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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ex-Drug Cop's 25-Year Sentence Among Longest for Local Cops

Ex-drug cop's 25-year sentence among longest for local police
Indy.Com by Jon Murray - September 24, 2009

A disgraced ex-detective’s police-officer status will be among the considerations when federal authorities decide where he will serve a 25-year prison sentence. The sentence handed down Wednesday to Robert B. Long, portrayed by federal prosecutors as the leader of the worst Indianapolis police corruption scandal in years, is among the most severe meted out to local officers. The penalty far exceeds the 10 years given in July to James D. Davis, a patrolman who pleaded guilty and testified against Long and his ex-partner, Jason Edwards. Long and Edwards were convicted in June of conspiracy and drug counts but acquitted on firearms charges. Edwards is set for sentencing Tuesday. The three took part in six incidents involving thefts of drugs and money under surveillance by the FBI and state authorities from March to June 2008. Where Long, 36, serves his sentence will be determined by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which has one Indiana facility, in Terre Haute. The bureau generally considers former police officers among those needing extra protection from other inmates. “I know it goes into the decision,” said Ralph Staples, one of Long’s attorneys. A bureau spokesman could not be reached Wednesday. Davis now is at the Administrative Maximum facility in Florence, Colo., according to the bureau’s Web site. Unlike state prisons where inmates can cut sentences in half or more through credit for good behavior, federal convicts typically serve about 85 percent of their sentences. Long said little to U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney Wednesday and expressed no remorse. He plans to appeal. Before handing down the sentence, the judge said Long had betrayed the integrity exhibited by other officers invited to serve in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s elite, citywide Dangerous Drugs Section. McKinney cited Long’s direction of many of the incidents as the strongest factor in his sentence, which exceeded advisory guidelines by about five years. The judge added three years on supervised release and a $5,000 fine. Prosecutors asked for a maximum 40-year prison sentence for Long. They plan to request 25 years for Edwards, according to a court filing. The officers’ indictment included a $20,000 shakedown of a drug courier, an intercepted package containing marijuana and a videotaped theft of marijuana and cash from a supposed drug house, planted there by the FBI. Since the officers’ arrests, Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said, Marion County prosecutors have dismissed 26 pending major-felony cases in which Long or Edwards had served as prosecution witnesses. Other arrests of officers have hit Indianapolis police over the past two years, with at least two sentenced to community corrections programs but none to prison. One who could still face prison is Jason S. Barber, another narcotics detective who has two pending cases. He faces charges in Marion County of selling a handgun to a convicted felon last year and is charged in Hancock County with felony battery in connection with an April assault. Myron A. Powell is serving the longest sentence handed down to an Indianapolis police officer in recent years. Powell, a former stepfather to Davis, is serving 65 years in state prison for his role in the 1997 killing of a drug dealer.

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