Former Gary cop pleads to two federal charges
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org February 28, 2013 4:12PM
David Finley was sentenced to 30 months in prison on drug and weapons charges. A federal judge also found Finley had faked letters of support that were sent to the judge. | Provided
Updated: April 1, 2013 11:55AM
Former Gary Police officer David Finley pleaded guilty to issuing a false statement at a gun sale and selling marijuana during a Wednesday afternoon change-of-plea hearing at U.S. District Court in Hammond.
Finley did not change his not-guilty plea on the remaining count of selling a firearm to a prohibited person, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell said the charge will be dismissed in all likelihood at a status hearing before Finley’s May 8 sentencing. Last week, Finley’s attorney John Cantrell said his client would be pleading guilty to all charges, but Cantrell said that Finley had trouble establishing a factual basis for the remaining count.
The charges stem from incidents on Aug. 7, 2012, when a friend stopped by Finley’s Merrillville residence and asked if Finley would buy him a gun. Finley told U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen the pair drove to Westforth Sports in Gary, where Finley purchased a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. Finley signed a form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on which he asserted he purchased the gun for himself. In the parking lot, Finley gave his friend the gun in exchange for $600. Then, the pair drove to a house in the 1600 block of East 36th Place in Gary, where Finley said he purchased a small amount of marijuana for his friend.
Bell advised the court that Finley should be held in custody until his sentencing because the witness in the case — a convicted felon and FBI informant who was relocated — recently received a series of threatening phone calls, and one of Finley’s former work colleagues — Gary Police officer Raymond Robinson — had looked up information on the witness in the police information database.
Robinson has been interviewed by the FBI, and he told agents that Finley did not ask him to look up information on the witness; Robinson said he was just curious about the case.
Van Bokkelen released Finley on bond, but warned him the terms would change if Finley or any of his associates were caught attempting to harass the witness.
“If this activity continues and I don’t care why Robinson did it, we’ll be back in here addressing this,” Van Bokkelen said. “I don’t look too kindly on any attempt to intimidate witnesses.”
Cantrell said Finley is very ill — he suffers from bipolar disorder — and he is in no position to make threatening phone calls.