A suspended Atlantic County sheriff’s officer can have a few hours to see his dying father, but must otherwise remain jailed, a judge ruled Friday.
Daniel Ginsburg, 44, of Galloway Township, was arrested April, after he allegedly sent threatening text messages to his girlfriend as he drove around with guns in his trunk, threatening to kill her and any officers who came after him.
Ginsburg was arrested with two Glock semi-automatic handguns in his trunk, according to the complaint.
But Ginsburg’s attorney, Steve Scheffler, said Friday that the incident was the result of an addict relapsing after decades clean.
Scheffler made a motion to reopen Ginsburg’s detention hearing, which previously ordered him held pending trial.
Instead, Scheffler hoped to have Ginsburg moved to a rehab center, where he had the promise of a bed for as long as 18 months.
Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury denied that request. But he will allow Ginsburg out for several hours to see his father, who has been sick and possibly has only days to live, Scheffler said.
Ginsburg, who appeared via video from Cape May County jail, wiped away tears several times during the hearing.
His girlfriend never got a permanent restraining order, and is not in fear of him, Scheffler said as she nodded from the audience.
She, too, attributed the incident to a fall from sobriety.
The text messages even begged her not to call police because he knew he needed help, Scheffler said.
But that wasn’t exactly it, Assistant Prosecutor Erika Halayko countered, reading from the complaint.
“What the defendant did say is, ‘I will kill you,’” she said, reading the texts.
He then warned her not to file a temporary restraining order that would mean he couldn’t “go to my department and get the help I need.”
“(If) I’m arrested , I will (expletive) murder you,” Halayko read. “I’m going to get guns now. I’ll kill every officer that shows up.”
The state was unsuccessful in having Scheffler removed from the case, saying there was conflict since his brother is Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler and a sheriff’s officer will be called to testify to chain of custody for the gun.
He said the Sheriff’s Department had nothing to do with the investigation, and only took the gun from the Galloway Township police.
“The court would have to believe I would commit some ethical violation or my brother would commit a crime by helping me,” he said.
Scheffler noted he took a case that many police officers were adverse to several years ago. While he did not mention the client by name, it was Connor Castellani, who needed dozens of stitches after an Atlantic City Police Department K-9 dog and five officers arrested him in an incident that was captured on surveillance video.
Erik Scheffler, a sergeant in the department at the time, never even mentioned the case to him, Scheffler said.
DeLury agreed there was no conflict.