Two Anne Arundel County detectives convicted on charges of stealing $1,000 during a drug raid early this year were placed on probation for three years here today and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. With ruined careers and reputations as their main punishment, Circuit Court Judge Chester Goudy said, there would be little purpose in sending the officers to jail.
Sgt. John Mosely III, 38, and Det. James S. Goddard, 25, who could have been given a maximum of 58 years in prison, hugged relatives and supporters after the sentencing. Suspended without pay since they were charged, the men still face a police trial board review to determine if they broke departmental regulations. County Police Chief William S. Lindsey will then decide whether to remove them from the force.
The officers were arrested in January while investigating a phony drug deal that was set up by Maryland State Police in an effort to trap county detectives believed to be stealing drugs and money. While state police recorded their actions with a hidden video camera, the two detectives entered a room in a hotel near Baltimore-Washington International Airport without a warrant and removed $1,000 from a stack of $100 bills in a brief case, state police testified at the trial.
Defense attorneys argued during the trial that the officers took the money only to check the serial numbers, and had not intended to keep it. But after deliberating 10 hours, a jury convicted the men last month on charges of breaking and entry, theft, conspiracy and misconduct in office.
Today in court, the officers continued to maintain their innocence.
"I don't know why I'm here," Goddard told the judge. "I feel I did not do anything wrong. My job was to arrest drug dealers, and that is what I was doing. . . . Now the drug dealers have turned around and gotten me off the streets."
Goddard, who joined the force after high school, described police work as his whole life and said he does not yet know what he will do now. Since he was suspended from the police department, he said, he has been cutting lawns and helping his wife in her picture-framing business in Chester, Md.
Mosley, a 17-year veteran of the county force, said he has found work with a contractor near his home in Wye Mills, Md., on the Eastern Shore. He has had so many visitors to his home offering support, he said, that "my social life has picked up 10,000 percent. . . .It's a nice feeling."
After the sentencing, Mosley's wife, Ursula, described her husband as a "fighter" who will survive the termination of his police career.
Dozens of supporters, most of them police officers, crowded the courtroom for the sentencing, and breathed a collective sigh of relief when their colleagues were not given jail terms. "All right!" called out one officer as spectators left the courtroom.
Assistant Maryland Attorney General Dale Kelberman, who prosecuted the two officers, had argued that jail sentences should be imposed. While there would be problems placing the men in local or state prisons among people they have arrested, he said, space could be found in federal prisons elsewhere. He told the judge that the officers should receive a "substantial" sentence for exploiting positions of trust.
But Goudy told the men that they already "have been greatly punished. I know that you . . . will probably lose your jobs. Few occcupations demand so much and punish so severely."
Goudy said he has great respect for narcotics officers, and noted they must deal with criminals who have money and life styles the officers "can never hope to match. . . . I suppose the temptation is extreme."
He gave them each a one-year suspended sentence and three years of probation for each charge, as well as 100 hours of community service, but ordered that the sentences run concurrently.