A Beaumont police officer convicted of official oppression in a 2007 traffic stop was sentenced today to 90 days of probation.
James Cody Guedry was convicted by a jury in December. He had stunned unarmed passenger Derrick Newman twice with a Taser in an Aug. 24, 2007, traffic stop on a South End street.
Guedry could have received up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
His attorney, Mitch Adams, asked Judge John Stevens to sentence Guedry to only a $1 fine.
Former officer David Todd Burke, who was also found guilty of official oppression in September for repeatedly striking Newman with a baton during the same traffic stop, was sentenced to one year's probation. Burke, who is no longer employed with Beaumont police, is appealing his case.
Adams told the court that Guedry led a fine upstanding life as a productive member of society. "He did at the time what he believed was proper to do and based on orders given," he said.
Standing before the bench in a dark suit, Guedry remained silent.
Before pronouncing sentence, Stevens read aloud from a sentencing memorandum he had prepared.
Stevens said Guedry, a rookie officer, was in a "no-win" situation the night he was ordered by his superior officers to shock Newman with the Taser.
"Cody Guedry was required to follow orders of his superiors," Stevens said. "He is convicted because, in following orders, illegal force was used."
While the judge pointed out the jury verdict "clearly states that the degree of force used against Newman in the particular circumstances of this case was unnecessary and constituted unlawful mistreatment," he also said "few rookie officers, if any, in this situation would have acted differently."
Stevens also said, "Of course, this does not satisfy Derrick Newman, who wonders what he did to deserve repeated strikes with a club by one officer, and a double tasing by another officer."
Several law enforcement members and supporters, including Chief Frank Coffin and ministers with the Clergy Police Partnership, attended today's sentencing.
After the proceeding, the chief said he agreed with everything the judge said except for the fact that Coffin doesn't believe Guedry is guilty of official oppression.
Coffin emphasized that police officers are out in the community every day doing the best job they can to protect the people.
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