Federal judge dismisses suit by former New Paltz School Board president against police

Don Kerr (file photo by Lauren Thomas)

A federal lawsuit brought against town and federal law enforcement agents by former New Paltz School Board president Don Kerr has been dismissed. Kerr brought the suit after a case against him for allegedly signing for a mailed package containing eight pounds of marijuana was dropped. News of his arrest ran in papers around the country, and he immediately resigned as a trustee of the school board, of which he had been president.

Kerr kicked off his legal action with a press conference in 2013. “It is impossible to exaggerate the damage that was done by this false and reckless arrest — damage to my reputation, damage to my family, loss of my elected office and losses at my New Paltz-based business,” he said at the time. Named as defendants were Police Chief Joseph Snyder, Lieutenant Robert Lucchesi (who was detective sergeant at that time), and two U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents. Federal appeals court judges declined to hear the case against the postal inspectors at all, and in this ruling affirmed that Kerr’s due process rights had not been violated.

Reached for comment, Kerr provided a written statement which reads: “When I have a bad day at work, someone misses their interview. When law enforcement has a bad day at work, the results can blow up a life. The suit was never about ‘winning.’ It was about standing up for a reputation that had been wrongly and needlessly defiled in the most public manner. All involved have been polite and professional regarding the legal process, and that is truly appreciated. I consider the matter closed.”