U.S. District Court Chief Judge William Smith appears to be soft on cops with his recent sentencing of former officer Evan Speck Wednesday. Speck pleaded guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution. The 34-year-old cop was facing three criminal counts including: possession with intent to distribute steroids, distribution of misbranded drugs (testosterone) and money laundering. Speck potentially could have been sentenced up to 33 years’ imprisonment and a nearly $1.3 million fine.
Judge Smith decided that an alternative sentencing was in store for the 10 year drug pusher. Rather than placing the former cop behind bars for 33 years, Judge Smith chose to give Speck 3 years probation. For the first 12 months Speck must spend weekends at the Wyatt Detention Center. When Speck is not spending weekends in the clink, he is confined to his home but he is still allowed to attend classes for his electrician’s apprenticeship program according to WPRI. The Judge did want Speck to serve 18 months of weekend jail time but the law caps weekend jail time at 12 months. In total, Speck will have only spent 4 months behind bars. A far cry from the 33 years imprisonment he was facing.
Smith’s alternative sentencing didn’t stop there. The judge also ordered Speck to take out an ad in the local newspaper, the Westerly Sun, and apologized to the community for his actions. He also ordered Speck to write letters of apology to his colleagues in the Charlestown Police Department and do 1,000 hours of community service. He also has to pay back forfeiture of $536,000 he incurred from his illegal business. The community service must be completed by the time his probation ends.
Speck, who was a patrolman on the Charlestown PD force for 11 years, abruptly resigned after his Westerly home was raided by federal agents in March. Speck was out of state at that time.
During the raid, agents seized a quantity of steroids equivalent to 79 kilos of marijuana, a Glock handgun, a Colt tactical rifle and a Kimber pistol. Speck agreed to forfeit the guns and $536,000.
The judge admitted that his sentencing was unorthodox but he felt that it addressed what was brought before him by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and Speck’s defense attorney, Michael Lepizerra.
Speck wrote a six page letter apologizing to the court, to the community, to his brothers in law enforcement, his family and his girlfriend. Speck told the judge, “There is no excuse for what I’ve done and I’m prepared to take full responsibility. I’m asking for your leniency you honor, I’m a good person that has made a terrible mistake.”
Raymond Speck, the former officer’s father, told reporters “I think the judge was very fair. If you have to give him a jail sentence, that’s a fair way to do it — you’re not holding his life back.”
The father places the blame for his son’s actions on the police department. According to the father, the department was unable to fire his son so in place of termination, suspended him numerous time hurting him financially. Not being able to work and find work elsewhere made it difficult for Speck to pay his bills. “They were trying to starve him, bankrupt him,” Raymond Speck said.
“We’ve always stuck together,” said Speck’s mother Debra Speck as she hugged other members of the family. “We always do and we always will,” added Raymond Speck.