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Worst of the Month — February

So for February, we’ve selected Pima County, Arizona for the conduct of (the now former) Sheriff Christopher Radtke and the very peculiar leniency shown to him by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Federal prosecutors charged Radtke with several felonies for money laundering and theft.  According to the newspaper accounts, Radtke admitted that for years he made it appear as if his office was donating seized cash and assets from criminal suspects to a sheriff’s auxiliary fund when that wasn’t the case at all.

Ordinary citizens go to prison for embezzlement, but not Radtke.  No prison time and a very generous pension.

Here’s an excerpt from one report:

The plea bargain dismisses all felonies, with Radtke admitting to three misdemeanor theft counts. He agreed to not seek employment as a law-enforcement officer or with Pima County government. In return, prosecutors will request one year of probation without incarceration and will not prosecute Radtke for other offenses.

The deal allows Radtke to receive an $82,800 annual pension from the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and a one-time $505,000 payment from the system’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan, according to the retirement system’s records. Within six years, Radtke will receive more than $1 million in state retirement benefits.

Had Radtke been convicted of any of the felony charges against him, he would have been required by law to forfeit his state pension because the crime was committed in the course of his role as a public official for a government employer.

The plea was accepted by Magistrate Judge Eric Markovich. Sentencing is scheduled for April 7 in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

Remarkable.

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