Former correctional officer has remainder of sentence suspended

January 18, 2002

Former correctional officer has remainder of sentence suspended


Saying the "goals of sentencing had been met," Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley Thursday released a former Washington County Detention Center correctional officer who was serving time for having sex with a female prisoner.

Beachley in December, 2001, sentenced Michael A. Garner, 35, of Hagerstown, to 15 months in jail but suspended all but three months.

On Thursday, Beachley granted a request by Garner's attorney, John R. Salvatore, to suspend the balance of Garner's sentence.

Beachley said Garner had served about 40 percent of his sentence.

"I'm not sure that there would be any further deterrent or positive effect to keep him in jail," Beachley said..

Salvatore told the judge that Garner's incarceration has been devastating to him and his family and noted that Garner suffers from depression.


"He understands that he brought this on himself," Salvatore said.

Salvatore said that before the incident Garner had a good military record and a good work record at the Washington County Detention Center, where he had worked for 2 1/2 years.

Publicity about the case has made things difficult for Garner and his family, Salvatore said.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Art Rozes said Garner's sentence was fair and it was necessary for him to complete it to "protect the integrity of the penal system."

The woman is on medication and suffering from the incident, he said.

Asked if he wanted to address the court, Garner apologized for his actions and said he would like to make a fresh start.

"You should be thankful you have a supportive family," Beachley said.

Garner pleaded guilty in September to one misdemeanor count of sexual intercourse by a guard with an inmate.

In return for his plea, three other counts in an indictment handed up in April by a grand jury were dismissed. Those charges included oral sex between a guard and an inmate, second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense.

Garner and the 28-year-old female inmate had sex in a medical holding area at the jail on March 17, 2001, according to Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades.

The woman, who was serving a 90-day sentence for harassment, alleged she had been raped.

Mades has said there was no force or threat of force involved. Garner initially was charged with one count of having sex with an inmate.

Beachley ordered that Garner be on probation for two years after his release, have no contact with the victim and perform community service.

He had faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.

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