Former officer sentenced in federal court - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former officer sentenced in federal court

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(WMC-TV) - A former Memphis Police officer will spend the next 84 months in prison after pleading guilty in federal court.

Melvin Victor Robinson was accused of trying to sell 10 kilograms of cocaine while on duty in his squad car. He is also charged with stealing $700 from a man and punching another, who were both in custody. Robinson was fired from the Memphis Police Department and pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2012.

Part of his sentencing hearing was closed to public. The gallery was kicked out of the courtroom for about 15 minutes while prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the judge discussed sealed matters. When the courtroom re-opened, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Robinson to seven years and six months in prison.

"The law applies to all citizen," Assistant United States Attorney Brian Coleman said in court. "Regardless of who they are, where they grow up, or where they work."

More than 20 people showed up to support Robinson. Judge John Fowlkes said it was one of the biggest displays of support for a defendant he's seen in his courtroom. Some family and friends spoke in to court to ask for leniency.

"I love him, I pray for him, I'll do all I can for him," said his father, Claude Robinson, a Shelby County sheriff's deputy. "This is not his character."

"Melvin has been working to make amends," said his wife, Denise Robinson, with whom he has two sons, ages 13 and 9 years old. "He is deeply remorseful."

Melvin Robinson gave an allocution in court, in which he apologized to his family, friends, former co-workers, and the City of Memphis.

"I have truly learned from my mistakes. I have no intention of committing another crime in my lifetime," Robinson said. "I ask for the chance to prove myself ... That my poor judgment is not who I really am as a person."

The judge commended Robinson for all the support he has from family and friends, but said he had to consider deterrence as a major factor in determining the sentence.

Robinson remains free for now. He will report to prison at a later date to be set by the federal prison system.

Action News 5's Nick Kenney was in the courtroom Friday. Tune into the news at 4 p.m. for a live report and video of the federal court sentencing.

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