Richard McCormick has done a terrific service to the Sheriff’s office by demonstrating how utterly incorruptible the deputies are. On March 27th, Mr. McCormick, having been picked up on a misdemeanor offense, while out on bail for another felony, and was being transported to jail, tried to bribe the deputy into letting him go. The sterling deputy, who was not named in the court proceedings, refused the bribe, and instead charged McCormick with a violation of Penal Code 67, bribery of an executive officer.
Deputy DA Luke Oakley probably didn’t see McCormick’s act as a public service. Mr. Oakley more than likely considers all law enforcement officers above the tawdry plain of temptation to filthy lucre, beyond reproach, and in no need of vindication. By the same token – the reverse of the coin – McCormick himself more than likely considered all police officers pitifully susceptible to pecuniary remuneration, eager to abandon their principles, pensions and careers for a few sordid Franklins – an expense a meth-dealer like McCormick could easily afford.
McCormick could afford to bribe a cop, even though he’d posted a hefty bail, but still -– and this always puzzles me –- he was given a free lawyer, Patricia Littlefield, the Alternate Public Defender.
Ms. Littlefield said, “This is a sad case, your honor. Mr. McCormick has spiraled down the methamphetamine [inaudible]”… the court reporter couldn’t hear what Littlefield was saying, and neither could I, as she seemed to be like Glumdalclitch talking to Gulliver on the defense table, until Judge John Behnke asked her to speak up, and then in her barely audible murmur she resumed, “But now he’s desperate for treatment.”
It seems like a pretty common symptom of meth addiction that the only time anyone admits they have a problem with the stuff is when they’re about to get sent to prison for it – not for taking meth, which is only a misdemeanor – but for selling it and, more importantly, the violence and vandalism that resulted from McCormick’s “personal use” of meth.
Mr. McCormick’s father was present in the courtroom, there was mention of his mother, his wife, his children “and,” Littlefield said, “I think he realizes [inaudible] about his past conduct, and I’ll submit it on that.”
A stipulated sentence, with no prison at the outset, had been worked out between Ms. Littlefield and Mr. Oakley. McCormick had applied to the Salvation Army rehab facility in San Francisco which he would go to after a “suitable” amount of time in jail for his many cases which included a burglary, felony vandalism, domestic violence, and possession of meth for sale. He would have to pay $3700 in restitution to Mark Gomolicke and stay completely away from both Mr. Gomolicke and Samantha Hill.
Deputy DA Oakley wanted 180 days in jail, as was recommended by probation, and Ms. Littlefield wanted the jail time reduced to 90 days. Judge Behnke took a few minutes to review the facts of the cases – there had been no prelim, because McCormick waived his prelim and pled to the charges a few weeks ago, and at that time Oakley had read what’s called “a factual basis” for the plea, saying that McCormick had tried to bribe the deputy.
Judge Behnke noted that if he followed Probation’s recommendation McCormick would have only 42 more “actual” days to serve in custody, because he had credit for time served to make up the rest, before being released into the rehab facility, where he could do the rest of his time day-for-day.
“Mr. McCormick has had a recent wave of criminal activity,” Behnke said, “having picked up two more felonies when he already had a substantial criminal history; he has relapsed many times before, and may do so again; he’s violated his probation numerous times; and because there should be something more than rehab when a defendant commits numerous crimes, I’m going to impose the aggravated term of six years for bribing an executive officer, with the execution of sentence [EOS] suspended for 60 months; he will get zero days credit and have to serve 90 more actual days in custody, starting from today.”
The terms of the five-year probation were read. It included staying away from alcohol and drugs, submitting to testing, electronic monitoring, registering as a drug trafficker, fines and fees galore.
Behnke: “When did you last work?”
McCormick: “Not since 2014.”
Behnke: “Where did you work?”
McCormick: “At Crush [restaurant].”
Behnke: “I thought you worked as a tree faller?”
McCormick: “It was under the table.”
Behnke: “Didn’t you also work at Round Table?”
Behnke: “So you were spending several hundred dollars a month on drugs?”
Behnke: “I’ll find that the defendant is unable to pay the $712 presentencing report and the $649 per month testing and supervision fee, but I will apply the $175 attorney fee, and I’m going to graft on here the 52-week domestic batterer’s program [anger management].
For the felony vandalism Behnke imposed and suspended one-third of the mid-term, which came to another eight months. There was a $300 victim’s restitution fund fine – and another $300, should the defendant violate probation – the standard $30 court fee and $40 conviction fee, for each case, including the felony failure to appear case, which garnered another eight months; then it went up to eight years and four months when the meth for sale and some misdemeanors were added on – all of which was suspended for the five year probationary period.
McCormick’s sentencing was not unusual. Similar arrangements are made day-in and day-out at the courthouse. This one was noteworthy only because this is the first time we’ve seen anyone attempt to bribe a deputy, and while the result will scarcely change the ingrained opinions of most lawbreakers that all cops are venal crooks, it will at least vindicate those of who consider the police incorruptible, and give the undecided among us a shiny example of how at least one “Executive Officer” was shown to withstand temptation.