Posted: Mar 14, 2012 12:38 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Mar 14, 2012 5:27 PM
BATON ROUGE-- Former Port Allen Police Chief Fred Smith will serve seven and a half years in a federal prison for exchanging his official position as chief for bribes.
"Utterly unforgivable" and "shameful" is how Judge Brian A. Jackson described Smith's actions, calling him a greedy person who failed to keep his pledge to uphold the laws and protect citizens.
"I'd like to say I'm sorry to the citizens of Port Allen and my family," Smith told the judge, adding it was "poor judgement on my part."
Jackson told Smith he could have served 14 years in federal prison, but he was lenient on Smith for several reasons: Smith just lost a son in a car accident, he has no prior criminal history, has a wife who was in court with him every day, and does not appear to be a threat to the community.
But Jackson was not lenient with words, telling Smith "You've compromised yourself. You've done it for nothing, foolishly... How you found yourself in this position, I'll never know."
"I just wanna be able to get back to my family and move on with my life, Judge," Smith said, before he tried to explain away some of the bribes he was convicted of.
Smith said he never intended to give bullet proof vests and guns to undercover FBI agents posing as corrupt businessmen, even though he promised them.
"They were never handed over," Smith said.
Prosecutor Corey Amundson called Smith's statements "continuing complete lack of understanding of what he did and responsibility for what he did," adding "It's actions like the actions of this defendant that completely undermine" the faith and trust of the community.
"It's all about Fred Smith. It's not about the citizens. It's not about doing what's right. It's not about law enforcement," Amundson said.
Smith's total sentence was 12 years, but he will not serve all of that. Five of those years run concurrent with the first seven and a half, meaning Smith will serve those years during his first years in jail. Smith could get out of jail after a little more than six years, if he is considered to have "good behavior" in prison.
Smith was also ordered to pay $18,000 in fines, plus nearly $19,000 the government said he earned by his dishonest behavior.
The Judge did not decide which prison Smith will report to. Smith must report to prison April 16.