Judge OKs some claims in case of cop who admitted killing ex

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed some claims but allowed others to go forward in the case of a former police officer with a history of domestic violence who admitted killing his ex-wife in front of their 7-year-old daughter.

In the lawsuit filed in 2017, the family of Tamara Wilson-Seidle alleged that the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office and individual prosecutors should be liable for not disciplining Philip Seidle and for returning his service weapon to him despite his history of domestic violence and excessive force complaints. The suit also named the Neptune police department, which employed Seidle.

Authorities said Seidle chased a car driven by his ex-wife, forcing her to crash before he got out of his own vehicle and fired 12 shots at her. He pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Some of the couple's nine children gave statements at Seidle's sentencing, recounting years of domestic violence.

In a ruling published Saturday, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp dismissed a claim that the prosecutor's office and individual prosecutors had disciplinary authority over Seidle. But he rejected the prosecutors' argument that they were immune from liability for authorizing the return of Seidle's service weapon to him after it had been taken away, which the family claims happened on two occasions prior to the killing.

Shipp also declined to dismiss a claim that, by returning Seidle's weapon, prosecutors created a danger to Wilson-Seidle.

“The family is pleased to put this part of the case behind them and move ahead with substantive litigation,” said Shelley Stangler, an attorney representing the family.

The attorney general's office, which is representing the county prosecutor's office, declined comment Tuesday.