Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Summit County Prosecutor Drops Grand Theft Charges Against Kelley Williams-Bolar

The other night I had a really good discussion with the brothers on Twitter about the situation involving the conviction of Kelley Williams-Bolar. The discussion was sparked by a somewhat controversially, not-so-popular op-ed, written by my man Jay Anderson aka AverageBro (read it here).

At the end of the discussion we all pretty much agreed, that though Kelley may have committed a "crime", her punishment was in fact egregious; and dare I add, just a tad bit racist considering the felony charges attached.
Blacks are less than half as likely to receive consideration by employers relative to their white counterparts, and black non-offenders fall behind even whites with prior felony convictions. The powerful effects of race thus continue to direct employment decisions in ways that contribute to persisting racial inequality. In light of these findings, current public opinion seems largely misinformed: According to a recent survey of residents in Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, and Atlanta, researchers found that just over a quarter of whites believe there to be "a lot" of discrimination against blacks, compared to nearly two-thirds of black respondents (Kluegel & Bobo 2001). Over the past decade, affirmative action has come under attack across the country based on the argument that direct racial discrimination is no longer a major barrier to opportunity. According to this study, however, employers, at least in Milwaukee, continue to use race as a major factor in their hiring decisions. When we combine the effects of race and criminal record, the problem grows more intense. Not only are blacks much more likely to be incarcerated than whites; based on the findings presented here, they may also be more strongly affected by the impact of a criminal record. Previous estimates of the aggregate consequences of incarceration may therefore underestimate the impact on racial disparities. (Source: Devah Pager - Northwest University)
I mean, LeBron James grew up, and is from Akron, Ohio just like Kelley and her kids. That said, could you see whatever school district or county prosecutor doing what they did to Kelley to LeBron's mom had she done the same thing?

Of course not. LeBron James, though having grown up in impoverished circumstances is privileged, unlike Kelley's two daughters who aren't able to dunk a basketball. Surely, were they able to, this wouldn't happen, right?

I mean, everybody knows the two ways out of the hood for black youth are by selling crack rocks or having a wicked jumpshot like the Notorious B.I.G. said; too bad Kelley didn't get the memo, or subscribed to such ghetto truths.

Speaking of memos. It appears that somebody in Summit County, Ohio has been listening to the many voices who chose to take up this unreasonably and unfortunate issue that Kelley Williams-Bolar had to face as a call for action:
Grand theft charges have been dismissed in the Copley-Fairlawn school residency case against Kelley Williams-Bolar and her father, Edward Williams.

Summit County prosecutors moved to dismiss the charges during a brief appearance in court Monday morning, and Common Pleas Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove granted the request.

Neither defendant was present for the hearing.

The grand theft charge was filed against Williams-Bolar in November 2009 over allegations of deception to obtain educational services for her two daughters while they were enrolled in the Copley-Fairlawn school district from August 2006 through June 2008.

Copley-Fairlawn officials have testified that the educational services were worth about $30,500 in tuition over the two school years. Those fees were never paid, they said.

[...] After a trial last month, however, a jury failed to reach unanimous verdicts on the theft charges. Cosgrove declared a mistrial for both defendants.

Williams-Bolar, 40, was convicted of two felony counts of tampering with records in connection with the enrollment of her two girls in Copley-Fairlawn schools.

The major issue in the tampering charges, according to trial testimony, involved numerous instances of signed or sworn school registration forms, applications for reduced-price or free school lunches and other official documents Williams-Bolar filled out.

While her girls were registered as living at an address with her father on Black Pond Drive within the school district, prosecution evidence showed they were living about a mile and a half away, in Akron, with Williams-Bolar.


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