By Jason A. Smith
Callie Dorsey, 50, was sentenced in Henry County Superior Court Monday for theft from the City of McDonough. The former administrative clerk is the wife of McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey.
Judge Wade Crumbley ordered her to serve 15 years in the state penal system, including 180 days in confinement, and the remainder on probation. She must also pay $25,000 in restitution to the City of McDonough, and pay a $5,000 fine, the judge ordered.
Before passing sentence, Judge Crumbley said his decision was based only on the law as it relates to theft cases, and was not connected to her status as the police chief's wife.
"You don't treat anyone with leniency because of who they are, or who they're married to," the judge said. "But you also don't treat them more harshly."
Callie Dorsey was fired from the City of McDonough, in August of 2009, by McDonough City Administrator Billy Beckett, after reportedly admitting to misappropriating funds. Beckett said he has no intention of "second-guessing" the sentence handed down by Judge Crumbley. "I trust the judicial system to work," said Beckett. "Judges do what judges do, and I'm not going to get in the middle of a judicial decision. I'm sure he did what he thought was right, and that's what you want in a judge."
Beckett added that he will attempt to recover expenses incurred by the city for an audit that was a part of the city's investigation of Callie Dorsey's alleged activities. She was indicted Sept. 3, 2009, suspected of allegedly stealing from the city 12 times between April 22, 2008, and May 3, 2008, and on 14 additional occasions, from Oct. 15, 2008, to Jan. 6, 2009.
The police chief's wife, who initially pleaded "not guilty" to theft by taking, changed her plea Thursday to "guilty."
District Attorney Tommy Floyd said prosecutors had recommended a sentence of two years in prison, as well as 10 years on probation. Floyd, following Judge Crumbley's announcement in court, said he had "no argument" with the outcome of the case, or the judge's "wise" decision.
"I think it's a fair sentence from a practical standpoint," said Floyd. "His sentence of six months in [a] detention center, quite frankly, is pretty much equivalent to two years under the parole system that we deal with. It's not like she would have served the entire two years. She would probably serve about six months."
Chief Dorsey did not comment on his wife's sentencing Monday. Floyd said, "There was never any evidence that [Chief of Police Preston Dorsey] was involved," in the investigation involving his wife.
Callie Dorsey's guilty plea centered on thefts committed on specific dates, totaling about $6,700, according to her defense attorney, Christopher Chapman. Chapman, like Floyd, was also pleased with the fairness of Crumbley's sentence against his client.
"Given the Georgia statute on criminal restitution, I think the judge awarded an amount that was appropriate under that statute," Chapman said. "Georgia law says that you can't be ordered to pay criminal restitution, for anything that wasn't directly related to what is charged in the indictment. I think the judge did exactly what the law says that he should have done, on those facts as it pertains to Mrs. Dorsey."
The defense lawyer added that the sentence was "consistent" with those in other theft cases of a similar nature. "Mrs. Dorsey was treated exactly like any other person would be treated, [if] charged with the same thing under similar facts," Chapman said.