Allegations that Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan improperly intervened two months ago to release the arrested son of a prominent lawyer and former politician before a bail hearing have been dismissed by the Ethics Commission, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman confirmed yesterday.
"The chief has received a favorable ruling from the commission, and he is pleased with their decision," said Sgt. Thomas O'Connor, a department spokesman.
Shanahan considers the matter closed, O'Connor said.
The chief declined to make public the commission's letter to him that detailed its findings. The commission's investigative process is confidential, and it releases only findings of ethical violations.
The chief came under criticism two months ago from some police officers and county officials when he decided to release Lt. Patrick Gilligan of the county Fire Department, who was arrested Aug. 23 after being accused of trying to break into an elderly Pasadena woman's home.
Gilligan, a 17-year county employee, was released before investigating officers had completed the paperwork to file burglary charges and bring him before a District Court commissioner for a bail hearing.
An anonymous group of county police officers brought the matter to the Ethics Commission in a letter that called the chief's intervention "unethical."
It was Gilligan's third arrest in connection with incidents linked to alcohol. In each case, he was released without a bail hearing before a District Court commissioner, which is routine in most cases.
Gilligan, 38, is the son of prominent lawyer and former County Council member Michael F. Gilligan, who represented the chief's 21-year-old son earlier this year after the son was charged with disorderly conduct by Annapolis police, court records show.
The chief said he had intervened so that Patrick Gilligan, placed in his father's care, could obtain an immediate medical evaluation and alcohol treatment. It was in the best interest of younger Gilligan and county residents, he said at the time.
Shanahan has maintained that he had a professional relationship with the elder Gilligan when he was councilman in the 1980s and was not doing him a favor by approving the son's release for alcohol treatment.