No Incarceration = No Lawyer = Debtor Prison

No Incarceration = No Lawyer = Debtor Prison

It seems that North Carolina has may try to save money by reclassifying certain crimes to carry no jail time and thus carry no entitlement to a taxpayer-funded attorney

Earlier this month, in an attempt to cut $2 million from its budget, North Carolina eliminated access to public counsel for thousands of poor criminal defendants each year. That’s not what the new law says: Tucked inside the state’s new budget, it reclassifies more than a dozen crimes into misdemeanors that cannot result in jail time. This is part of a pattern. Over the past two decades, swelling caseloads and fiscal belt-tightening have led several states, including Virginia and Minnesota, to create classes of crimes that can only be punished with a fine. In other states, the same thing happens case by case in the courtroom, where judges and prosecutors routinely declare they will not pursue jail time for minor infractions.

What’s not to like, if you’re caught with a small amount of drugs or driving without a license? The problem is that, left to fend for themselves in the courtroom, most defendants lack the basic legal skills to argue their innocence or reduce their punishment, and they’re often not told of the lifelong consequences that even minor convictions can carry. In an era when getting marked as criminal is often the severest punishment in itself, it makes increasingly little sense for only those facing incarceration to have a right to counsel.

The significance of petty convictions has changed a great deal since 1979, when the Supreme Court solidified this standard. Over the past three decades, the Internet has made criminal records available at a click, while public and private institutions have created myriad new restrictions on those with past convictions. More than ever, people with a record of misdemeanors, as well as felonies, are excluded from employment opportunities, student loans, food stamp eligibility, and professional licensing. A guilty plea to one of North Carolina’s new array of misdemeanors can enhance punishments for subsequent convictions. Also, an immigrant who racks up three or more misdemeanors can be deported. The same can happen with any one misdemeanor involving what the government deems “moral turpitude,” such as prostitution, selling drugs, or even writing a bad check.

Even before North Carolina’s new law took effect, judges commonly waived appointed counsel on small yet criminal marijuana charges, according to Matthew Suczynski, a criminal defense lawyer. “Most people being charged with marijuana possession are African-Americans, when they’re 17, 18 years old,” Suczynski told me. “Once they get convicted and have that mark against them, it’s nearly impossible to overcome. Those records are out there forever. It’s a system that just runs people over.”

More than 80 percent of defendants across the country are considered poor enough to be eligible for free defense counsel. At least 90 percent of all defendants will plead guilty to the charges they face. Research shows that defendants who don’t have lawyers are even more likely to simply enter a guilty plea, pay a fine, and be done with the process. That makes it cheaper for courts to run efficiently. The price, though, is often a clear understanding of the ramifications of pleading guilty.

In response, the effort is to reclassify crimes as not carrying incarceration so they defendants are not entitled to attorneys:

These efforts ease the caseloads of overburdened public defenders, allowing them to devote more time to the cases that do land in court. Last year the Brennan Center found that, on average, public defenders often spend a scanty total of six minutes with their clients at arraignment. By focusing on just one crime—driving with a suspended license—Boruchowitz says that Spokane’s diversion program reduced public defender caseloads by a third. That sounds a lot better than saddling poor defendants with consequences they’ve had no help thinking through.

Six minutes at arraignment?  If that's not enough to send someone running to hire a private attorney, I don't know what is.

Coincidentally, a recent and relevant Georgia case on this issue is the Ham v. State, 307 Ga.App. 485 (2010) holding that people have a right to an attorney in traffic cases because in traffic cases people can be sentenced to incarceration: 

In Jones [Jones v. Wharton, 253 Ga. 82,  316 S.E.2d 749 (1984)], the Supreme Court held that under Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25,  92 S.Ct. 2006,  32 L.Ed.2d 530 (1972), regardless of whether the charges are felony or misdemeanor charges, when an accused is put on trial and faces a term of imprisonment, he is constitutionally guaranteed the right to counsel. Id. The accused may make a knowing and intelligent waiver of this right, but we may not presume such a waiver from a silent record.

