Homeless Man Steals a $100 Bill From Bank, Turns Himself in the Next Day and Apologizes — and Is Given 15 Years By Louisiana Judge

roy_brownRoy Brown, 54, is a homeless man who said that he was hungry and needed a place to live when he walked the Capitol One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007 and stole a single $100 bill. The next day, he turned himself into police, apologized, and said that he was not raised to do such things. After he pleaded guilty, the Shreveport judge then sentenced him to 15 years in prison. In the meantime, former AIG executive Christian Milton defrauded customers of more tha $500 million and was just sentenced to 4 years.

Having lived in Louisiana, I must say that this is all too familiar. I represented a man named Quenton Brown who was homeless and walked into a breadstore and stole a 15 cent pie and a handful of cash from the counter. He then crawled under the house nearby and ate the pie. He was pulled from under the house (where a non-working gun was found in his bag). Quenton had a 54 IQ — similar to a toddler. They gave in 30 years. I was able to get him out after 15 years from Angola prison.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Homeless Man Steals a $100 Bill From Bank, Turns Himself in the Next Day and Apologizes — and Is Given 15 Years By Louisiana Judge

  1. It’s like Les Miserable! At lease Valijean only got 5 years for stealing bread.

    The only thing this “judge” has taught the defendant and anyone witnessing this is that honesty and redemption mean nothing. If there’s a next time he’ll steal more and run like hell.

  2. That’s a shame. Yes it was wrong for him to steal, but 15 yrs is excessive.

    The only positive thing for this man is that now he has food and shelter.

    I wonder if this judge will get re-elected if he hands out such sentences.

  3. I like to believe that in the afterlife corrupt or heartless judges get to serve the punishment they wrongly visit on others. Just makes me fell good, and if others can believe in a talking snake, I can hold to this fantasy. In the meantime, this man needs to be released and now. JT’s experience in LA is consistent with many attorneys I have spoken to about their practice there. I also suspect there is a racial component to this sentence.

  4. “Another reason for pride, that of being a citizen! For the poor citizenship consists of supporting and sustaining the power and idleness of the rich. They must work for those goals before the majestic equality of the laws, which forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread.”

    Anatole France

  5. mespo,

    Add me to that list. The life I left was in Louisiana. The worst scumbags in the profession I know hale from Louisiana with one notable Dallas exception that comes to mind. Louisiana is every bit as bad as Texas, in some ways worse. And I can almost guarantee race was a factor. Racism is the state sport even more popular than bass fishing or duck hunting.

  6. This is an outrage. Glenn Greenwald makes an excellent comparison between this crime (and others) and how cheneybush crimes are treated:

    “Under all circumstances, arguing that high political officials should be immunized from prosecution when they commit felonies such as illegal eavesdropping and torture would be both destructive and wrong [not to mention, in the case of the latter crimes, a clear violation of a treaty which the U.S. (under Ronald Reagan) signed and thereafter ratified]. But what makes it so much worse, so much more corrupted, is the fact that this “ignore-the-past-and-forget-retribution” rationale is invoked by our media elites only for a tiny, special class of people — our political leaders — while the exact opposite rationale (“ignore their lame excuses, lock them up and throw away the key”) is applied to everyone else. That, by definition, is what a “two-tiered system of justice” means and that, more than anything else, is what characterizes (and sustains) deeply corrupt political systems. That’s the two-tiered system which, for obvious reasons, our political and media elites are now vehemently arguing must be preserved.”

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

  7. As Anatole France wrote more than a hundred years’ ago, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
    Anatole France, The Red Lily, 1894, chapter 7

  8. Racism….end of story. Old as I get I’ll never understand the stupidity of a judge like that in that even some racists must have a sense of shame. Sadly in life many don’t reap what they sow, but perhaps in this case this judge’s karma will pay him back. Fat chance.

  9. Mike Spindell is spot on. Racism, pure and simple, in the old tradition of southern rural justice. It has a two-fold purpose; it exacts punishment for the offense against the white power structure and reinforces the social and legal inferiority of black people. I suspect that the judge is Louisiana born and educated and prides himself on the enlightened manner in which he treats “our negroes.”

  10. I can understand judges want to provide welfare to homeless by sending them to jail but honestly they should first make sure the homeless person does really want to go to jail.

  11. This is fucking ridiculous. My ex dealt an ounce of cocaine to an undercover (with attempted bank robbery and car theft already on his record) and got four years. This man does not even deserve that. The justice system has really gone to shit.

  12. Do not lose sight of the entire picture. His pretense (or supposed pretense) of having a weapon makes this armed robbery – even had he not left the bank with even a dime. That requires punishment under the law. However, jails are for two things, really – incarceration and/or rehabilitation. Rehabilitation in this case had already been initiated by the defendant. The judge (and yes, in this case, no capitolization – he does not deserve it) has ignored what justice is for. The gentleman in question should have done time – say 6 months – and then assisted in starting anew – spend one year of incarceration money on getting him off the street and to work. He is obviously worth the effort. The judge simply deserves our contempt and, perhaps, a kick to the groin.

  13. this judge is just insaneee!! this guy surely doesnt deserve 15years punishment…he didnt even took a single penny…he return it all, he’s not supposed to be in jail at all…just 1month of public service will do!

  14. The difference is that the judge has to follow the letter of the law and (I hope) felt bad about having to hand down the sentence. It’s been four years now and I hope he has come up for parole with a lawyer who knows what he is doing.

  15. Who knows what this guy has been in jail for so far… its not racism Mike Spindell, he’s a law breaker. Probably multiple offenses considering he is trying to stay on detox. I dont feel bad for this guy. He broke the law multiple times and I am personally glad he’s not going to be mugging me for the next 15 years. This would be a completely different story if all the facts were in the article. Just my 2 cents

  16. Its just awful ! I read all these comments, and EVERYONE except for one, disagrees with whats happening in our society today. There’s always one. Jimmy Jon, you could be next, walking down the street and get wrongly CONVICTED for just stepping on gum, and sentenced to 20yrs. Injustice is Injustice, lets not sugar coat it! Its unfair in this case, and thats what it is! Shame on this judge for doing that to this poor man.

  17. The Judge under Louisiana State Law (first degree robbery, which is what Mr. Brown Pled guilty to) could not sentence him for less than 3, or more than 40. Throw in any priors that Mr. Brown may have had and you can see where the Judge made his decision.

    How about an article on Mr. Brown that shows the whole truth instead of perpetuating the internet sensationalism that is taking place.

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