FRESNO, Calif. - Keith Foster is a free man, for now, after a jury convicted him on drug conspiracy charges Tuesday. Foster faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.
Legal analysts say Foster's probation officer will be keeping tabs on him, drug testing him, and now allowing him to leave the county without permission until he learns his punishment.
"It's sad because we've all lost," said David Mugridge, a criminal defense lawyer. "The city of Fresno had a really brilliant second and somebody who was going to be the chief in the future. That's what we all thought."
Foster was the man who many thought would be Fresno's next top cop, but instead, Mugridge says he'll likely head to prison.
Mugridge said, "He's going to do some time now, the only question is, how much?"
A legal analyst said Foster will likely do double the time than he would if he had accepted a plea bargain.
Oliver Wanger, retired United States District Judge, said Foster may get some privacy in prison because of his high profile.
"He is going to be housed and his daily activities will be in areas where I expect he will not be exposed to the general population," said Wanger. "Depending on his performance, he could work in an administration position in the prison. It'll be a combination of his attitude, his inclinations and skills."
Fresno Police Officers' Association, Damon Kurtz said, "What this does show is that everybody's held accountable no matter what your position is. If you break the law, you're going to pay the price."
Foster's sentencing is October 10, 2017. If he appeals, legal analysts say it could delay his prison start date by at least a year and a half.
A spokesman for the city of Fresno said Foster gets to keep his pension.