 Ham v. State., 307 Ga.App. 485, 705 S.E.2d 301 (Ga. App., 2010)

Ham prevailed because there was no record of what happened in traffic court, so the appellate court had no choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But this all raises another question.  Without incarceration, what are these places supposed to do when people don't pay?  Apparently, this

[P]eople struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States.

Critics are calling the practice the new "debtors' prison" -- referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off.

Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union say it's been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it's against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees -- or they just haven't been called on it until now.

Opponents say that the use of incarceration to collect fines and fees costs more than it collects.

"It's a waste of taxpayer resources, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system," Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU's National Prison Project, told FoxNews.com.

"The problem is it's not actually much of a money-making proposition ... to throw people in jail for fines and fees when they can't afford it. If counties weren't spending the money jailing people for not paying debts, they could be spending the money in other ways."

. . .

Fines are the court-imposed payments linked to a conviction -- whether it be for a minor traffic violation like driving without a license or a small drug offense, all the way up to felony. Fees are all those extras tacked on by the court to fund administrative services. These vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with some courts imposing more than others.

As states and counties grapple with shrinking budgets and yearly shortfalls, new fees are often imposed to make up the difference, though they can be quite overwhelming to individuals passing through the system -- 80 percent of whom qualify as indigent (impoverished and unable to pay), according to the Brennan Center. Florida, for example, has added 20 new fees since 1996, according to the center. North Carolina imposes late fees on debt not paid and surcharges on payment plans.

 . . .

At the very least, according to the high court, the courts must inquire and assess whether a person is indigent and might benefit from an alternative method of payment, like community service, before sentencing.

"Even though a lot of jurisdictions do have statutes on the books that allow judges to waive fines and fees, it doesn't always happen," explained Lauren Brooke-Eisen, counsel for the Brennan Center's Justice Program.

Much of the time, probation or the conviction itself will hinder individuals from finding employment (Brennan estimates that some 60 percent are still unemployed a year after leaving jail). But another incarceration over debt could either ruin the job they managed to get or make it even harder to find one.

To try to make it more efficient, municipalities are turning to private probation companies:

Many jurisdictions have taken to hiring private collection/probation companies to go after debtors, giving them the authority to revoke probation and incarcerate if they can't pay. Research into the practice has found that private companies impose their own additional surcharges. Some 15 private companies have emerged to run these services in the South, including the popular Judicial Correction Services (JCS).

In 2012, Circuit Judge Hub Harrington at Harpersville Municipal Court in Alabama shut down what he called the "debtors' prison" process there, echoing complaints that private companies are only in it for the money. He cited JCS in part for sending indigent people to jail. Calling it a "judicially sanctioned extortion racket," Harrington said many defendants were locked up on bogus failure-to-appear warrants, and slapped with more fines and fees as a result.

Repeated calls to JCS in Alabama and Georgia were not returned.

I happen to be good friends with a JCS probation officer.  Nice guy. 

Defenders of the collection programs say the money is owed to the state and it's the government's right to go after it. "When, and only when, an individual is convicted of a crime, there are required fees and court costs," Pamela Dembe, president of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which oversees Philadelphia, said in a statement to reporters in May. An earlier review by the courts found an estimated 400,000 residents owed the city money. "If the defendant doesn't pay, law-abiding taxpayers must pay these costs."

The ultimate power of the state over the citizenry is physical force.  "It's all physical in the end", some say.  There has never been a civilized society in the history of mankind that didn't eventually use force to compel its most misbehaving members to either behave in a certain way or be segregated from the rest of society. 

For the guy who owes the city $100 and simply refuses to pay, what's the solution?  Ask him nicely?  Beg him?  Say "pretty please"?  At some point the state will incarcerate that person to make the point to other people that if they don't pay they will be incarcerated too.  It isn't about money.  It's about setting an example for everyone else out there. 

I think it's a little misleading to compare the cost of incarceration to only the money collected from the incarcerated people.  You have to compare the cost of incarceration to ALL the money collected because that money was collected under the believable threat of incarceration.  Keeping that threat believable isn't cheap, but it's an effective tool for collecting fines and fees from everyone else. 

