MOBILE, AL (WLOX) - Former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd now knows his fate, at least on the federal level. Byrd was in court in Mobile Tuesday morning for sentencing. This follows his guilty plea last year to the felony charge of witness tampering.
Byrd will spend six months under house arrest, then will be on probation for six months. He'll also have to pay a fine of $3,000. It could have been a lot worse, considering the nature of the charges when they first came out.
Mike Byrd had no comment when he entered the federal courthouse. Before the judge, he did say he had given his life to law enforcement, and watched his son die in service to law enforcement. Judge William Steele followed the recommendation of federal prosecutors, who gave a reason for the relatively light sentence.
"One of the decisions was the sheriff admitted his guilt... and that way we didn't have to indict him," Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Bordenkircher said. "He waives the waiver of indictment on a federal crime, which is a right under the constitution. So that is a huge help and moves the case along. Secondly, he agreed to withdraw from being sheriff."
The sentence also does something else, too.
"I think it's important for the people of the Southern District to know that everyone is treated the same," Bordenkircher said. "Whether you're in law enforcement, non-law enforcement, rich or poor, no one should be above the law."
So what does house arrest actually mean.
"Basically, there are certain things that he will be allowed to do," Byrd's attorney Joe Sam Owen explained. "For example, he can work, he can go to church, he can see a physician. There are other things he can do, but it's different."
Next up, a hearing in Jackson County court on a state felony charge that Byrd pleaded guilty to, and Owen feels the punishment should be the same.
"That's the agreement and the Jackson County should be commensurate with the sentence imposed here. That's the agreement," Owen said.
Byrd will be back in court Thursday afternoon in Jackson County. He'll be sentenced on a single state felony charge of witness intimidation. He pleaded guilty to that back in December.
District Attorney Tony Lawrence wants to add additional house arrest time of six months for the former sheriff.
One interesting note, Owen did say that Byrd is now holding down a job in construction.