SPOKANE, Wash. - Thursday morning at 9 a.m. former Spokane police officer Karl Thompson will be sentenced for violating Otto Zehm's civil rights by using excessive force and lying to investigators about the incident.
Late Wednesday afternoon, federal prosecutors filed a motion that if Thompson receives prison time that he be taken into custody immediately. If he is sentenced to prison time it will be up to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to decide which correctional institution is the right fit for Thompson and his sentence.
While that evaluation process is underway, Thompson may spend his time at the Spokane County Jail where Thompson himself locked up hundreds of suspected criminals during his law enforcement career.Thompson what's next
Thompson's defense team will ask for punishment that does not involve putting him behind bars or that Thompson remain free pending his appeal. However if Judge Fred Van Sickle denies either of those requests, U.S. Marshals will likely bring Thompson to the Spokane County Jail.
When he arrives, Thompson will be fingerprinted, shed the clothes he wore to court in a process known as dressing in, and hand over all his belonging in exchange for a jail jumpsuit.
During his short but probable stay at the jail Thompson will be held alone in protective custody and not allowed to mingle with other inmates for obvious security reasons.
"Tomorrow Mr. Thompson will be treated no different that anybody else who is booked into the Spokane County Jail. However one difference will be in administrative isolation for his protection," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.
If Thompson is sentenced to 18 months or less he could do time at the federal detention center in Seatac; any longer prison term could be served out at the federal corrections institution in Sheridan, Oregon, about 60 miles from Portland. That facility contains both low and minimum security units.
"We try to house all offenders, if possible, within 500 miles of their release residence," Paul Thompson at the Sheridan Correctional Institution said.
"If we house the offenders close to their residence, they can maintain family and community connections through regular visitation and regular correspondence," Thompson added.
Federal probation officials are recommending Thompson receive a 27 to 33-month sentence, but how and when or even if Thompson winds up behind bars will be decided by Judge Van Sickle Thursday morning.