 

 

 

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The Top 6 Things You Can Expect In Court

The Top 6 Things You Can Expect In Court

People who find themselves accused of a crime for the first time have no idea what to expect in court.  Most people never set foot in a courtroom, and form opinions about what to expect from what they see on television.  Here's my list of what to expect in court when you've been charged with a crime: 

  1. Expect POLICE OFFICERS who think you are guilty and should go to prison for a long time.  They have probably testified hundreds of times.  They have probably gotten together in advance with the other police witnesses to coordinate their testimony.  They know how to dress, how to act, and how to testify.  They will wear their badges and uniforms so that they look like authority figures that the jury can trust.   The jury will trust them.
  2. Expect one or more angry VICTIMS demanding that you go prison for a long, long time.  They will remind the prosecutor that they are registered voters, that he works for them, that he needs to do what they say, and that he needs to keep them safe from scum like you.  They won't care who you are, how sorry you are, how young you are, why you are accused, that you've never been accused before, or that you promise to never do it again.   They will not want the DA/Solicitor to plea bargain at all with your low-life defense lawyer (me).  All they will want to see is you going to prison for a long, long time. 
  3. Expect a PROSECUTOR who gets elected and paid by the victims.  He is looking to add your name to his list of people he has sent to prison.  If he is an ambitious young prosecutor, he wants to build his reputation as quickly as possible.  If he is an experienced old prosecutor, he has heard every story in the book and has no interest in hearing yours.  He knows he has charged you with everything he can think of so that he has the upper hand against you in negotiations.
  4. Expect an JUDGE who is elected by the victims (like the prosecutor), gets his paycheck from the same place as the prosecutor, cops and public defender, and wants to keep his job with a reputation for being "tough on crime."   He has heard ever sob story in the book, including yours.  He won't care that you are young, or poor, or have kids, or are a good student, or that this is your first time arrested.  You can apologize all you want, blame drugs, blame your "wrong crowd" of friends, and blame anyone else you want, but the judge won't buy it. 
  5. Expect a JURY of people who want to be anywhere but there.  They will see you as a personal inconvenience to them.  Half of them will think you are guilty from the start simply because you have been charged with a crime.  They will say that they will presume you to be "innocent until proven guilty," but they won't mean it.  They will tend to believe whatever the police witnesses say and disbelieve whatever you say (if you testify at all).  They will want to convict you quickly so they can go home.
  6. Expect to be offered a PUBLIC DEFENDER who is overworked and underpaid.  He might talk to you before your court date, but don't be surprised if he doesn't.  He gets paid the same whether you like him or not; whether he wins or not; whether you refer future business to him or not.  He does not need you to be happy.   He does not need to impress you, impress the judge, impress the jury, or impress anyone.  His job and future income are going to be exactly the same regardless of how your case goes.  You are probably just 1 of 100+ cases that he has, so don't be shocked and don't take it personally if he doesn't quite remember your name or the names of any of your family or witnesses.

Scared yet?  You should be.  Now go hire an attorney of your choosing and fight for your freedom. 

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Can I Withdraw My Guilty Plea?

Can I Withdraw My Guilty Plea?

Some clients experience regret about pleading guilty and want to know whether it is possible to withdraw their plea and go to trial instead.  That's not as easy as it may sound.   A negotiated plea is essentially a contract between the prosecution and the defense.  

Official Code of Georgia § 17-7-93 (b), provides that “[a]t any time before judgment is pronounced, the accused person may withdraw the plea of ‘guilty’ and plead ‘not guilty.’” The phrase "at any time before judgment is pronounced" means at any time before the judge orally pronounces sentencing in court.  Therefore, the client had an absolute right to withdraw the  plea before sentence was pronounced, but not once sentence was pronounced. 

After sentencing, the decision whether to allow withdrawal lies within the trial court's discretion.   In order to withdraw a guilty plea after sentencing has been pronounced, the client has to show that it is necessary to correct a “manifest injustice”.   (An exception is in those situations where the plea is a negotiated plea and the judge sentences someone above and beyond the negotiated sentence.) 

Mere regret does not constitute manifest injustice.  The client has to show that the plea was not a knowing, intelligent and voluntary plea.  Clients can argue that they were not in their right mind, were misinformed, or for some other reason did not understand what was happening.  The trial court is the final word of all factual issues, and after sentence is pronounced a guilty plea may be withdrawn only to correct a manifest injustice. 

