LawCall - Playground

Marie Walsh was a soccer mom, a member of the PTA and served on church committees. She married a waste industry executive and raised three children. She volunteered for several charities in their California community.She was the quintessential American mom.

So, when U.S.Marshalls knocked on her door in April of 2008 and asked her if her real name was Susan LeFevre, she lied and told them, no. She, in fact, was Susan LeFevre, but she hadn’t used that name or identity since 1976, when she was arrested in Michigan where she was convicted of selling narcotics to an undercover agent. She was 19-years old.

Susan’s attorney at the time, told her to plead guilty. It was her first offense, and he reasoned that the judge would be lenient with her. He was wrong. Susan LeFevre was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

After serving just a year of her sentence, LeFevre climbed over a barbed-wire fence and ran to a waiting car that was driven by her grandfather. She later hitched a ride to California, and that is where the story picks up.

After arriving in California, she began using her middle name, Marie, and said she used a made-up Social Security number. She met and married, had children and lived the life of an upstanding citizen.

The Marshalls took her back to Michigan, where she was still a wanted felon. She would be required to serve the remainder of her sentence, and wasn’t eligible for parole until 2013. An additional five years was tacked on for the escape. She says her husband and children were not aware of her criminal past until she was arrested on that fateful morning.

But she did not go quietly. She took her story to the media and hired a new attorney. Friends, relatives and complete strangers wanted to know why the state should foot the bill to re-imprison someone who, seemingly, had rehabilitated herself.

Five months after her re-arrest, the judge showed mercy, giving her 2 years’ probation for the escape charge. The questioned remained – should she have to serve the remainder of her original sentence? This question was sent to the Michigan parole board.

The parole board voted unanimously to set her free saying that she had done what they want offenders to do – rehabilitate their lives.

This could be the soccer mom down the street. What do you think?

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