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Television thief still in jail after 33 years
February 1, 2004 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Television thief (64) still in jail after 33 years, parole denied 25 times while same board releases murderer after 10 years. Justice?
posted by omidius (28 comments total)

 
annanova?
posted by quonsar at 1:23 PM on February 1, 2004


Something tells me there is more to this story. It may be hard to believe, but perhaps the usual high standards of annanova have slipped somewhat on this story?
posted by dg at 1:59 PM on February 1, 2004


Sounds like a superb use of tax dollars.
posted by drstrangelove at 2:00 PM on February 1, 2004


Looks legit to me.

More details:

"A jury convicted Allen of second-degree burglary for stealing a $140 television set from a home in Johnston County. Judge James Pou Bailey sent Allen to prison for life.
[...]
Prosecutor Mike Beam became Allen's most unlikely ally two years ago, when he worked for the county that put Allen behind bars. 'I've never heard anything like this,' Beam said. 'In my personal opinion, it's time to let him go, turn the key.'
[...]
The Parole Commission responded with the following statement: 'Your release at this time would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the crime.' It was the 25th straight year Allen was denied parole."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:21 PM on February 1, 2004


'Your release at this time would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the crime.'

What's the message? If you're going to break into a house, you damn well better kill someone?

He's been in MAXIMUM SECURITY? For a TELEVISION?

If the story's accurate, that entire board needs to be replaced. They're keeping him in so nobody has to hear his story on his way out.
posted by effugas at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2004


Justice?

Yes.
posted by punishinglemur at 3:08 PM on February 1, 2004


(from Civil-Disobedient's link)
As for the woman who owned the television set, she was in her 80s at the time of the crime and passed away in 1977. Several of her relatives contacted us about this story and said Allen has paid for his crime. They insist the reason he got such a harsh sentence was because he fought with the victim -- a crime for which Allen was never charged.
So it seems that there was more involved than simply stealing a TV set but, if the reason they are keeping him in was the attack on the owner of the TV, why was he never charged with it? If there was not enough evidence to charge him, how can the parole board even take the alleged attack into account?
posted by dg at 3:08 PM on February 1, 2004


They insist the reason he got such a harsh sentence was because he fought with the victim

in my view , he would have had to have eaten the victim as well to deserve such a sentence.
How many more people are behind bars like this ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:57 PM on February 1, 2004


moral to the story? don't steal tv's and you won't be put in jail in the first place. it's tough to care about this idiot although i agree that this is messed up.
posted by suprfli at 4:16 PM on February 1, 2004


ananova?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:35 PM on February 1, 2004


he would have had to have eaten the victim as well to deserve such a sentence

Heh. Tell that to the German court last week that sentenced the "internet sex cannibal-murderer" to 8.5 years.
posted by stonerose at 4:36 PM on February 1, 2004


I don't know what kind of judge could pass that sentence. He threw away this guy's life. And what the hell kind of law allows a life sentence for burglary?
posted by Dasein at 4:55 PM on February 1, 2004


I think the biggest problem here is that he refuses to cooperate.
He just won't go along to get along. He makes waves. He doesn't work and play well with the others. He doesn't color within the lines.

In other words, he is a non-conformist that they just can't force to belong. He doesn't de-humanize. He retains his individuality. He is a rebel.

And they hate that. They want uniformity and mediocrity. They want compliance and stoic acceptance. They want a *little* resistance, to know they are getting through. But then they want him to confess his sins and beg for forgiveness from the group.

They are the same kind of people who punish the ugly. For if you are ugly, it means you are bad.
posted by kablam at 4:58 PM on February 1, 2004


moral to the story? don't steal tv's and you won't be put in jail in the first place. it's tough to care about this idiot although i agree that this is messed up.

It's hard not to care when parole boards routinely release violent criminals back into society because of prison overcrowding.
posted by drstrangelove at 5:04 PM on February 1, 2004


ananova?
posted by internook at 5:31 PM on February 1, 2004


it's tough to care about this idiot
While I agree that, in the first place, he is to blame for ending up in this situation, the punishment is ludicrous given the piss-weak sentences handed out regularly to murderers and child molesters.

I still think there must be more to this than meets the eye - we are not talking about a slip-up by a parole board once or twice, but being denied parole 25 times is hard to pass off as a slip-up, even allowing for the ineptitude that justice systems display all over the world.
posted by dg at 5:38 PM on February 1, 2004


All right. I'll bite. What's wrong with Ananova?
posted by BlueTrain at 6:00 PM on February 1, 2004


North Carolina...

I wonder what color his skin is. I'm not trying to suggest anything here though. :)
posted by RobbieFal at 6:07 PM on February 1, 2004


Well, RobbieFal, of course he's black.
posted by armoured-ant at 6:59 PM on February 1, 2004


Looks like Ananova are a tad out of date. The date of the story is the end of Jan this year, yet the original story is from November and explicitly states he hopes to be released at the parole hearing in December. No mention of the result of the parole hearing, however, so it's hard to see why the story came out so late. It's not an update.
posted by kaemaril at 7:48 PM on February 1, 2004


moral to the story? don't steal tv's and you won't be put in jail in the first place. it's tough to care about this idiot although i agree that this is messed up.

Yeah, instead you should steal millions upon millions of dollars from your employees and you'll only go to jail for a little while, if at all.

Or, if you're going to be a black criminal, you better have some money, because then you're basically one of us anyway.
posted by The God Complex at 7:53 PM on February 1, 2004


moral to the story? don't steal tv's and you won't be put in jail in the first place. it's tough to care about this idiot although i agree that this is messed up.

Ladies and Gentlemen , King Solomon has left the building.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:12 PM on February 1, 2004


The real moral is to be a good inmate when you're in prison, because otherwise it pisses off the parole board: "They previously cited Allen's prison infractions and long stay in maximum security for keeping him locked up."
posted by smackfu at 10:53 PM on February 1, 2004


The state said Allen's behavior is one of the reasons he is still incarcerated. In 33 years, he has committed 62 infractions -- about average for a maximum security inmate. All but eight are considered moderate by the Department of Correction.

"Disobeying an order, gambling. If you're asking me whether I think this shows that he's dangerous to the public, the answer's clearly no," attorney Rich Rosen said.

Rosen said those who have had the closest contact with Allen do not see him as a problem.

"We've talked to the prison officials where he's been moved, and they've all been very positive about him. He's 63 years old, and ready to go home," Rosen said.

posted by y2karl at 11:03 PM on February 1, 2004


hm. not quite jean val jean, but, hey, i suppose it does put the lie to 'criminal justice'...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:16 PM on February 1, 2004


I think the clear message here is that it's better to rape children than steal the all-important television set.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 AM on February 2, 2004


Isn't this just a precursor to various three-strikes laws? In this case being a 62-strikes situation (or 8-strikes).

Not saying that I agree with it, but it doesn't seem that different from several current laws.
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2004


Unfortunately, John and Jane Q. Public have very little influence on parole boards, so getting all het up with them isn't going to effect anything much. They are, by nature, very political and very insulated little cliques who pay little attention to anything outside of the space between their collective ears.

But North Carolinians need to be asking, in very loud voices, how a judge could impose a life sentence for a property crime that barely registered as a felony, and if the guidelines (or lack thereof) which allowed that travesty in 1970 are still lurking on the books today and waiting to come up and bite someone in the butt because a judge or prosecutor doesn't like them and decides to use them as an example of tough justice.
posted by Dreama at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2004


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