3/7/2014 9:23:00 AM,
Jeff D. Gorman
(CN) - The Illinois State Police properly fired an agent who sabotaged her ex's romantic getaway by committing identity theft and other misconduct, an appeals court ruled.
Cynthia Robbins began working for the Illinois State Police as a trooper in 1999 and later became a special agent, during which time she had a 14-year, on-again, off-again relationship with retired ISP lieutenant Carlo Jiannoni.
Robbins had become concerned during one "off" period in November 2006 when Jiannoni stopped returning her calls. She later learned that Jiannoni had gone to Afghanistan and that he was seeing another woman.
Robbins said she began drinking heavily and took comfort by staying at Jiannoni's house on the weekends while he was overseas.
When the two resumed contact, Jiannoni did not object to Robbins staying in his house. Robbins' mischief did not end there, however, as she used her work computer to run searches on Jiannoni's new girlfriend, Gilda Moriconi.
Jiannoni eventually asked Robbins in a Dec. 19 email her to leave his house and drop off her keys on the counter.
She did not comply and one night went to Jiannoni's house to discover that her items had been removed and that everything in the house had been sprayed with cologne. Blaming Moriconi, Robbins called the woman more than a dozen times that night to annoy her.
The women found themselves at Jiannoni's house at the same time on Jan. 21, 2007, and a verbal spat ended with Robbins slapping Moriconi in the face.
Robbins then contacted a locksmith, drove her police car to meet him, and had the locks changed on Jiannoni's house.
Four months later, Robbins went to Jiannoni's house to confront him. After letting herself into the empty house, Robbins found a folder containing information about upcoming trip to Las Vegas Jionnoni and Moriconi were taking.
Robbins took the first page, which contained the confirmation numbers. She later called and canceled the flight. Jiannoni re-booked the trip but he had to pay hundreds of dollars for new tickets.
Later, Robbins threw Jiannoni's house and truck keys into the Sangamon River and also posed as "Gilda" to cancel his cellphone service.
In July 2007, Robbins admitted to most of this behavior in a criminal interview. A hearing officer found that she had committed eight violations of ISP rules, including identity theft, battery, criminal damage to property and telephone harassment.
The Illinois State Police Merit Board adopted the findings of the hearing officer and fired Robbins, but the Sangamon County Circuit Court overruled the decision.
Two more attempts by the Merit Board to fire Robbins ended with similar reversals.
When the board ordered a 180-day suspension the fourth time, the court accepted.
A three-judge panel Fourth District Illinois Court of Appeals found on Feb. 26, however, that Robbins must be fired.
"We find the Board's decision to discharge Robbins from employment with the ISP due to her misconduct over an eight-month period of time in which she violated ISP rules, half of which amounted to criminal misconduct, was neither arbitrary, unreasonable nor unrelated to the needs of service," Judge Carol Pope wrote for the Springfield-based court.
Pope added that "the circuit court overstepped its authority by improperly substituting its judgment for the merit board's and ordering the imposition of a sanction other than discharge."