Special Education teacher not only had entered the school two weeks prior to getting the TIP, but he had received a "N/A" rating in June 2017 from his prior school from which he had taken a sabbatical, November 2016-June 2017. The protocol for implementing a TIP for a teacher is to have a "U" or "Ineffective" rating.

Lowy gave the Special Education teacher his "new" rating of "U" (unsatisfactory) for 2016-2017 after he called the former principal of this school who told Lowy that she would have given the teacher a "U" if she had been able to do that without a formal observation due to the teacher taking a sabbatical. So, Lowy changed the rating himself, procedures be damned. Lowy then gave the "U" rating for 2016-2017 to the teacher in May 2018 along with his "Ineffective" for the 2017-2018 school year. The teacher immediately filed a Grievance, but the Office of Appeals and Reviews would not hear it because it was a year late. We called in the UFT Rep from the Manhattan office who testified that all of this was proper

 This proves that TIPs have no value except to demonize a teacher and make evaluations into worthless paper. There are no facts in observations. (Elentuck v Green). See also my article about the case of Edmund F Farrell.

 Betsy Combier

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[*1] People v Miller (Darlene) 2021 NY Slip Op 50315(U) Decided on April 15, 2021 Appellate Term, Second Department Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431. This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

Decided on April 15, 2021
2017-2245 RO CR

The People of the State of New York, Respondent,


Darlene Miller, Appellant.

Dwight D. Joyce, for appellant. Rockland County District Attorney (Amanda M. Doty of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal from a judgment of the Justice Court of the Village of South Nyack, Rockland County (Thomas Mascola, J.), rendered October 25, 2017. The judgment, after a nonjury trial, convicted defendant of driving while ability impaired, and imposed sentence.

ORDERED that the judgment of conviction is affirmed.

After a nonjury trial, defendant was convicted of driving while ability impaired (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [1]) based upon testimony and other evidence that defendant rear-ended a parked police car which had its emergency lights activated; that defendant had red and glassy eyes, and an odor of alcohol on her breath; that defendant admitted that she had consumed alcohol; and that defendant refused to submit to a breath test.

Contrary to defendant's contention, the People established at a suppression hearing that there was probable cause to arrest her for driving while intoxicated (see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [3]; People v Johnson, 140 AD3d 978, 979 [2016]; People v Kemper, 65 Misc 3d 150[A], 2019 NY Slip Op 51855[U] [App Term, 1st Dept 2019]). Furthermore, the court properly denied suppression of defendant's statements (see People v Dougal, 266 AD2d 574 [1999]; People v MacKenzie, 9 Misc 3d 129[A], 2005 NY Slip Op 51535[U], *2 [App Term, 2d Dept, 9th & 10th Jud Dists 2005]).

Defendant's contention that the evidence was legally insufficient to establish her guilt of driving while ability impaired (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [1]) is unpreserved for appellate review (see CPL 470.05 [2]; People v Hawkins, 11 NY3d 484, 492 [2008]; People v Gray, 86 [*2]NY2d 10, 19-20 [1995]). In any event, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution (see People v Contes, 60 NY2d 620, 621 [1983]), we find that the evidence was legally sufficient to establish defendant's guilt of driving while ability impaired (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [1]) beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, in fulfilling our responsibility to conduct an independent review of the weight of the evidence (see CPL 470.15 [5]; People v Danielson, 9 NY3d 342 [2007]), we accord great deference to the factfinder's opportunity to view the witnesses, hear their testimony, and observe their demeanor (see People v Lane, 7 NY3d 888, 890 [2006]; People v Mateo, 2 NY3d 383, 409 [2004]; People v Bleakley, 69 NY2d 490, 495 [1987]). Upon a review of the record, we are satisfied that the guilty verdict was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v Romero, 7 NY3d 633 [2006]).

Defendant's remaining contentions are without merit.

Accordingly, the judgment of conviction is affirmed.


Paul Kenny
Chief Clerk
Decision Date: April 15, 2021