Woman sues over 'Wall of Shame' post

September 12, 2008 8:30:48 PM PDT
A woman on Long Island is suing Nassau County and the Village of Hempstead for libel and defamation after she says she was wrongly accused of DWI and had her face plastered on the county's "Wall of Shame" Web site.Forty-nine-year-old Andrea Sangermano spent Memorial Day weekend in handcuffs, and then behind bars. On Friday, with tears in her eyes, her attorneys announced the lawsuit.

"I've been afraid to even go out," she said. "I haven't gone out but to go to the store."

Police pulled Sangermano over for driving erratically and crossing the double line on Franklin Avenue in Hempstead. She even hit the sidewalk and crashed into two cars. Sangermano passed a sobriety test, but with slurred speech and shaky conditions, she was arrested with probable cause for DWI. She says it was a seizure.

"I did nothing wrong," she said. "I asked for help from the first time I was aware of it. They denied it."

Nassau County officials then posted her mug shot on its wall of shame, a concept unveiled in July aimed at showcasing accused drunk drivers to intimidate people from drinking and driving.

Sangermano's photo stayed up for two months, until Thursday, when a judge determined she did have a seizure and was drug and alcohol free.

"Going through that experience itself is hard enough, and then to have your name on the wall of shame, it's very bad," Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi said. "I understand that, I feel bad for her and I apologize to her."

Suozzi says police had probable cause for her arrest. And once that happens, the information is fair game. He says the county's wall of shame will stay in place.


STORY BY: Long Island reporter Emily Smith


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