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Sheriff’s deputy arrested for misconduct in murder case

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Firm News

A sheriff’s deputy for a Florida county is facing several criminal charges that boil down to an alleged abuse of his position.

According to news reports, the deputy allegedly used his access to police records to look up information about a murder case in a neighboring Central Florida county.

He then allegedly attempted to contact an investigator involved in the murder case under false pretenses. According to reports, the deputy is a friend of the murder victim’s husband and passed on information about both the murder investigation and the officials involved to his friend.

To be clear, neither the murder victim’s husband nor the deputy is currently suspected of having any involvement in the murder.

Still, the charges the deputy faces are serious. They can lead to the deputy having a felony conviction on his record. He may also face fines and several years in prison.

Even if he is spared these consequences, his career as a public servant is likely over if he gets convicted. The deputy already has been suspended from his job without pay while his criminal case moves forward.

Government officials accused of misconduct need to know their legal options

Being a police officer or, for that matter, anyone in authority comes with a lot of public scrutiny.

It is therefore relatively easy to be accused of white collar charges related to an alleged abuse of power. In some situations, government officials are subject to criminal penalties for behavior that private citizens can do freely.

Furthermore, there are political reasons, including a desire to look fair and consistent, that could lead to a public official facing harsher treatment in the justice system.

Moreover, there is a sense that an authority figure’s error of judgment is still a breach of public trust that requires severe consequences.  Because of this stigma, it is possible for a public official to get accused of criminal behavior for what really was no more than a human mistake.

In other situations, it may be better for an accused official to admit their responsibility and move on, but they still should be punished fairly.  Often, official misconduct cases arise because someone was trying to do a favor not for financial gain but because they sincerely care about someone else.

No matter the circumstances, those in authority who face job-related criminal allegations need to know their legal rights and possible options.