Thursday, January 29, 2009

All is Forgiven

From today's Detroit Free Press:

"The Michigan Parole Board gave Susan LeFevre her other life back on Wednesday, agreeing to set the 54-year-old California mom and longtime fugitive free on May 19. LeFevre, a Saginaw native who lived in San Diego for 32 years as Marie Walsh before her arrest last spring, will be released barring major misbehavior in prison in the meantime, said Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan. Her case gained national attention after LeFevre, a mother of three, was arrested at home last year by police acting on a tip. LeFevre had served about a year of her 10- to 20-year sentence for selling heroin to an undercover police officer (Mike Robinson, who later became director of the Michigan State Police) when she escaped the old Detroit House of Corrections in 1976."

Just so we're clear: she sold heroin to an undercover officer; was caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 10-20 years in prison; and escaped in 1976. She was caught (again) 32 years later, and is told, essentially, "You've been good since you escaped, so you can go." Her co-conspirator, who received the same sentence initially, spent 3 years and 4 months in prison and did not escape. LeFevre will spend a little over a year of her sentence in prison.

Where are the charges for escaping the jail in the first place? Escape from a jail or prison is a felony in Michigan, which should have brought another 2-5 years. Here? Nothing.

What's the message? Go ahead, escape, but then live a good life and when you're caught again, we'll give you a little nudge and send you on your way, you rascal!

Nice message for the correction officers who have to guard our prisoners -- "We've just given prisoners a powerful new incentive to escape, so good luck!"

Many people chalked LeFevre's crime up to "youthful indiscretion," but the Freep points out the weakness in that position:

"[Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan] said LeFevre has had nearly a dozen misconduct citations [since being returned to prison], most for disregarding orders. Law enforcement officials were skeptical about her claim that her offense was a petty, youthful indiscretion. At the time of her arrest, police estimated LeFevre was making $2,000 a week selling drugs."

Wonderful. Another proud day here in the Enchanted Mitten.

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