ARIZONA NEWS

Former Arizona corrections boss sentenced to probation over armed 2022 standoff with police

Feb 9, 2024, 5:00 PM

Former Arizona Department of Corrections boss Charles Ryan received probation on Feb. 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan was sentenced Friday to probation for his no-contest plea to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a 2022 armed standoff at his Tempe home during which police say he pointed a gun at officers. Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Fish decided against jailing the 73-year-old former prisons boss, citing Ryan’s lack of a prior criminal record, his age and the substance abuse counseling he has undergone since the encounter.

The judge ordered Ryan to pay $8,500 to cover the Tempe Police Department’s costs in conducting the investigation of the encounter and designated the offense as a felony, meaning Ryan’s rights to vote, serve on a jury or possess a gun will be suspended, though those rights can be restored if he successfully completes probation.

“The designation of the felony in the court system is punishment enough,” Fish said.

Ryan, who blacked out during the encounter because he drank alcohol heavily and took sleep medication, told the judge he was remorseful, has apologized to police and neighbors, and has attended hundreds of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He also underscored his experience of working in the criminal justice system. “I fully realize the errors of my way, and I am ashamed and embarrassed about my behavior,” said Ryan, who retired as corrections director in September 2019. Police were called to the house on Jan. 6, 2022, on a report that Ryan had shot himself in the hand. It was later revealed by police that the hand injury was caused by a less-than-lethal projectile shot by police after Ryan pointed a handgun at officers. They say the projectile was revealed during surgery.

Ryan was also injured when he fired his gun before police arrived. He apparently suffered a cut to the forehead after a bullet hit a bathroom sink and sent a splinter of porcelain flying.

Police reports show Ryan had consumed a half-bottle of tequila by the time officers arrived at his property. Police say Ryan slurred his words and was antagonistic to a police negotiator, did not know why officers were at his home or what happened to his injured hand.

Ryan told police he didn’t remember pointing a gun at officers and acknowledged drinking tequila that evening, though he said he had just two shots.

In a memo to the judge, Ryan’s lawyer Craig Penrod said Ryan, for much of the encounter, was unable to understand what officers were saying because he is partially deaf.

While police say Ryan pointed a firearm at two officers, Penrod said his client didn’t threaten anyone with the gun.

Ryan was never booked into jail after eventually surrendering to police and being taken to the hospital.

His tenure as correction director was controversial.

A federal magistrate judge found him in contempt of court for not following through on promises in a legal settlement to improve health care for prisoners. He was criticized in the 2009 heat-related death of prisoner who was left for nearly four hours in an unshaded outdoor holding cell during triple-digit heat.

About five years later, prison officials were accused of botching the execution of Joseph Wood, who was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over nearly two hours.

Ryan also came under criticism in 2014 by a prison teacher who was raped by an prisoner after being left alone with a sex offender. The teacher said Ryan allowed lax training, staffing shortages and poor security at the prison.

Later in his tenure, the corrections department was rocked by revelations that prisoners at the Lewis prison complex west of Phoenix were able to open their locked cell doors and attack corrections officers and other prisoners.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

The two men killed in the crash were both from India and were both 19-years-old, according to Peori...

KTAR.com

2 dead, 2 more hospitalized after crash in Peoria near Lake Pleasant

Two people were killed and two others were hospitalized in a head-on collision in Peoria, near Lake Pleasant, on Saturday night.

6 hours ago

Phoenix experienced its first 100-degree day of the year on April 21, 2024. The daily average tempe...

KTAR.com

Phoenix records first 100-degree day of 2024

After a wet and cool start to the year, Phoenix experienced its first 100-degree day of the year on Sunday.

7 hours ago

Carlos Rivas is among the performers for this year's Scottsdale Jazz Festival. (Scottsdale Jazz Fes...

Damon Allred

Sounds of New Orleans hit Old Town for Scottsdale Jazz Festival

The jazz festival billed as "Arizona's Most Beautiful Jazz Event" is coming to the Scottsdale Civic Center in Old Town this week.

9 hours ago

Olivia Gerits (Chandler Police Department)...

KTAR.com

Missing 13-year-old Chandler girl found safe, 21-year-old man detained

A 13-year-old girl who was missing for more than a week was found safe and reunited with her family on Sunday afternoon.

11 hours ago

woman holds money and types into computer...

KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from April 19-21

From freeway construction to street gang indictments, here are the biggest Valley news stories from over the weekend.

11 hours ago

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins is seen walking on the Tucson campus....

Associated Press

Robbins: Fiscal year 2025 UArizona budget deficit may be reduced by $110M

Outgoing University of Arizona president Robbins has announced “encouraging news” about the college’s finances.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Former Arizona corrections boss sentenced to probation over armed 2022 standoff with police