Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Long Ear of the Law

This may come as a shock to some people, but in jail you are almost completely stripped of your privacy. That extends to your communications to the outside world. Except for communication with your attorney, everything else is subject to being monitored. I know in the jails here in West Virginia, there are big signs in the visitation rooms and phone rooms that say, in no uncertain terms, "we are listening."

Don't believe me? Check out this tale, via SL&P. Melissa Arrington pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and aggravated DUI (BAC of .156!) for running over and killing a bicyclist, Paul L'Ecuyer. Under normal circumstances, she would face about 4.5 years in prison on those charges. But she blabbed:

She could have gotten as few as four years behind bars, but Superior Court Judge Michael Cruikshank sentenced her Tuesday to 10½ years -- one year shy of the maximum.

Cruikshank said he found a telephone conversation between Arrington and an unknown male friend, a week after L'Ecuyer was killed, to be 'breathtaking in its inhumanity.'

During the conversation, the man told Arrington that an acquaintance believed she should get a medal and a parade because she had 'taken out' a 'tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot.'

Arrington laughed. When the man said he knew it was a terrible thing to say, she responded, 'No, it's not.'

Assistant Public Defender Michael Rosenbluth told the judge his client has never been 'cold, callous or flippant' about L'Ecuyer's death and has always felt remorseful.

I feel sorry for the PD, as it appears he wasn't aware of his client's statements until after he argued on her behalf. It's hard enough to get juries and judges to see your client as something more than just a criminal, to reshape them into a human being, without the client "helping" out.

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