Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Deputy Chuck Metcalf Will Spend 12 Weekends in Jail for Perjury

Richland County sheriff's deputy Chuck Metcalf will have to spend 12 weekends in jail as punishment for lying in support of the 2005 ill-fated Mansfield drug investigation involving DEA Agent Lee Lucas.

Lucas was acquitted earlier this month of 18 charges, including perjury and obstruction of justice, related to the investigation.

U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver, who presided over the Lucas trial, said he would have punished Metcalf to the fullest extent if not for his willingness to assist prosecutors, which included testifying at Lucas' trial. The misdemeanor conviction could have resulted in one year in prison.

"It's a sad case, your case, to me," Oliver told Metcalf, "because you were bound to uphold the law and we all count on law enforcement officials to do that."

Last year, Metcalf admitted lying during the 2006 trial of Dwayne Nabors, who was one of 17 people framed through a series of drug deals orchestrated by paid informant Jerrell Bray. Lucas supervised Bray during the investigation.

Metcalf testified during the Nabors' trial that police had not videotaped a portion of the purported drug deal, even though Metcalf knew a videotape had been made. Metcalf also claimed he and Lucas were in a position to identify Nabors knowing that also was not true.

In a memorandum filed with the court, Metcalf said he lied at the Nabors' trial to match his testimony with a report written by Lucas.

Lucas took the stand during his trial and denied making up testimony.

Prosecutors asked Oliver to show leniency because of Metcalf's cooperation. Richland County Sheriff Steve Sheldon and Richland County Prosecutor James Mayer spoke on behalf of Metcalf at his sentencing.

Metcalf asked for probation, citing a spotless record.

"His record in these investigations was perfect until he became involved with Special Agent Lee Lucas of the DEA," Metcalf's lawyer wrote in a memorandum filed with the court.

Metcalf argued that even though he lied Nabors trial, his testimony did not result in a drug trafficking conviction. Nabors was acquitted of a conspiracy charge while the jury was hung on a distribution charge. He was found guilty on a gun charge stemming from the search of his home.

Metcalf also argued that he is the only person facing punishment for the failures of the investigation, even though he was outranked on the team by both Lucas and Richland County Sheriff's Captain Larry Faith.

Detective Jim MacNeil Found Guilty

A disgraced former Edmonton police detective found guilty of obstruction of justice for tampering in his son’s drunk-driving case has avoided being put behind bars.

Jim MacNeil, 51, was given a four-month conditional sentence to be served in the community on Tuesday.

Judge Doreen Sulyma told a packed courtroom MacNeil had “compromised the administration of justice” and said he had a “higher level of blameworthiness” as a result of being a senior officer.

“It was done for a family member. There was no need for this,” she said.

“He could have assisted his son legally. Instead, he chose to hold himself above the rule of law.”

Sulyma also criticized the former detective for trying to put the blame on another office.

She said the falsely blamed officer wrote in a victim impact statement that she her professional reputation had been negatively affected.

Sulyma said mitigating factors were that MacNeil had no prior criminal record; boasted a long, successful career with the Edmonton Police Service; and volunteered in the community.

MacNeil was ordered to take any courses directed by his probation officer and he must abide by a daily 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for the first month of the sentence.

At the time of MacNeil’s Dec. 1 conviction, Sulyma said she didn’t believe his testimony and ruled he had used his position as a police officer to “improperly” access police information to try to “protect” his son.

“From the beginning, he was using his position for the sole goal of helping his son,” said Sulyma.

She also ruled the actions of the 26-year veteran, who had then been suspended without pay, marked a “serious and marked departure” from the standards of a public officer.

“The actions of the accused were indeed partial and he used his office for a purpose other than the public good.”

According to an agreed statement of facts in the case, Chad MacNeil was arrested for impaired driving by Const. Eleanor McEvoy and Const. Greg Kitura on Feb. 10, 2005.

After MacNeil tried to get a copy of his son’s file on Feb. 17, 2005, police began an internal investigation.

According to the agreed facts, MacNeil admitted he sent a fax to the Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch on Feb. 22, 2005, requesting his son’s suspension be canceled.

MacNeil also admitted he sent a memo to the Edmonton Police Service's case management unit requesting the suspension be canceled; and accessed CPIC, the national police computer system, to run inquiries concerning his son.

On Nov. 19, MacNeil took the stand in his own defense and admitted to impersonating his son on the phone.

Sgt David Schauwecker Being Investigated for Child Porn

The Rutland police officer at the center of a Vermont State Police child pornography investigation is Sgt. David Schauwecker, according to a Rutland Herald report.

No one has been charged in the case. The Vermont State Police disclosed last week that they do not have sufficient evidence to prove the child pornography found on a laptop computer was downloaded intentionally by the officer involved.

The Herald said it determined Schauwecker was the officer based on a review of city payroll records that showed Schauwecker was the only Rutland police officer to receive administrative leave pay for the week ending Feb. 6.

Rutland Police Chief Anthony Bossi said last week that the officer who was the subject of the investigation was placed on administrative leave during that week. He was unavailable for comment Monday.

The name of the officer involved was redacted from a court affidavit connected to a search warrant; the documents were unsealed last week by Judge Thomas Zonay at the request of the Herald.

Zonay had intended to released unredacted versions of the paperwork Friday, but an attorney for the officer blocked the release by appealing Zonay's decision to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Corrections Officer Marco Villacris Arrested for Possession of Heroin

A city corrections officer found himself on the other side of the law when he was busted for driving around Queens with eight ounces of heroin, officials said today.

Cops spotted Marco Villacris, 46, running a red light at Junction Boulevard and 41st Avenue around 3:40 p.m. Monday, authorities said.

When he was pulled over a couple blocks later, the officer noticed an open plastic bag in the backseat and the strong odor of heroin in Villacris’ 2001 tan Chevy Minivan.

Narcotics test confirmed it was heroin, authorities said.

Villacris was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and two traffic infractions, a spokesman for Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Villacris joined the Department of Corrections in Aug. 2008 and was a guard at the Anna M. Kross center on Rikers Island and will be terminated, said a department spokesman.

Also arrested was Villacris’ passenger, Johnny Gonzalez, 42, who presented a drivers license with the name Luis Romero. Gonzalez also allegedly stashed seven other fake IDs in the car’s glove compartment.