Today in Suque

Our dear FlyingChainSaw tipped me off to this story a day or so ago, but it’s taken me a while to post something on it because every time I think about it I start wanting to smash objects and curse like Chainsaw.

Tonight’s outrage involves Kelley Williams-Bolar, a single mom of two kids in Akron, Ohio. Kelley, like most parents, wanted her kids to go to the best possible school and do well and succeed in the 21st Century world where the buzzwords involve competing with the Chinese kiddos and information and knowledge.

Kelley lives in a housing project in Akron, which feeds into a shitty school. Her father lives in a nearby school district, where he pays taxes. Kelley, like many other parents who live in shitty school districts (believe me, I know enough teachers in the Bay Area to know this happens like crazy), registered her kids in her dad’s school district, stating that the kids lived with their grandfather.

Well, things were fine and dandy for two years, until the local district attorney’s office found out and decided to “make an example” of Kelley. (Shockingly, the word “uppity” was not used in court papers).  Kelley was charged with a felony offense of falsifying documents, and sentenced to two concurrent five year prison sentences. The judge took mercy on Kelley, and suspended the ten years in state prison to be only a 10 day jail sentence.

Oh, and Kelley was working on her teaching degree. But now that she has a felony conviction against her, the collateral consequence of her conviction is that she cannot become a teacher or hope to pull her kids out of the projects poverty.*  Read more here about how two generations of Jim Crow criminal justice laws are marginalizing more blacks than were ever enslaved in the 19th Century.

Or read about the pot-firing catapult. Or spark a bowl.

Fucking A.

* Update: This morning I realized it was inaccurate to say “pull her kids out of the projects” because one of many of the collateral consequences of a felony criminal conviction is that under federal law you cannot receive public housing assistance (Section 8) or live in public housing.


Or go back and watch Wyatt Cynac’s brilliant piece on the DS about the “historically black” community in Mississippi that was only saved because of the Audobon Society.


If she didn’t want to have to go through this she shouldn’t have chosen to be born poor and black… I mean, really. What are these people thinking?

I always wondered why blacks always got the short end of the stick in terms of education while the good schools were always the private ones filled with white kids (and asians.) Someone I knew taught HS in the states till he had enough and went into another profession explained that where he was the racists started killing funding for public schools while white flight to private schools happened.

I try to follow the rules, but I don’t blame her one bit for this.

@ManchuCandidate: My theory is that Repubs hate unions by nature but hate public employee unions the most because those unions tend to be heavily Black.

Can we apply this standard (10 years for “falsifying documents”) to the big mortgage outfits CEOs? :)

I don’t understand why the judge didn’t punch the prosecutor in the face. This is pornographication of jurisprudence.

Haha. Yeah. Being rich and white has its perks.

@FlyingChainSaw: I want to know what the hell her defense attorney was doing? Talk about ineffective assistance of counsel.
@al2o3cr: Oh, you’re so cute.

It looks like the judge is willing to expunge her record if she successfully completes probation and has offered to write a letter of support to the board of ed on the issue of her license.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: That article makes the prosecutor sound like even more of a dick. But again, where was the defense attorney and what was s/he doing? This went to trial and the defender couldn’t even get one juror to hang on these sad facts? Did the prosecutor exclude every minority juror? Seems like there are grounds for appeal here.

And it’s nice the judge would offer to write a letter and expunge the record, but a felony conviction and ten days in jail away from your kids sucks. Plus the teaching certificate can be denied to people who have committed a crime of moral turpitude, which this arguably is in the eyes of the law. I also didn’t realize until reading the article you linked that the DA went after her (sick) father. Classy.

@SanFranLefty: I’m not normally one to jump to the defense of a defense attorney but I don’t see any reason to be pissed at him. It was the prosecutor who overcharged and refused to consider a misdemeanor plea. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that she denied submitting false documentation to get her girls into that school, so technically she is guilty even if she did it for a good reason. Nevertheless, her attorney managed to get the jury to hang on the grand larceny charge. That’s damn good work, all things considered. From where I sit, the dude did the best he could for his client given what he had to work with. You can’t really call an attorney ineffective for failing to persuade a jury not to follow the law.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: You’re right, it’s just my inner JNOV coming out.

@SanFranLefty: Oh. I like that even though I probably shouldn’t? Hell if I know. ;-)

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