In a trial that was full of surprises, it should have been expected that the sentence for former Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold would also be a surprise. And it was.
After a sentencing hearing that lasted a little over two hours, the former County Executive was sentenced to 2 years in jail (all but 60 days suspended)–30 of which must be served in the jail and another 30 under house arrest. In addition, he was fined $100,000, required to perform 400 hours of community service and serve five years of probation. He is prohibited from running for any elected office until the probation is completed.
The surprise was that the prosecution was not seeking any jail time, but the judge did not adhere to their recommendation. Judge Dennis Sweeney (a Parris Glendenning appointee) said that some period of incarceration was necessary and mentioned that it appeared Leopold did not learn anything from the Sheila Dixon trial in Baltimore; one over which Sweeney also presided.
Leopold’s team of Bruce Marcus and Robert Bonsib put forward two witnesses–Jane Miller, Leopold’s longtime companion who testified that Leopold is an honest man and that he is also a broken man from this ordeal. Leopold himself also testified and stated, ”for my irresponsible failures in judgment I am truly sorry.”
Despite the many letters of support, the recommendation of the prosecution, and the testimony of Leopold and Miller, Judge Sweeney sentenced the 70-year old to serve time.
The defense requested the judge allow Leopold until Friday to report to jail in order to take care of medical needs, and Sweeney refused. Leopold, head down, was led from the courtroom in handcuffs by an Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s deputy.