It would not be feasible for the client to use the same attorney to withdraw the plea as the client used before.   For example, one of the reasons the client may want to argue is that the plea was not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary because the lawyer misinformed the client.  Obviously, the same lawyer cannot make that argument against himself, and  certainly can’t cross-examine himself.  That’s why I advise the client to speak with an attorney other than the original one about withdrawing the plea. Clients are entitled to an attorney on a motion to withdraw a plea if the client cannot afford one and if the client is raising the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel in the client's motion, but if it was a public defender that got the client into a plea that the client now wants to withdraw, why would the client use a public defender again?

The client must also file the motion to withdraw a guilty plea in the same term of court as the plea.  After the expiration of that term, the trial court lacks jurisdiction to allow the withdrawal of the plea.   Thus, after the expiration of that term and of the time for filing an appeal, the only remedy available to the client would be through habeas corpus proceedings.   If the client is successful at withdrawing the plea, neither the client nor the prosecutor can mention the plea or the negotiations at trial.

Even if the client does not withdraw the plea in time, the client has four (4) years to challenge a felony plea (and one (1) year to challenge a misdemeanor plea) via a Writ of Habeas Corpus.  But the client has to have a reason to challenge the legality of the plea.  Regret is not a valid reason.  Valid reasons include that the client's attorney misrepresented something or that the client was promised something in exchange for the plea that the client did not get.  Most of these issues are covered in the long list of questions the client has to answer before a court accepts the plea, which is precisely why they ask the questions.

 

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Online Mugshots, Removal, and Georgia HB 150

Online Mugshots, Removal, and Georgia HB 150

One doesn't have to look very long on places like Avvo.com to find someone asking about removing a mugshot from public view on the internet.  There are dozens - if not more - mugshot websites that collect mugshots, names and charges from the various county jail websites all around the country and repost them.  Once reposted, the websites wait for someone to contact them asking the picture to be removed.  The websites will remove them, for a fee, but nothing prevents another website from opening up tomorrow and republishing the same picture. 

In what is really a toothless attempt to look like they are doing something, the Georgia legislature passed a mugshot removal act, House Bill 150.  HB 150 purports to require removal of mugshots for free, upon request, for people who fall into certain categories:

(i) Access to his or her case or charges was restricted pursuant to Code Section 35-3-37;
(ii) Prior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument, his or her case was never referred for further prosecution to the proper prosecuting attorney by the arresting law enforcement agency and the offense against such individual was closed by the arresting law enforcement agency;
(iii) Prior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument, the statute of limitations expired;
(iv) Prior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument, his or her case was referred to the prosecuting attorney but was later dismissed;
(v) Prior to indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument, the grand jury returned two no bills;
(vi) After indictment or accusation, all charges were dismissed or nolle prossed;
(vii) After indictment or accusation, the individual pleaded guilty to or was found guilty of possession of a narcotic drug, marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drug and was sentenced in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 16-13-2, and the individual successfully completed the terms and conditions of his or her probation; or
(viii) The individual was acquitted of all of the charges by a judge or jury.

Note that O.J. Simpson would qualify for removal under the Georgia law following his acquittal for murder, and the removal would be from the view of ALL viewers, not just Georgia viewers.  Since when does any state have the authority to decide what the other 49 states can see on the internet?

Here's the first problem with HB 150:  most of these companies aren't in Georgia and many aren't even in the United States.  So what you have is a Georgia company trying to tell an out-of-state company what they can and can't publish to people inside and outside of Georgia.  It would be like Georgia trying to censor the New York Times website from viewers in Kansas. 

Speaking of the NYT, they recently covered the issue themselves:

The trick is balancing the desire to guard individual reputations with the news media’s right to publish. Journalists put booking photographs in the same category as records of house sales, school safety records and restaurant health inspections — public information that they would like complete latitude to publish, even if the motives of some publishers appear loathsome.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press favors unfettered access to the images, no matter how obscure the arrestee and no matter the ultimate disposition of the case. Even laws that force sites to delete images of the exonerated, the committee maintains, are a step in the wrong direction.

