Maybe this is why they call it ‘white collar crime’

court law

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The first thing I thought when I read the piece in the News Leader today about an Augusta County woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $50,000 and got no jail time was: wonder what would have happened if she was a black woman?

Boom, goes the dynamite, we have our answer.

In June 2019, another News Leader story told us about a Waynesboro woman who got two months in jail after pleading guilty to taking more than $12,000 from the Berkeley Glenn Elementary School PTO.

Victoria J. Carter, then 33, is, you guessed it, African American.

According to the reporting from the time, she had already paid back $1,450, and as part of her plea deal, she was ordered to pay $250 a month until full restitution had been made.

The plea deal had her sentenced to five years prison time, with all but two months suspended, with two years of supervised probation.

Which gets us back to Kelly A. Blackwell, 40, who pleaded guilty in Augusta County this week to stealing $15,901 from the Buffalo Gap Quarterback Club and another $36,365 from an elderly uncle.

The News Leader report on her case tells us that the reason the plea deal in her case didn’t include jail time is to allow Blackwell, who is currently unemployed, according to the news story, to pay restitution to the family member, who a prosecutor said is “destitute” and in danger of losing his home.

How a court-ordered payment schedule that has her paying him $500 a month in restitution beginning in May will improve the fortunes of the destitute uncle is up to debate, or, actually, not, because that’s what they’re going with.

Trying to be fair, these are different cases in different jurisdictions, with different sets of prosecutors.

You’re supposed to say that, anyway. Justice should be impartial, but it’s not, and we come up with any number of excuses as to why.

So, maybe we could look at another embezzlement case in Waynesboro. Like, oh, the one involving Agnes E. Brooks, the former office manager at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, who pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge in July 2019.

Brooks had been accused of taking $5,000.

Her plea deal included restitution, a three-year suspended sentence and four years of probation.

Notice what’s missing there: no jail time.

Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Nope, not white privilege, not at all.

Story by Chris Graham


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