Former Clark County Sheriff Rodden likely to avoid prison time

Published: Apr. 10, 2015 at 1:41 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2015 at 1:41 AM EDT
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News and Tribune

JEFFERSONVILLE - Danny Rodden will likely avoid prison time, thanks to an assist from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rodden, the former sheriff of Clark County, last week struck a new plea agreement with the office of the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Indiana that no longer includes the fourth count of Rodden's original indictment, the charge of counseling the destruction of evidence in a federal investigation. Rodden had signed a plea agreement in October that included the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison.

Rodden was able to negotiate a new plea agreement thanks to a Feb. 25 Supreme Court decision in Yates v. United States, a case involving a fisherman that was charged with a similar crime under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for throwing overboard three sea bass while his boat was being boarded by law enforcement officials. The Supreme Court ruled that the law only applies to "tangible objects" that are used to record or preserve information.

"The United States Supreme Court agreed ... that the intent and purpose of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act wasn't to make things like throwing three sea bass overboard a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail or, in Danny's instance, 'I gave you a shirt, I gave you a badge, get rid of it,'" said Rodden attorney Larry Wilder. "That's not what the intent of that legislation was."

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