Former Sheriff Billy Long gets reduced sentence

Convicted former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long gets his prison sentenced reduced after a hearing in U.S. District Court Friday afternoon.

Long chose not to appear in federal court for the re-sentencing hearing, opting instead to appear via teleconference on several video screens. He answered a few questions with a simple “yes” or “no,” otherwise he remained quiet and very attentive while at times fidgeting.

Long got the re-sentencing hearing because the appeals court ruled the first sentencing hearing was based on errors. It had to do with the way his sentence was calculated, taking a cocaine charge into consideration with extortion and money laundering charges. The result of Friday’s hearing shaves three years off Long’s original 14-year sentence going from 168 months to 135 months.

“We’re very appreciative of the fact we got it down to 135, we’re hoping it would have gone lower,” Long’s attorney Jerry Summers said. “We had a very fair hearing before Judge Sandy Mattice.”

The federal case against Long was built on evidence he extorted money from people and then laundered the money. But after that case was built the government witness who baited Long set up the former sheriff to transport 26-kilos of cocaine. Summers said it was “manipulation, entrapment and outrageous government conduct.” 

Summers added “He never touched any drugs, he never sold any drugs it was all a complete government scam but he went forward and he’s paying the price.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Piper argued Long made the choice to extort, launder money and transport cocaine. Piper said as an elected official Long violated his Constitutional duty to protect the people he extorted and eroded the publics’ trust in law enforcement and elected officials.

“Billy Long has from the beginning accepted responsibility for what he did, resigned as sheriff, saved taxpayers the cost of ousting him, he’s very repentant,” Summers said.

Long is serving his time in a Wisconsin federal prison. He is 60-years-old now and with Friday’s re-sentencing will be a free man by the time he’s 67 — unless he wins another rescheduling hearing. Summers said he’s considering filing an appeal with two weeks.

This article is published with permission of NewsChannel 9.

Updated @ 7:02 a.m. on 5/5/2012 to update article.