“It’s an effort to deny history,” says Mr. Caramanica, the committee director. “I think it’s better if journalists and the public, not the government, are the arbiters of what the public gets to see.”

Another problem is that the mugshots are TRUE.  The people really were arrested and charged.  The mugshot websites aren't saying they were convicted (and some of them weren't), but there's no disputing that the arrest happened. 

Mugshot websites are able to do what they do only because Georgia sheriffs post pictures of arrestees online BEFORE they are convicted.  By the time the charges are dismissed, the mugshot websites have already scooped up the mugshot.  If Georgia wants to bring this practice to a halt, they need to limit the abilities of the Sheriffs to post mugshots before conviction.

I suggest you don't waste your money paying for one of the 80+ mugshot sites to remove your mugshot, because it's just going to pop up on another one tomorrow.

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Go to Trial, Crash the System

Go to Trial, Crash the System

 

I found this piece recently, discussing the prospect of what would happen if everyone accused of a crime demanded a trial:

[I]n this era of mass incarceration — when our nation’s prison population has quintupled in a few decades partly as a result of the war on drugs and the “get tough” movement — these [trial] rights are, for the overwhelming majority of people hauled into courtrooms across America, theoretical. More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury. Most people charged with crimes forfeit their constitutional rights and plead guilty.

“The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,” said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute. In other words: the system is rigged.

In the race to incarcerate, politicians champion stiff sentences for nearly all crimes, including harsh mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws; the result is a dramatic power shift, from judges to prosecutors.

The author ponders what would happen if people accused of crimes all (or mostly all) refused plea bargains:

Can we crash the system just by exercising our rights?”

The answer is yes. The system of mass incarceration depends almost entirely on the cooperation of those it seeks to control. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation. Not everyone would have to join for the revolt to have an impact; as the legal scholar Angela J. Davis noted, “if the number of people exercising their trial rights suddenly doubled or tripled in some jurisdictions, it would create chaos.”

Such chaos would force mass incarceration to the top of the agenda for politicians and policy makers, leaving them only two viable options: sharply scale back the number of criminal cases filed (for drug possession, for example) or amend the Constitution (or eviscerate it by judicial “emergency” fiat). Either action would create a crisis and the system would crash — it could no longer function as it had before. Mass protest would force a public conversation that, to date, we have been content to avoid.

The idea is similar to the James Mills book "One Just Man" where an idealistic attorney convinces New York prisoners to refuse all plea bargains.  The result brings New York City to its knees.

In theory, I think at least the math is correct:  In Gwinnett County, GA, for example, the DA's Office where I used to work indicts about 5000 cases per year.  (I'm rounding off to make the math easy).  There are 10 judges to hear these cases, meaning each judge gets 500 new feloniy cases per year.  In order to give every accused defendant a trial, a judge would need to dispose of 10 felony jury trials per week.  Rarely can a judge close even two felony trials in a single week.  Most felony trials take most of the week.  That means a judge might be able to try 50 or 60 of his 500 felony cases per year, if he ignored every other type of work (divorce, child custody, contract disputes, personal injury cases, real estate disputes, etc.)  The 90+% of cases that didn't get tried would remain on this docket while new felony cases keep coming in. 

In reality, it isn't as simple as it looks.  "Cases" means "people."  So for the 90% or more of cases that don't get tried, that represents people whose cases are still pending.  They may be in jail without bail (or with a bail they can't make), or they may be free on bond with a felony case hanging over their head.  Either way, they might want to 'get it over with" by pleading guilty rather than awaiting their turn for a trial.

Who really wins and loses?  If a person awaiting trial on Aggravated Assault facing 20 years in prison negotiates a plea of guilty with 5 years of probation, is that person really a victim of an overburdened system?  Or is that person using an overburdened system to his advantage?  Perhaps the DA wanted prison time, but is forced to negotiate plea deals to probation.  So who is really "forced" in this situation?  Is it the priosecutor?  Is it the defense?  And who is doing the forcing?

