As the fallout from the alleged hoax that turned into a national drama continues, Carlee Russell, the Alabama woman who admitted to staging her own alleged kidnapping, has, apparently, inspired a Republican lawmaker in her state to push for new legislation that would make it a felony for one to fake an abduction.
Last week, Russell was charged with two misdemeanors over the lie she admitted to, but it doesn’t appear that the charges are enough for Alabama state Sen. April Weaver, who wants more “severe penalties” for people who lie to police and waste their time.
“This fictitious kidnapping caused fear and shock not only throughout the legislative district I represent but also throughout our state and nation,” Weaver said in a statement. “Individuals who concoct and carry out sham kidnappings and lead our law enforcement officers on wild goose chases must be given severe penalties for their deceptive actions.”
From Yahoo News:
Weaver said she plans to prefile the bill ahead of the 2024 regular session, which is scheduled to reconvene in February of next year. The bill, she says, will include substantial prison sentences and mandatory restitution requirements for the full cost of resources expended by law enforcement agencies during a hoax abduction.
It really seems like Weaver is arbitrarily using a trending story as an excuse to draw attention to herself by flexing her “tough on crime” muscles in front of her fellow Republicans who love being tough on crime—until it applies to, say, Jan. 6 rioters and the MAGA overload who inspired them. (I can’t help but wonder how she feels about Donald Trump’s latest indictment over the hoax of all hoaxes regarding the virtually non-existent voter fraud that he claims kept him from a second term.)
Rep. Leigh Hulsey (R) is working on similar legislation.
“You had a huge amount of resources utilized that are taxpayer resources across multiple agencies searching for someone who was never in danger. And that is a problem,” Hulsey said. “That took resources away from investigations and helping solving crimes that are real crimes that are ongoing right now, and we need to do whatever we can to prevent that from happening in the future.”
Russell is already looking at a maximum of two years in prison, which, in my opinion, is plenty for a hoax that only lasted two days. As for the investigative costs, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has already stated that, in addition to presenting the facts of Russell’s case before the prosecution, his office will “develop an argument relating to restitution.”
I also can’t help but wonder if these Republicans’ legislative pens would be twitching like this if Russell weren’t a Black woman, but I digress. (Also, to be fair, at least one Democratic legislator in Alabama, Rep. Juandalynn Givan, is also for enhancing the penalties for faking an abduction, according to Yahoo.)
Some legal experts in Alabama disagree that it’s a great idea to pass reactionary laws over what is ultimately an isolated (or at least few and far between) incident.
“They have to be careful about these knee-jerk reactions because this kind of thing only happens every five to 10 years,” Eric Guster, a former criminal defense lawyer and civil litigator based in Birmingham told Yahoo News. “I don’t think it’s very smart.”
“It’s the most classic story of the political economy of criminal law: Politicians feeling the need to respond to a high-profile instance and typically making bad law as a result being overly punitive, overly reactive,” said Russell Gold, an associate professor of law at the University of Alabama. “The more and more stuff that gets criminalized, the more the legislature has basically kicked the can down the road and just let prosecutors make the important decisions about what to charge.”
So, what do y’all think? Are the Alabama lawmakers going into legislative overkill in response to Russell’s case, or is a felony charge exactly what kidnapping hoaxers deserve?
Alabama Legislators Want To Make Kidnapping Hoaxes A Felony In Response To Carlee Russell Case was originally published on newsone.com
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