Former SFPD crime lab technician Deborah Madden, who plead guilty in March to misdemeanor cocaine possession after two federal trials on greater charges ended with hung juries, has skirted jail time and was sentenced in U.S. district court last week to one year of home confinement.
She'll also get five years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and will have to serve 300 hours of community service.
Prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to get Madden tossed in the clink for at least a year in light of the circumstances through which she obtained the cocaine namely a mishandling of evidence in the crime lab in 2009 which lead to the dismissal of 700 criminal cases. Juries, however, when Madden was tried on charges of obtaining cocaine by deception or fraud, took pity on the 63-year-old, who has been sober since the incidents in 2009 and was likely one of several SFPD employees who tampered with or otherwise mishandled drug evidence. (You may recall the earlier testimony that everyone in the crime lab used to "laugh" at small discrepancies in the weight of drugs in evidence envelopes. And all that investigators ever found in Madden's possession was less than one tenth of one gram of coke.)
Madden previously said that she had started using cocaine on a friend's suggestion in order to control a drinking problem, and she told the judge in U.S. District Court in San Mateo that she apologized to the people of San Francisco for her crime. "I’m not proud of the way I ended my career. I ended it in a shameful way," she said.
Since 2009, when she entered a drug rehab program, she has reportedly remained sober and is now taking classes at the College of San Mateo to become a drug and alcohol treatment counselor.