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Sunday, March 16, 2014 03:25 pm

Ready for duty

Accused deputy prevails

A former Sangamon County sheriff’s deputy and acknowledged thief has won a case before an arbitrator who ruled that she should be suspended for 90 days instead of being fired.

Sherry Waldron was acquitted of misdemeanor theft charges last year after being accused of stealing plants from a Sherman park. Evidence in the case included surveillance video footage. Less than three months after her acquittal, Waldron, who was fired shortly after the alleged plant theft, was caught stealing groceries from a Schnuck’s store on Sangamon Avenue. She pleaded guilty to retail theft, a misdemeanor, in October and received supervision in January after her guilty plea.

Nonetheless, an arbitrator last week overruled the sheriff’s department’s decision to fire Waldron. Andrew Ramage, an attorney for the county who argued the department’s case and received the decision on Friday, said that the arbitrator said that Waldron should be suspended for 30 days for the alleged plant theft and 60 days for the shoplifting incident in which Waldron agreed to pay $320 in fines, court costs and other fees.

During arbitration proceedings, the county did not ask that Waldron be terminated or otherwise disciplined on the basis of the shoplifting case, Ramage said, but instead argued that the admitted theft be taken into consideration when assessing Waldron’s credibility when presenting her case on the alleged plant theft.

“It’s kind of unusual,” Ramage said. “We didn’t ask for any discipline (on the shoplifting).”

If Waldron goes back on duty, defense attorneys could challenge Waldron’s credibility in criminal cases if she is called to testify in court, Ramage said. The county is now assessing whether it will appeal or otherwise challenge the arbitrator’s ruling.

The abritrator’s name is Dennis McGilligan.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com

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