MICHAEL BUDD Transfer to prison imminent
A motion for release pending appeal was denied.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A federal judge has denied Michael Budd's request to stay out of prison pending appeal of his jail inmate abuse convictions.
The former Mahoning County Sheriff's Department major was remanded to the custody of U.S. marshals immediately after his sentencing in Cleveland federal court July 22. U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells sentenced him to 97 months for violating the civil rights of three jail inmates and obstructing justice.
Budd, 44, of Boardman, has been held in the Bedford Heights jail, about 15 miles southeast of Cleveland, awaiting transfer to a federal prison. Transfer is expected any day, a commander at the jail said Monday.
Budd's lawyers filed a motion for release pending appeal, saying, among other things, that he has strong community ties and poses no flight risk. Federal prosecutors objected, calling him a flight risk and danger to the community.
Judge Wells, in a five-page order, said Budd's motion for release failed to satisfy even the initial legal criteria required.
As to risk of flight, the judge said the risk "is significantly heightened now that he is facing eight years in prison." She added that she can place no faith in Budd's promise to appear in court when required given his "demonstrated willingness to perjure himself."
Budd testified on his own behalf at two trials.
Judge Wells also said Budd's argument that he poses no danger to the community ignores the gravity of his offenses.
The judge used some of her own comments from the sentencing hearing to illustrate her point that he would pose a danger:
"Some of these [inmates] were in complete restraints, right? I mean complete restraints, what kind of conduct is this from law enforcement?" the transcript reads. "Slamming people up against windows ... walking on them, standing on them while they're in full restraints, we just don't want to forget the case we have here."
The judge said Budd's acts betrayed a public trust.
She said the evidence on each of the four counts was sufficiently strong and none of the arguments presented by his lawyers is likely to result in reversal on appeal.
Budd was indicted in October 2004. He was demoted to deputy and remained on the payroll until March, when he resigned.
In March, a jury found Budd guilty of obstructing justice, one prong of the two-prong first count in his four-count indictment. Jurors offered no verdict on the second prong of the count, which alleged conspiracy to deprive an inmate of his right to be free from excessive force. The jury deadlocked on the remaining three counts of civil rights violations. Budd was found guilty of those counts at a second trial in April.
Budd was convicted of covering up his part when an inmate was beaten for a second time by guards and for personally beating two other inmates. The crimes occurred in 2000, 2001 and 2002.