Black Woman Gets 18 Months in Prison the Day After They Gave A White Woman Probation for Same Crime
In this particular incident, two ladies were found guilty of the same crime: One was black, and the other was white. But, the two situations are different. One is worse than the other.
Debbie Bosworth, the former village clerk of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, pleaded no contest on August 2 of 22 charges of theft in office, tampering with documents, and money laundering. Auditors discovered she had embezzled more than $238,000 in 20 years. Though she offered to pay $100,000 in restitution after officials found her fraudulent plan, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office denied Bosworth's plea and urged the judge to send her to jail.
But Bosworth is white, as is The Judge presiding over her case Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Hollie Gallagher. Judge Gallagher sentenced Bosworth to two years of probation (no prison time) since she gave back less than half the money she stole.
The next day after prosecuting Debbie Bosworth, Cuyahoga County Assistant District Attorney James Gutierrez asked that Karla Hopkins, a former school secretary at Maple Heights High School, be sentenced to a prison sentence for stealing $40,000 from the school. Hopkins came before the same court as Debbie Bosworth; however, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Rick Bell (a white man)was her judge. Unlike Bosworth, who pled no contest, Hopkins entered a guilty plea. Although Hopkins was charged with only one count of theft in office, Bosworth was charged with 22 counts. Hopkins had found a new job, finishing an in-patient therapy for her gambling addiction, and promised to refund the money she stole.
Hopkins informed Judge Bell that she depleted her pension. After taxes, she received roughly $20,000 to pay bills after the school terminated her. Karla Hopkin's Attorney, Bret Jordan, stated that Hopkins started taking the money while struggling with her mental health and gambling difficulties. Still, she is now getting therapy and participating in a job placement program. For the time being, she was able to scrape together $5,000 to make reparations.
Like they did with Bosworth, The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office sought a jail term for Hopkins. Prosecutors told Judge Bell that the state was satisfied with Hopkins's recommended sentence of between nine and 12 months of prison time.
Not only was Karla Hopkins sentenced to 18 months in prison, but Judge Bell also chastised her for taking pension money. He gave her an additional six more months than Gutierrez requested.
Over a more extended period, the white woman committed more crimes. The white woman stole more money. The white woman incurred 21 more charges and was six times more expensive to the taxpayers. She was looking at 60 years in jail as opposed to the Black woman's three-year maximum punishment. Nevertheless, the Black lady ended up receiving more time in prison than prosecutors had requested. The white woman received two years probation(no prison time).
In Ohio, the state's Black residents are imprisoned at six times the rate of Ohio's white residents, according to the Sentencing Project. In 1999, a Commission on Racial Fairness report found that Black Ohioans are sentenced to prison at grossly disproportionate rates compared to their white counterparts.
Cuyahoga County has the highest percentage of Black residents in Ohio.