Former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold was taken away to jail Thursday afternoon. Leopold was sentenced to 30 days in the county detention center. He will also serve another 30 days of home detention and face a heavy fine.
Leopold was convicted earlier on two counts of misconduct in office for ordering county employees to do his personal bidding.
In court, Leopold said, "I am truly sorry" for what he called "my errors in judgment." The 70-year-old Republican had been convicted of misconduct for demanding that police and civilian staff members engage in a host of political and personal services for him.
Former staff member Joan Harris, who was asked to empty a catheter bag full of urine, did not buy the apology.
"Honestly, I do not believe that Mr. Leopold has one ounce of remorse in his body," declared Harris after Leopold's sentencing. "I think the only remorse that Mr. Leopold has is the fact that he was caught."
The prosecution team did not specifically ask for incarceration, but Circuit Judge Dennis Sweeney characterized Leopold's conduct as "predatory," ordering what amounts to a 30-day sentence in jail, another 30 days of home detention, years of probation, and a large fine.
The state prosecutor pronounced himself satisfied.
"The county can move on," Emmet Davitt told reporters. "[And] the county executive's office can be ... an institution of public integrity, [and] public service, rather than a den of depravity which it appeared it had degenerated to over the last few years."
Leopold, who won impressive election victories, has his defenders, including one former aide who thinks jail time is ridiculous. Former Leopold aide Carol Vitek, who attended the sentencing, told reporters: "All he did was ask somebody to empty a bag. And all she had to do was say 'no.’”
Most county residents we spoke with, however, applauded the short jail sentence for Leopold.
"I think there's got to be consequences to what you do, and this sounds about right, I think," said Paige Morrison of Annapolis.
"[Incarceration] sends a message that corruption is not acceptable," declared Andrea Boyden.
And Nancy Hirshman told us: "Perhaps he will have time to reflect while he is incarcerated. And look differently upon women in the future."
Leopold was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs to immediately start his jail sentence.
The fine imposed by the judge is huge: $100,000. However, if Leopold pays the money directly to the Anne Arundel County government, Judge Sweeney said the amount will be cut to $75,000.