Former Dallas County Sheriff Brian Gilbert will not be going to prison. A judge today suspended Gilbert’s 10 year prison sentence, and ordered he serve five years of supervised probation. Gilbert was convicted by a jury of theft, for the disappearance of $120,000 seized in a drug bust.
Gilbert’s attorney, F. Montgomery Brown, says his client has already been punished through "public backlash". "He’s been criticized for everything he did or didn’t do," Brown says, "whether is was resigning or not resigning, or moving to change the venue, and even exercising his constitutional right to not testify."
Brown says, regardless of the sentence, Gilbert’s life is forever changed. "He’s basically died a death by a thousand cuts," Brown says Gilbert’s "basically been exiled" in the eyes of the press and public. Brown says sending Gilbert to prison would not deter other law enforcement officers from betraying public trust.
He says, "If other police officers haven’t learned from this, then they’re not going to be deterred anyway, so sending him to prison isn’t going to deter that kind of conduct." Brown doesn’t believe the judge’s sentence amounts to a "slap on the wrist".
Brown claims, "Sending (Gilbert) to prison isn’t necessary to send a message to others that this conduct, if the jury’s right, can’t be tolerated." Gilbert has denied taking the money and plans to pursue an appeal for a new trial.