A judge overturned New York City’s firing of a tenured public school teacher who was arrested and charged with bringing 20 small packets of heroin into a Manhattan courthouse last year.

In a decision this week, the judge, Manuel J. Mendez of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, ruled that the termination of the teacher, Damian Esteban, was “excessive and shocking to this court’s sense of fairness.”
He overturned an arbitrator’s decision allowing the city’s Education Department to fire Mr. Esteban and sent the matter back to the department with orders to impose a lesser penalty. ...

Mr. Esteban was charged with possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a misdemeanor. The charges were dismissed six months later, and the record sealed, after Mr. Esteban agreed to stay out of trouble with the law and complete a one-day substance abuse education program.
... Mr. Eisner said on Thursday that his client had been addicted to heroin, a problem that grew from when he started taking painkillers for a football injury two decades ago.