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A strange case of clemency granted by the governor



Published: Fri, September 9, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

It’s difficult to DIVINE which con- stituency Gov. John Kasich was responding to this week when he overturned a jury’s verdict and disregarded a unanimous recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board to reduce the conviction of an Akron woman from a felony to a misdemeanor.

It certainly wasn’t the law and order crowd. Kelley Williams-Bolar had been offered every opportunity to avoid even being charged with a crime, but she was defiant. She took the position that the law didn’t apply to her and she dared the Copley-Fairlawn Local School District and the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office to prove her wrong.

Certainly Kasich’s decision didn’t please suburban school district taxpayers who don’t believe their property taxes should be spent providing an education for children fraudulently enrolled by their nonresident parents.

We have our suspicion as to whom Kasich’s decision was meant to strike a chord — the advocates of “school choice” — but even that doesn’t hold water when the plain facts of the case are examined.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s first review Williams-Bolar’s case.

Williams-Bolar, 41, lives in the city of Akron with her two daughters and works as a teacher’s aide in the Akron City School District. But she chose to falsify documents so that her daughters could enroll in the Copley-Fairlawn school district, where her father lived at the time. Copley, which doesn’t have open enrollment, takes a dim view of such falsification and is one of the more aggressive districts in protecting itself against nonresident students. Williams-Bolar was only one of several parents confronted about using false documentation to enroll her children in Copley schools. But she was the only one who ignored the district’s suggestion that she either move into the school district or pay tuition. The Summit County prosecutors office said it had never before been forced to take a similar case to trial.

Tried and found guilty

The result was a jury trial in which Williams-Bolar was found guilty of two counts of tampering with records during the process of enrolling her children. The jury deadlocked on more serious charges of theft, with 11 jurors voting guilty.

She served nine days in jail and faces probation and community service.

That is a harsh penalty, but not out of line, given her willful defiance of the law.

But she became a sympathetic figure among school choice advocates, who said that all she was trying to do was get her children out of a failing school system. But Williams has never claimed that the quality of the education her children received was better in Copley than in Akron. She maintained consistently that she wanted her girls to come home to a safer environment at her father’s home than they could have in her government-subsidized housing in Akron.

For that peace of mind and convenience, she was willing to file false documents and break the law rather than do the hard work that thousands of other mothers and fathers in similar situations have to do to assure their children’s safety.

Still, we suspect that the constituency foremost in Kasich’s mind in granting Williams-Bolar clemency was the state and national school choice movement, even if the quality of the education at stake was never part of the equation.


Comments

1Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Compassion is never strange . . ..

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2VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

She was guilty, guilty, guilty, but as Stan posted, I believe the Governor had some compassion and reduced her felony to a mis-demeanor. I would have done the same. I am glad, however, that she had to go through this ordeal. She deserved it.

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3Doctore(52 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

There are some other facts that were not mentioned above, such as her kids did not live with their grandfather, rather went home each night to the "dangerous Akron" home. Not to mention when she wrote a letter claiming to be a Soldier that was deployed to a combat zone and therefore could not attend hearings with the school board etc... Lying about being a deployed Soldier is enough for me to not have sympathy for her. Kasich certainly was pandering to a couple of different "voter" groups with this decision.

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4VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Doctore, you just refreshed my memory of her using that deployed soldier excuse. What a sorry case of a mother and teacher's aide she is.

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5Constructor(105 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Kasich has never had any respect for doing the proper thing, so it's easy to understand why he did this. In his own mind, he is god and can do no wrong.

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6samIam(211 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

America's Felonization Rate makes us the laughing stock of the world especially Europe ,Russia and China.
In all of the above named countries even the most heinous of crimes are forgiven after the debt to the society has been paid back.
The notion that one or two mistakes in one's life follows one forever is idiotic and very counter productive to rest of the society. All crimes are sealed in Europe after 7 years of good behavior.
When you felonize someone with a family you are only insuring that the affected family will soon become a ward of the state.There were 5 known felonies when this country was founded today there are 50,000 + what kind of country has the US become?

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7fd6636(255 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Another example of what Kasich doin what he wants to do with no regard for others or the LAW!!! Some of you dumb a$$es just keep following that goat to the cliff!!!

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

CLEMENCY TO BABY KILLER BY OHIO GOVERNOR STRICKLAND

http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/nov/16...

Published: Tue, November 16, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.
Sidney Cornwell
Cornwell Clemency
STAFF REPORT

news@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Mahoning County judge who imposed the death penalty on Sidney Cornwell says he is “greatly surprised” by Gov. Ted Strickland’s decision to grant clemency.

Cornwell was facing execution for the 1996 gang-related killing of a Youngstown toddler.

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9GoPens(397 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@Stan,
And your post above proves what? What does Cornwell have to do with this particular case and criminal action by this woman? When you have no argument and have been schooled like you continuously are, it's better just to remain quiet.

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

My post proves that a liberal would only grant clemency to a baby killer . . .. Ctiticism of Gov. John Kasich granting clemency to this woman is uncalled for .

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11GoPens(397 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Nice try. FAIL.

Up to 8701 ignorant posts.

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12fattynskinny(195 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

when are we going to charge people with a felony for animal abuse in this state!! some of these other felony charges are uncalled for and i agree with the charge being reduced to a mis...too many non violent people paying a ridiculous price for their entire life for some not so serious acts.

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