Rod Thompson at sentencing

Former Shakopee Superintendent Rodney Thompson cries as he speaks to the judge and expresses remorse during his sentencing hearing on May 9, 2019.

In prison on swindling and embezzlement charges, former Shakopee Public Schools Superintendent Rod Thompson on Jan. 1 asked Scott County District Judge Chris Wilton to be moved to a halfway house, saying he wants to continue the drug and alcohol treatment he’s been receiving at the prison in Duluth — where he’s currently housed — which ends Feb. 28.

Prosecuting and defense attorneys involved in his case discussed the request Jan. 9 at the Scott County Courthouse in Shakopee with Wilton.

“Judge Wilton,” Thompson wrote in a letter to the judge, “I am writing to you on my own to ask for your support in completing my treatment program by approving the removal of the state detainer placed on me. This state detainer has unintentionally stopped my treatment process.”

Thompson then asked for permission to move to a halfway house called The Centre, Inc. in Fargo, North Dakota for further treatment. In his letter to Wilton, Thompson said he has made “amazing changes” and thanks to treatment is eight months, seven days sober.

The Centre, Inc. is a private non-profit agency that provides rehabilitative services to individuals who would like to be integrated back into society, according to its website.

“I am not asking for special treatment,” Thompson continued in his letter. “I am simply asking that you allow me the opportunity to complete my treatment program — realizing that any misstep or mistake sends me back to Duluth to complete my entire sentence.”

Because Thompson is in federal prison, state prosecuting attorney Todd Zettler said, Wilton would not have any jurisdiction over the decision to send Thompson to a halfway house. Thompson’s defense attorney Peter Wold said they are working through the Federal Bureau of Prison to get him out of prison early.

Wilton said the call Jan. 9 was a preliminary call between lawyers, and was no official motion made by either side that has been filed. Until a motion has been filed by a lawyer, there will be nothing for Wilton to rule upon.

In spring 2019, Thompson was sentenced to two years prison in state court on swindling and embezzlement charges and in federal court for corruptly soliciting bribes from contractors.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.


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