Faulkner County Sheriff Andy Shock, while addressing the court Friday during Harold Allen Smith’s sentencing, called the actions of his former opponent during the 2012 sheriff campaign “the lowest and dirtiest political tactic in the history of Faulkner County.”
Smith received a one-month prison term, 12 months supervised release and 100 hours community service on Friday for his role in creating a fake birth certificate, aimed at harming Shock’s campaign for sheriff.
Speaking with reporters outside the courthouse, Shock admitted he was glad to have the process behind him, but was not completely happy with the outcome.
“I’m disappointed, but at the same time I fully respect the court’s decision,” he said. “No matter what, I’m looking forward and ready to get back to serving the people of Faulkner County.”
The sentence was handed down to Smith, who pleaded guilty in April and admitted to creating the false documents, by U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr.
Marshall delivered the sentence after just more than 30 minutes of consideration.
Shock addressed the court with a prepared, three-page statement.
Among the items Shock discussed included his “lifelong dream” of becoming sheriff, and his acknowledgement that running for office would lead to “difficult days.”
“My family and friends were willing to endure and make the huge sacrifice so that I could try to reach my own personal and professional goal,” he said. “Unfortunately, none of us would have ever dreamed the dirty politics would turn criminal and sink to an all-time low.”
Shock recalled the difficulty of telling his wife, and other family and friends of the allegations, but stated the people he believes were affected most over the past year were his two children.
“I cried like a baby thinking of how my job as their father was to shield and protect them from any person wanting to cause them harm,” he said. “I then felt guilty about running for public office, because I imagined how I would have felt at their age if my own daddy had been plastered all over the news.”
While Smith declined comment to reporters after the court proceedings, the former sheriff candidate spoke briefly before the court.
“I want to apologize to Mr. Shock,” he said. “I got caught up in a campaign.”
Smith also admitted his actions would be something he would carry with him for the rest of his life, and apologized for wasting the court’s time over his “stupid” actions.
Marshall agreed with Smith’s assessment of his actions.
“You were right Mr. Smith, you referred to your actions as stupid and this certainly was,” he said. “And beyond stupid, it was hurtful to (Mr. Shock) and his family.”
Marshall also told Smith that his actions were consistent with being pre-meditated.
The documents Smith admitted to fabricating included a fake birth certificate and legal correspondence claiming Shock as the father of an illegitimate black child, and stated Shock also owed child support.
Smith, who was then a Republican candidate for sheriff along with Shock, admitted to driving to Hooks, Texas, weeks before the primaries, and mailing the falsified documents back to Republican voters in Faulkner County.
At least 12 packets were mailed to county residents.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Harris previously told the court that attorneys had sufficient evidence that would prove Smith was guilty of transporting the documents, and did so after meeting with former Faulkner County Administrator Jeff Johnston and former County Attorney Stephan Hawks.
According to Smith’s charge, the three met weekly to discuss the sheriff’s race. The charge also states, “Smith and the others discussed the political damage to (Shock) if a false birth certificate surfaces suggesting that (Shock) had an illegitimate black child.”
Harris further said that attorneys’ evidence included a written confirmation from Smith that stated in the same meeting, Hawks said “it would be funny if a birth certificate saying (Shock) was the father of an illegitimate black child surfaced.”
Shock told the court the actions of those involved “reflects not only on the participants own prejudices, but on their erroneous perception of the prejudices of the people of Faulkner County.”
Hawks, who resigned in June 2012 citing political feuding and rumors, previously told the Log Cabin that he was a recipient of one of the packets and said “they’re trying to get Andy, and it’s wrong.”
Johnston was fired in May and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft-of-property charge in June, which stemmed from asphalt work done on his driveway, using county resources, in 2008.
Shock admitted to reporters that it was disappointing that criminal action was not being taken against others involved, but it was something he was having to deal with.
Smith has 30 days to report to prison, and is scheduled to serve his one-month term in Texarkana.
Upon release, Smith will spend the first month of his supervised release in community confinement, as part his sentence.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)