Two former Kern County sheriff's deputies were sentenced to probation on Monday after confessing to stealing and selling marijuana from their department’s evidence locker room. The sentencing has received much backlash as many people feel the white officers received a slap on the wrist for a crime that has led to the mass incarceration of Black men.
Although California officers Logan August and Derrick Penney were facing up to five years in prison, the two will do no time.
According to Bakersfield.com, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O'Neill was moved by the remorse of the two officers as well as their choice to confess their crimes to investigators. Throughout the trial, the officers’ wives showed support and delivered emotional testimonies, which probably factored into the sentencing as well.
"Being the wife of a law enforcement officer is not easy," the judge told Tiffany August and Callie Penney after asking both women to stand. "Being the wife of a fallen law enforcement officer is even more difficult."
O'Neill went on to acknowledge that the wives had taken "the brunt," maybe the largest share, of the suffering meted out by the acts of their husbands.
"The two of you have been incredible not to have gotten into the U-Haul and taken off," he said. "The both of you should be proud."
August and Penney admitted to stealing marijuana that was confiscated and kept in the sheriff's storage unit.
“On or about September 19, 2014, in furtherance of this conspiracy, Penney and KCSO Deputy August used their KCSO-issued keys to gain access” to the department’s marijuana storage unit, the agreements state.
The two would cut the tops off plants, place them in bags, and store the bags at Penney’s home until another person would come to retrieve and trim it into usable marijuana. Then August would take the drugs to another individual who would sell it and share the profits.
Federal prosecutors had recommended a nine-month prison term for August, who was seen as more deeply involved than Penney.
After the sentencing of the two, many people slammed the officers for receiving a lenient sentence and not speaking out on how harshly men of color are sentenced for similar crimes.
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