Federal Judge Sam A. Lindsay Sick and Tired of Bad Cops Getting Cushy Sentences: Orders Former Mesquite Narc Officer to 15 Months in Fed Pen for Taking $2000
Some Dallas locals may remember Sam Lindsay from his days serving as Dallas City Attorney (1992-1998); however, for many years now, he’s been Judge Sam A. Lindsay of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, presiding over a federal trial bench.
And last week, Judge Sam A. Lindsay got fed up with police officers getting preferential treatment in sentencing – and he officially said so, announcing his frustration from the bench and in the public record as he sentenced a defendant who had served 22 years on the Mesquite, Texas, police department to 1 year and 3 months in a federal pen.
FBI Sting Nabs Sticky Fingered Texas Cop
The backstory unfolds last December, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) got a tip that there was a veteran police officer on the Mesquite Police Department that was a thief: he was routinely taking money from cash taken during police searches. So, the FBI got their cameras and microphones and other fancy gizmos and started their investigation.
Now, the Mesquite cop has been caught, convicted, and sentenced by Judge Sam A. Lindsay. This came about last March, after John David McAllister got busted by the FBI after they put $100,000 into a bag, put it in a car, and then told Mr. McAllister to go get it for them, it was drug money that they wanted seized. Sure enough, video cameras were trained on the car as the Mesquite cop confiscated the bag o’cash and promptly swiped $2000 off the top, stuffing the marked bills into his pants.
It gets better. With that two grand hot in his pocket, the FBI cameras followed good old Mesquite cop John David McAllister as he roamed over to a local mall and got himself a nice watch (price tag, $480).
The Last Straw for the Federal Judge
Things quickly went from bad to worse for the caught cop. Appearing before Judge Sam A. Lindsay for sentencing, he was face to face with a federal judge who’s had enough. Despite crying onlookers, the fact that McAllister pled guilty, and an Internal Affairs review that found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Officer McAllister (who was head of their narcotics department), the bench found a 15 month sentence appropriate.
Of course, Judge Sam A. Lindsay had lots of leeway: the maximum sentence he could have legally imposed was ten years, and when you compare that with 15 months it looks like the judge was lenient. Many disagree, though. They argue that the absence of any criminal record, etc., means that McAllister should get a maximum sentence of 6 months under the federal sentencing guidelines.
That sentencing guideline argument sounds good, but it doesn’t fly. The federal bench is very powerful, and Judge Sam has the discretion to exceed that guideline if, in his opinion, circumstances warrant it.
And boy o boy, does Judge Sam A. Lindsay believe that circumstances warrant it. He’s tired of people who have sworn to uphold the law turn around and break it. He’s explained his decision here as being a deterrence — and he wants other Texas law enforcement officers to notice what has happened this week in his courtroom.
From the bench, the judge bolstered his decision by pointing to a few Dallas-area cases where police officers got caught doing bad things and ended up with probation: no jail time.
Hopefully, other Texas judges will have the courage and integrity of Judge Sam A. Lindsay to let law enforcement know that in the future, cops gone bad will go to jail in Texas. We can hope, right?
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