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Carlee Russell Convicted In Faked Hoover Abduction Case. Judge Suggests a Year In Jail + Restitution

by Venus Sanders

A Hoover municipal judge ruled on Wednesday that Carlee Russell, 26, was guilty of fabricating her own abduction. This verdict followed Russell's not guilty plea on charges of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident.

Despite her plea, Municipal Judge Brad Bishop found her guilty based on the recommendation of state prosecutors. Bishop suggested a one-year jail sentence and $17,874 in restitution, along with two fines of $831 each. Russell, visibly anxious, entered her plea around 2:14 p.m.

In municipal court, no jury trial is held, and anyone facing potential jail time has the right to have their case decided by a jury of their peers, as permitted by the constitution. Bishop clarified that defendants often appeal his verdict to Jefferson County Circuit Court to request a jury trial, which Russell, represented by attorneys Emory Anthony and Richard Jaffe, is pursuing.

Anthony stated that they are appealing the verdict because state prosecutors are pushing for jail time, which Russell's legal team strongly opposes for a Class A misdemeanor, especially when it is her first offense. He mentioned that jail sentences for this level of offense are generally not imposed. While they do not object to restitution, they firmly disagree with imprisonment.

During her appearance before the judge, Russell displayed nervousness. Anthony emphasized that anyone appearing before a judge would naturally feel anxious, and he added that they are taking care to ensure her well-being during this challenging time.

When asked about the reason behind her actions, Anthony mentioned that it would eventually become clear. The defense team is mindful of the issues Russell is facing and aims to support her. They acknowledge the mistake but do not wish to further burden her at this stage.

Regarding the amount of restitution, Anthony expressed that it seemed fair, given the resources expended in the search for Russell. He remains uncertain about potential additional charges but noted that the defense was invited by the Attorney General's Office to address a grand jury, which they declined.

When questioned about Russell's whereabouts during the 49 hours she was missing, Anthony suggested directing the inquiry to the AG's office, mentioning that they understand Russell's absence was not a whimsical decision.


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