Sentencing the indefensible

A real bad apple:

[Thomas] Pfortmiller, a 14-year police officer before he resigned in May 2004, pleaded no contest on July 15 to 17 counts of perjury, 11 counts of theft of more than $500 but less than $25,000, 11 counts of forgery and 11 counts of official misconduct. Pfortmiller, who originally was charged with 100 felonies and misdemeanors, was convicted of 50 felonies based on his plea.

Pfortmiller took $20,855 in police funds, claiming it was to go to an informant who would buy illegal drugs. The drug buys never took place, Steve Karrer, a Shawnee County assistant district attorney, said during Pfortmiller’s plea in July, but reports led to false arrest warrants being issued.

OK, this is some really horrific behavior by a police officer — particularly when it led to false arrests — destroying other people’s lives.
District Judge Eric Rosen made it clear that this was indefensible in the strongest words:

“Major cases have been dismissed, and most shocking, citizens of our community have been set up, accused and warrants issued for their arrest for crimes they did not commit,” said Rosen, comparing it to dictatorships, including the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In writing false affidavits against defendants, “your actions constitute an abuse of power of the highest degree,” Rosen said. “When a law enforcer becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law. It invites everyone to become the law unto themselves. It invites anarchy.”

So the judge threw the book at him.
The sentence?
Instead of the usual sentence of probation, the judge sentenced Pfortmiller to 16 months.
What kind of a country is this? Someone can get dozens of years in prison for consentual sales of a relatively harmless drug, but betraying the public trust and framing innocent people as part of 50 felonies gets an officer only a year and a half.
This is outrageous.
Those who are public servants must be held to higher standards. This kind of sentence is an insult to all the good officers out there.

[Thanks to Laura]
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