Two corrupt police officers made “a mess of the legal system” according to a judge in Kentucky’s Jefferson County. Metro Narcotics officers Mark Watson and Christie Richardson were charged with hundreds of offenses occurring over a one-year period. Over 50 people have had charges or convictions overturned due to the police corruption, with more cases being reviewed.
Watson pleaded guilty to 299 felony counts, including burglary, theft, and using photocopied judges’ signatures to create bogus warrants. He is now serving a 20-year sentence, and testified against Richardson as part of his plea agreement.
Richardson faced 284 charges, and was convicted in February on 20 felony charges ? 19 of tampering with public records and one of criminal possession of a forged instrument. The jury also found her guilty of official misconduct.
Richardson’s conviction mostly related to theft of money intended for informants and claims for overtime that wasn’t worked. Prosecutors asked for 10 years in prison, but she received only five years probation and a $2500 fine.
Judge Mershon justified his light sentence by saying that because she was a police officer, Richardson had already been punished “a lot more than any normal person.” Even though Richardson maintained that she had done nothing wrong, Mershon sympathized with her, saying “This is all she thinks about when she wakes up. This is all she thinks about when she goes to bed. She’s on the news continuously. She’s been punished quite a bit.”