It appears that carrying 20 bags of heroin into a city courthouse is not a firable offense in New York City. In a ruling released yesterday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez found that Damian Esteban, found with 20 bags of heroin when he reported for jury duty last October, must be allowed to keep his job at Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design, overturning the Department of Education’s original firing.
When Esteban reported for jury during on October 17 of last year, heroin was found in a cigarette pack he was carrying. He was charged with misdemeanor drug possession, but the charges were dropped six months ago on the condition he stay out of trouble and attend a substance abuse program.
Esteban claims he began using heroin because of pain from an old ankle injury, according to the New York Post.
Judge Mendez overturned the Department of Education’s firing of Esteban on the basis that “no evidence that the conduct with which [Esteban] was charged affects his performance as a teacher,” according to the ruling, despite an arbitrator’s earlier finding that it was possible Esteban had brought the heroin into the schoolhouse.
Esteban, 34, taught Global Studies to high school students. He describes himself on his personal website as a “scholar of Islamic Studies, Educator and all-around computer geek.”
Indeed, Esteban has a master’s degree in Islamic Studies from McGill University, for which he wrote a 95-page study of one of the world’s first recorded attempts at a book of world history and political theory, written in 1377, entitled “Religion and the State in Ibn Khaldiin’s Muqaddimah“.
A copy of the study is below, as is the ruling from Judge Mendez.
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