"Leopold displayed considerable arrogance to the people who worked for him," Sweeney said.
In fact, Sweeney said he was trying to send a strong warning. Without mentioning any name, he cited the case of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, who was also forced from office. She was given probation.
Sweeney decided he needed to send a stronger message of deterrence, saying, "If you violate the law in this area in a serious way, you will be handcuffed, led from a courtroom and spend time in jail."
State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt said he believes some will get the message.
"It does send the message. I would not be so naive as to say everybody will get the message," Davitt said.
Carol Vitek, a supporter and former employee of Leopold, said she's upset that Sweeney sentenced Leopold to jail.
"I'm angry at the judge for what he did," Vitek said. "He didn't give him the dignity of going out of a courtroom without handcuffs. He's not what you'd call a bad criminal. Jesus this is awful."
Former Leopold employee Joan Harris said Leopold ruled by fear and that she feels vindicated by the sentence.
"It was a great feeling seeing Leopold go out in handcuffs," Harris said. "I think it sends a message to all elected officials (that) you cannot abuse your power and get away with it. You will be held accountable for what you do."
Leopold will also have to pay a $100,000 fine and do 400 hours of community service.