A federal judge on Thursday sentenced fired Schenectady police officer John Lewis to 16 months in federal prison and mandated he receive mental health and substance abuse treatments.
Lewis has already served six months of his sentence in Albany County Correctional Facility, meaning he faces about eight more months in jail before he is released.
Lewis pleaded guilty in state court on July 29 to unlawful possession of a firearm, a felony, in violation of an order of protection. He possessed a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, once owned by a fellow officer, in violation of orders he surrender all firearms.
U.S. District Court Judge Norman A. Mordue said Lewis possessed the weapon in contempt of court. “There was a deep concern he not have a weapon based on the troubles he was having with his wife,” he said.
He is due in Schenectady County Court today where he is expected to be sentenced for felony computer tampering. A plea agreement calls for him to receive one year in jail, which he will serve concurrently with the federal prison term.
Mordue, in ordering the mandatory treatments, told Lewis, “I wish you well, sir. I hope things straighten out for you.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Sharpe had asked the court to sentence Lewis to 18 months in prison based on his criminal history. After the sentencing, Sharpe said Lewis has “been held accountable for his criminal conduct.”
Lewis, who appeared in federal court wearing a yellow inmate jumpsuit, apologized to his family and friends for the “embarrassment” he has caused. He said the time he spent in jail has allowed him to reflect on the decisions he made leading to his imprisonment.
His attorney, Michael Horan, asked the judge to sentence Lewis to time served and to allow him to seek treatment. Lewis is being held in protective custody, spending 23 hours in lockdown each day, and has not received any treatment during this time.
Horan called Lewis a good cop with a 16-year service record prior to his troubles, which escalated in 2008 when he violated an order of protection on behalf of former spouse Alison Lewis. He would be repeatedly arrested on various offenses, culminating with a Jan. 23 drunken driving arrest.
Horan described Lewis as having post-traumatic stress disorder and suffering from depression. He said Lewis was “a productive, useful and contributing member of this community” prior to his troubles.
Horan said Lewis started drinking heavily and encountering marital difficulties following the deaths of fellow police officers Eric Verteramo, who died in a car crash in 2004, and William Marhafer, who killed himself in 2001. The Glock belonged to Verteramo. Horan said Lewis kept the gun for sentimental reasons. He added the gun was unloaded and that Lewis never used it in a threatening manner.
The city fired Lewis earlier this year. His plea in the tampering case ensured that firing would be permanent.