What's the proper way to sentence law enforcement officers who commit a crime? On the one hand, they've done so much good, and have such a clean record, that they seem to deserve a break. Then again, they have abused the trust of their employer, or employers, and given a bad name to police officers in general.
Should they be given a "get out of jail free card" for their past good deeds, or be held to a higher and harsher standard for breaking the public trust?
Jeffry Paul Quinton, 47, a 21-year-veteran of the LAPD who moonlighted on the security staff at a Laguna Beach luxury resoirt, certainly seems to have caught a break, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Prosecutors had evidence of Quinton tampering with the lost and found system, stealing money out of the hotel safe, and stealing $290 worth of bedding from a locked storage closet.
His attorney brilliantly labeled it a "bad mistake in judgment."
That's true. It's usually a bad decision to rob your employer. That's doubly true when you're a law enforcement officer. It's triply true when your employer is a luxury resort with the resources to put up hidden surveillance cameras intended to catch their security staff stealing.
Quinton was charged with grand theft and commercial burglary. Had he lost at trial, the maximum sentence would have been three years and eight months. Instead, he'll only serve 120 days in jail, plus three years of probation. According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Quinton is petitioning to serve his time under home confinement and will have to pay restitution for what he stole.
If he completes the terms of his sentence successfully, he can petition to have the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors. He'd presumably then be able to have those expunged and walk away with a semi-clean record.
The prosecutor was pushing for more than a year, as Quinton "abused a position of trust" and "as a policeman, he should be held to a higher standard ..."
Too bad Judge Robert Fitzgerald didn't agree.
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