A former East St. Louis police officer lost his bid to have his 30-month federal prison sentence overturned, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton.
Ramon T. Carpenter, 42, was convicted of two federal charges for making false statements to federal law enforcement officers during their investigation of a civil rights complaint. Carpenter was prosecuted for false statement crimes but was sentenced according to the law applicable to civil rights violations.
Carpenter appealed his Jan. 31, 2013, sentence, claiming it was far in excess of the sentence called for by the U.S. sentencing guidelines. They suggested that the district court should have imposed between six to 12 months in prison. However, the U. S. attorney's office sought and obtained a more severe sentence because of Carpenter's egregious conduct.
Evidence in the case established that in the early morning hours of May 8, 2012, Carpenter and Chris Parks, a former East St. Louis officer, stopped a 25-year-old woman in East St. Louis. She was intoxicated, had an open container of alcohol and was driving without either a license or insurance.
She said she was taken to a secluded part of Jones Park in East St. Louis, where she performed a sex act on Carpenter to avoid going to jail. Carpenter lied to federal investigators about being in Jones Park that morning and about the sex act.
An FBI investigation gathered evidence that conclusively established that Carpenter had lied.
Carpenter was fired from the East St. Louis police department on July 10, 2012, and was indicted by the federal grand jury on July 17, 2012.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the district court properly imposed the more serious sentence. The appellate court opinion noted the factual disputes in the case were properly resolved by the judge who chose to believe the testimony of the victim "instead of the thrice-lying Carpenter and the complicit Parks."
The appellate court also validated the use of the more serious civil rights sentencing guidelines to the case, finding that implicit threats of arrest are a form of coercion that make sexual encounters nonconsensual.