We have the justice system we are willing to pay for.  In my example of Gwinnett County, the voters seem content with a justice system that can have trials for about 5% of the felony cases.  The remaining 95% must be negotiated.   That's about normal.  If the voters want more cases to be tried rather than negotiated, they can spend more tax dollars for more judges, prosecutors, jails, jailers, courtrooms, etc.    Whether that works in favor of the defense or the prosecution is really a matter of perspective and each particular case.  Each side wants more resources when it would benefit their iside.  Each side is happy to use the lack of resources to apply pressure to the other side when it benefits them to do so. 

Finally, the hypothetical idea of a prisoner's "strike" against plea bargains faces what is known as the "prisoner's dilemma." I.e., each prisoner will do what is best for them, rather than prisoners as a whole.  (This is why multi-defendant cases often have defendants who cut deals to become witnesses for the State.  "The first to squeal gets the deal.")   So while a widespread prisoner "strike" would crash the system, it's not anymore likely to happen now than when James Mills wrote "One Just Man" almost 40 years ago. 

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Georgia General Assembly Awards Wrongfully Convicted Man $400,000

The Georgia Legislature has quietly awared wrongfully convicted Lathan Rydell Word a total of $400,000 for his eleven years spent in prison for a crime he didn't commit:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AND ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that the Department of Administrative Services is authorized and directed to pay the sum of $400,000.00 to Mr. Lathan Rydell Word as compensation as provided above. Said sum shall be paid from funds appropriated to or available to the Department of Administrative Services and shall be in full and complete satisfaction of all claims against the state arising out of said occurrence. Said sum shall not be subject to state income taxes and shall be paid in the form of an annuity over a 20 year period with an initial lump sum payment of $100,000.00 and monthly payments thereafter. None of the funds provided by this resolution shall be used to pay attorney's fees if such fees are calculated on a contingency fee basis.

Mr. Word was wrongfully convicted of an Armed Robbery and sentenced to fifteen years in prison just as he was about to join the USMC.  After winning a new trial, he refused to plea guilty to time served and demanded a new trial, in which he was acquitted. 

I wish these things would get more publicity.  Out of a jury pool of 50, I will typically get at least 5 people willing to admit that they think anyone in court charged with a crime must be guilty of something.  They naively believe that there are filters in place to prevent innocent people from getting to trial, and that their job as jurors is little more than to rubber-stamp the indictment.  It is that sort of thinking that costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars down the line with the innocent person finally wins their freedom.  Jurors ARE the filter, and more of them need to realize it.

Note how the bill prohibits any of the award from being used to pay attorney fees.  By doing so, the legislature protects itself.  By prohibiting attorney fees, the legislation eliminates the financial incentive for attorneys to take these kinds of cases, which reduces the number of times the legislature has to deal with it, and makes it more difficult for people like Mr. Word to get the legal assistance he needs. 

The entire bill, including details about Mr. Word's case, can be found here.

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Mandatory Sentences Face Growing Skepticism

Mandatory Sentences Face Growing Skepticism

Two decades ago when the current "tough on crime" wave was really getting going, people believed that tougher sentences would send a powerful message and result in FEWER people ending up in jail. These tough sentences would apply to non-violent crime as well, the theory being that the non-violent drug users will graduate up to being violent drug dealers and we save lives and money by locking them up before that happens.  It SOUNDS catchy, but that's just not how life works

“Even though you have been involved in drugs and drug dealing,” Judge Vinson told Ms. George, “your role has basically been as a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder but not actively involved in the drug dealing, so certainly in my judgment it does not warrant a life sentence.”

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Man Sentenced to 1,000 Years

Man Sentenced to 1,000 Years

A Troup County judge has sentenced Peter Mallory to serve 1,000 years in the Georgia Department of Corrections for having a bunch of dirty pictures on his work computer. 

Mallory was charged with 60 counts of sexual exploitation of children, invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence. Troup County Superior Court Judge Dennis Blackmon sentenced Mallory to 20 years on 50 of the counts and ordered him to serve a concurrent sentence of five years for each of the remaining 10 counts.

He is eligible for parole in . . . seven years.

O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(b)

An . . .  inmate serving a felony sentence or felony sentences shall only be eligible for consideration for parole after the expiration of nine months of his or her sentence or one-third of the time of the sentences, whichever is greater. . .  inmates serving sentences aggregating 21 years or more shall become eligible for consideration for parole upon completion of the service of seven years.

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