It was a stunning moment. In a hushed courtroom, former Anne Arundel County executive John Leopold was slapped in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for thirty days. He was sentenced to an additional 30 days house arrest and was ordered to pay $100,000.
He is also required to perform 400 hours of community service.
It was a sentence few expected but one that Joan Harris had hoped for.
“We got justice today,” Harris says. “It was a great feeling to see Mr. Leopold go out in handcuffs and he is headed off to jail where he belongs.”
Harris is one of several former county employees suing Leopold for harassment. She says she saw him abuse his power on a daily basis.
Leopold was found guilty on two counts of misconduct in office in January. One of those counts related to Leopold using his security detail to perform political activities while on the job. The other involved making a secretary and members of his detail empty his urine catheter bag for months in 2010.
Leopold was found not guilty of two counts of misconduct in office, as well as one count related to fraudulent misappropriations.
The two-term Republican resigned from office Feb. 1. Laura Neuman is now serving as county executive.
The state prosecutor wrote in a sentencing memo that Leopold's conduct merits incarceration, but he cited the 70-year-old's age and health issues.
The state prosecutor who brought the charges says the sentence of jail time, community service and a $100,000 fine is appropriate.
“The county can move on and the county executive’s office can again be an institution of public integrity public service rather than a den of depravity,” says prosecutor Emmet Davitt.
In court, Leopold said he took responsibility for what he called errors in judgment when he resigned from office two days after his conviction. He said he was truly sorry.
Former Leopold aide Carol Vitek stood in court on behalf of the former executive. She insists he did nothing wrong.
“I’m angry at the judge for what he did I just think it was a wrong decision,” she says.
Among Anne Arundel County voters, there was no such sympathy.
“I just believe that its much deserved I mean the things that he did were inappropriate,” says Traci Knight.