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No Jail Time for Former Arizona Prisons Director After Armed Standoff With Cops

Charles Ryan, former Director of Arizona’s Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (DCRR), was sentenced on February 9, 2024, for an armed and drunken standoff with cops at his Tempe home in January 2022. However, there will be no jail time for Ryan, 73, even though cops said he waved a gun at them.

Instead the retired DCRR chief will serve two years of supervised probation, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Fish decided. During that period, Ryan will also have no right to vote or possess a firearm, and he must reimburse the Tempe Police Department $8,500 for its expenses in the incident.

As PLN reported, Ryan admitted he had been drinking tequila “for hours” on January 6, 2022, when his wife fled their home and called cops, reporting that she heard a gunshot and feared he had hurt himself. He was indeed injured, it later turned out, by a piece of a bathroom sink that broke off and ricocheted into his hand when he shot it.

After a three-and-a-half hour standoff, during which seven neighboring homes were evacuated, Ryan surrendered—but not before waving the gun at a swarm of police that by then included a tactical armored vehicle, a SWAT team, negotiators, and a robot. But he wasn’t charged with assaulting a peace officer, despite the recommendation of Tempe cops, leading county public defender Katie Gipson McLean to observe that “[t]here’s just no way that any other person—literally any other person—who, if they even survived an incident like this, would be charged in the way that Mr. Ryan is.” [See: PLN, July 2022, p.43.]

Ryan told Judge Fish that he had quit drinking alcohol and had remained sober since the incident, also attending over 700 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. “I fully realize the errors of my way,” Ryan said, “and I’m ashamed and embarrassed about my behavior.” Pointing to letters from two of the victims, the judge then designated Ryan’s disorderly conduct conviction a felony and ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation, following up on any recommended treatment, as well.  


Sources: Arizona Republic, KPNX

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