NBC 10 I-Team: Prosecutors ask judge for maximum in Charlestown cop’s steroid case
Prosecutors made their point to a federal judge loud and clear: give Evan Speck the maximum sentence and send a message to the law enforcement community, documents filed in federal court on Monday show.
Speck, a former Charlestown police officer who admitted to selling steroids, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, November 29.
His attorneys are asking for a lesser sentence.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island wants Speck to receive the maximum sentence allowed under federal guidelines, saying the officer’s actions demonstrated that he believed he was above the law. but Speck’s attorneys paint a completely different picture of the former officer.
Speck, 34, who was a patrolman and former union president with the Charlestown Police Dept. for 10 years, pleaded guilty in August to distribution of steroids, distribution of a misbranded drug and money laundering.
Speck resigned from his position after federal and state agents raided his Westerly home on March 20. During that raid, agents found many items associated with the receipt, packaging and resale of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, prosecutors said. They also seized more than $17,000 in cash and a 22 Glock gun from his car.
The government asked Judge William Smith to sentence Speck at the high end of federal sentencing guidelines – nearly 5 years (57 months).
“A sentence at the high end of the Guideline range is will send the message that law enforcement officers who break the law are as deserving, if not more, of punishment compared to ordinary citizens who commit criminal acts,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan wrote in the memo. “Just punishment is a lengthy prison sentence that is necessary to punish the defendant and promote respect for the law.”
Dulce went on to say Speck’s involvement in the distribution of steroids was not a hobby – it was a full-time job. Speck allegedly purchased raw pharmaceuticals from China and other countries and made pills and other injectable drugs. All told, court documents say, Speck sold $536,000 in product beginning in June 2015 to the time of the raid.
Speck’s attorney Michael Lepizzera Jr., is asking the court for probation and home confinement, no time in prison.
Lepizzera said it’s his opinion that “there is something materially wrong with this individual defendant staring down a sentencing barrel consisting of 46 to 57 months” and that a four to five-year sentence for Speck based on the admitted conduct grossly misrepresents Speck’s overall life and the nature of his crimes.
In the defense’s 10-page memo to the court, Lepizzera argued that Speck accepted responsibility for his crimes when he pleaded guilty to the three-count indictment, resigned from his position and met with law enforcement officials – not to cooperate with the government to prosecute others in exchange for a more lenient sentence – but to disclose the inside details of the operation of his own drug business.
In other words, Lepizzera said Speck, a former hard-working police officer and law-abiding person before going down the wrong path, cooperated against himself.
“The defendant’s cooperation against himself went as far as alerting law enforcement that other cash and contraband had not been seized by law enforcement during the initial search, Lepizzera wrote.
“Make no mistake about it, Speck is guilty of the crimes charged and while his criminal conduct taints him, this isolated conduct does not eradicate his life achievements,” Lepizzera added. “The suggested sentence will enable the defendant to meet his financial obligations including entering into an aggressive payment plan towards the forfeiture order.”
Three letters of character were filed on Tuesday in support of Speck.
“Your honor, please have compassion and kindness for him, as he is not a threat to society, just a good man who has made a bad decision,” wrote his parents, Raymond and Debra Speck. “We realize our son is flawed, but God uses flawed people to do good things.”
Speck, in his own six-page letter to Smith, wrote that he takes full responsibility for his actions. He apologizes to his former colleagues and the people of Charlestown.
“I want to apologize to the citizens of Charlestown,” Speck wrote. “I’m sorry for brining embarrassment to the town and letting so many of the residents down.”