1.26.2011

What?! Calling for Reduction on Appeal of Kelley Williams-Bolar's Unfair Sentencing for Fraud and Theft



This story tripped me out!

According to a blog by Dr. Boyce Watkins, "An Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation after sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live. Kelley Williams-Bolar was sentenced by Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Tuesday and will begin serving her sentence immediately. The jury deliberated for seven hours and the courtroom was packed as the sentence was handed down. She was convicted on two counts of tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with Williams Bolar's father when they actually lived with her. The family lived in the housing projects in Akron, Ohio, and the father’s address was in nearby Copley Township. Additionally, Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter are charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls. The court determined that sending their children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition."

Caitlin Lord, a Massachusetts woman, launched an online petition calling for a reduction on the sentencing. She told Change.org:

"I am also a single mother, and can identify with Williams-Bolar's desire to do everything and anything possible to ensure that her daughters were safe and receiving the quality education they deserved. If only everyone loved their children as much as Williams-Bolar loves hers."

"I got the word out originally by posting the link on personal blogs where Williams-Bolar's case was being discussed. I placed perhaps four or five links pointing to the petition and Williams-Bolar's supporters did the rest. After only several hours, there had already been hundreds of tweets, facebook postings, and email invites to sign. Change.org made it very easy for myself and petitioners to pass the petition around via twitter, facebook, tumblr, and their ilk. I knew it was an optimal place to spread the word quickly and effectively. The petition took on a life of its own because this issue is one that many people feel strongly about."

"I was also inspired by a sense of infuriating incredulousness concerning the case itself. Although Ms. Williams-Bolar did indeed break a law, her punishment far exceeded her crime... which was victimless. She had no prior criminal record. Our government rewards bank barons with billions of dollars for illegal and unfair business practices that have financially ruined millions, but a loving, hardworking single mother like Williams-Bolar has her entire future erased with the whack of a county court gavel. Rapists regularly receive far less extreme sentences... for crimes far, far more heinous. What message does legislation like that send to every day Americans about the kind of justice our court system values?"

"When the punishment does not fit the crime, when those punished are disproportionately people of color and/or economically disadvantaged, when victimless crimes like Williams-Bolar's are punished more severely than violent crimes such as rape, assault and domestic abuse, there is no way for me to feel truly safe or protected by our courts. The fact that this petition has blown up so quickly and received so many signatures in such a small amount of time is evidence that I'm nowhere near alone in this belief."

"My hope is that the petition will communicate to Ohio state legislature that Americans do not agree with Williams-Bolar's sentencing. This is not a resolution to the problems inherent with our public school system that we are satisfied with or approve of. There are many ways that our government- local, state, and federal- can begin to remedy the social and economical sicknesses which drove Ms. Williams-Bolar to defraud the Summit County school system in the first place. Using the full power and weight of the courts to punish individuals like Williams-Bolar to such a severe and ridiculous degree is not it."

I signed the petition and you can too by clicking the widget below!




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