Podcast 21: Prince George’s County Fireground Altercation Case – The Lawyer’s Edition

In this episode, Curt and attorney Brian Bregman discuss the complicated legal issues associated with disciplinary investigations where the accused firefighters are potentially subject to criminal liability – and may have a 5th Amendment Right to remain silent.

Brian represented one of two Prince George’s County volunteer firefighters who were recently acquitted of assaulting two female career firefighters at the scene of a structure fire in 2015. We discussed the facts of the case last week in Podcast 20.

In this session we go beyond the facts to consider the complex legal issues that arose, including the accused firefighter’s Garrity Rights. Can volunteer firefighters be compelled to answer questions, thereby giving up their 5th Amendment Right to remain silent? If they refuse to answer questions can they be disciplined for insubordination? The question also arose as to whether the county or the members’ volunteer fire company was legally able to compel the answers under threat of termination.

As discussed during the podcast, here is a link to the Blunier case.

 

Brian R. Bregman, Attorney and Counselor at Law

Washington, DC and Maryland, United States of America

Mr. Bregman is a very well-rounded litigator and advocate, regularly practicing law in the Federal and State Courts in Washington, DC and all parts of Maryland. He is admitted to practice before numerous international criminal tribunals, various specialized courts (including military trial and appellate courts), the United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America. His background and experience lies not only with the law, but also in the areas of forensic analysis and investigation; forensic pathology, injury, and death investigation; technology, encryption, cybersecurity, and crypto-currencies; taxation, audits, and accounting (including analysis of financial cases, fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering cases), and business structures and transactional work. This breadth of knowledge enables him to analyze cases from multiple angles and viewpoints to provide the most complete representation to his clients. He became an EMT at age 16 and has been a nationally registered paramedic for over 20 years. He has been a volunteer firefighter, EMS provider, and rescue technician in Prince George’s County for almost 25 years, a death investigator appointed by the Medical Examiner’s office for nearly a decade, worked as a firefighter/paramedic in Antarctica, and also worked in law enforcement as a reserve police officer. He travels the world for both business and pleasure, negotiating business deals and litigating cases; he has traveled to over 25 countries and set foot on every continent except Australia.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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