Police chief pleads guilty to theft charges in federal court

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Federal Crimes on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The former police chief in East St. Louis recently pleaded guilty in federal court to theft charges after he was accused of stealing video game systems. Although he is obviously familiar with the law, he has likely sought legal advice from someone familiar with federal criminal law.

Michael Baxton Sr. has only served as the East St. Louis police chief for a few months, but resigned from his post on Jan. 18. Prior to being hired in East St. Louis, Baxton was the Alorton police chief.

According to authorities, police officers that worked for Baxton in Alorton told federal officials that the police chief was potentially mishandling evidence, and treating some suspects more favorably than others.

On Oct. 5, FBI agents placed surveillance equipment in a vehicle before reporting it stolen. When Baxton inspected the car, he reportedly found five video game systems in the car. According to officials, he told the officer who was with him to put four of the video game systems in his car, and to also take one for himself.

Despite the serious charges, the mayor of East St. Louis says he does not regret hiring Baxton as the police chief, and even praised the work he has done to reduce homicides in the city.

The former police chief pleaded guilty to theft or conversion of government property and making a false statement to a federal officer on Jan. 19. Both charges combined carry a maximum of 15 years behind bars. He will be sentenced in late April. Because the police chief admitted his guilt, he may face a reduced sentence.

Source: Stltoday, “Former East St. Louis police chief admits theft,” Nicholas J.C. Pistor, Jan. 20, 2012