After 27 years on the run, let them go.

Ordinarily with armed robbers, I’m for locking them up and tossing the key.  They’re a particularly dangerous lot. By the time they pull a weapon and utter a demand, they’ve already decided they’ll kill.  Bad guys.  Truly bad guys.

But there’s one armed robber I’d turn loose.  That’s Richard Paul Boucher, 56, an armed robber serving prison time in Virginia when he slugged a guard and escaped 27 years ago.  His wife, Debbie Lynn Boucher, 53, aided the escape and has been charged with hindering the apprehension of a criminal.  I’d turn her loose, too.  Give them both a pardon.

In the years since, as the AJC’s Jim Tharpe reported Sunday in a fascinating tale of a husband-and-wife on the lam, the couple has lived on odd jobs and enterprise in the North Georgia mountains.  To avoid detection, they never got a driver’s license and never took a job that required a Social Security number. They lived in a trailer park, did odd jobs for their neighbors and for others who needed day labor and they sold other people’s junk at flea markets. 

Meanwhile, they parented a daughter who is now grown and married.  Until now, when police were apparently tipped by an informant as to their real identity, they’ve never come to the attention of law enforcement.

Prison is for punishment, yes, but punishment that serves to rehabilitate.  The Bouchers have served 27 years of self-imposed imprisonment, frightened by the sound of an acorn dropping on the roof of a mobile home in the dead of night. They’ve gone straight.  They’re rehabilitated.  Let them go to live the remainder of their lives in peace.

My band of right-wingers is reknown for its empathy.  That’s not what we look for in appointing justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.  There we want justices to adhere to the written word without regard to how stories are spun.  At the trial court level, however, our judges — wise and compassionate all – are encouraged to tailor justice to the individual.  Verdict for the Bouchers.

65 comments Add your comment

@@

May 18th, 2009
8:31 am

Can’t agree with you, Jim. Additional jail time is necessary albeit minimal.

Sincerely,

Prudence

Munch

May 18th, 2009
8:38 am

Reckon Richard Paul Boucher is African-American?

Nah, I didn’t think so. So let’s let bygones be bygones!

Davo

May 18th, 2009
8:46 am

Wow…JW discovers a bit of empathy for these trailer dwelling rednecks. Not that I disagree…prosecuting them would probably cost more money than they earned after 27 years on the lamb and nothing would really be gained from locking them up. I would be curious to know which offenses JW thinks should never be dropped. Would drug use, tax evasion or shoe-throwing warrent such consideration? I doubt it.

SMH

May 18th, 2009
9:05 am

WOW……….I smell a double standard…………

Billy Bob

May 18th, 2009
9:06 am

While I don’t know the details of their crime, Jim, I think armed robbery is a serious crime – so I gotta disagree. Granted the Boucher’s appear to have ‘righted their ship’ and I applaud their efforts but some incarceration is still appropriate.

Peter

May 18th, 2009
9:11 am

Ok Jim……..only if we go after Bush and Cheney !

Get Real

May 18th, 2009
9:13 am

“My band of right-wingers is reknown for its empathy.” First off, there is an obvious grammatical error in this sentence. Secondly, its so far from the truth that I can only picture Wooten turning red from laughter as he wrote it. Where was the empathy for a Genarlow Wilson, who did much less than robbing a bank. Just because these crooks were able to stay one step ahead of the law doesn’t mean their crimes should be overlooked. A certain distinction between this and torture sheds a light into Wooten’s thinking. I’m searching google now for Wooten’s empathy for Genarlow Wilson and those who have committed less crimes than these two in which Wooten is going to the mat for. I’m sure I will find a previous post in which JW scribes that the law should be changed and this guy should be released from jail.

SMH

May 18th, 2009
9:15 am

Get Real, when you find that previous post, let us know. Although, I doubt it.

Get Real

May 18th, 2009
9:16 am

…… and tailored justice to the individual is how one race normally receives a lower sentence than another race for the same crime. Gotcha Wooten.

Get Real

May 18th, 2009
9:20 am

I seemed to have hypothesized Wooten’s way of dealing out justice.. Found this from creative loafing since the AJC hides Wooten’s old posts:

Last week at a Douglas County rally, the Rev. Al Sharpton compared the circumstances of Genarlow Wilson, who’s serving a 10-year prison sentence for an underage *l*wj*b, with that of former White House staffer Scooter Libby, who was spared lockup by President Bush. In citing the legal double-standard, could Sharpton have been thinking about conservative AJC columnist Jim Wooten?

“Wilson chose to reject a plea bargain, gambling that he could beat the rap. Wilson was determined to set himself apart from the law. …”
– Wooten on his “Thinking Right” blog, June 12

“Libby … drew 30 months in the slammer today. He was convicted of lying and obstructing an investigation. He should serve precisely zero time in jail.”
– Wooten, June 5

“These are ‘Profiles in Courage’ days for Georgia’s Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who’s been given the bum’s rush to ignore the law as written in the Wilson case.”
– Wooten, June 29

“On the serious matter of Scooter Libby’s ‘excessive’ sentence … my preference would have been for a pardon now.”
– Wooten, July 4

SMH

May 18th, 2009
9:32 am

Is it time now, after Get Reals findings, to legitimately play the race card, As I said in a previous post, double standard………

cdawg

May 18th, 2009
9:38 am

Boucher should go back to prison to serve the remainder of his time & he & his wife should be prosecuted for their part in the escape. Just because they were “model” citizens for 27 years, does not relieve them of their debt to society, which neither has paid.

Jackie

May 18th, 2009
9:47 am

Was a pardon for Marcus Dixon recommended?
Teenager with a full scholarship to Vanderbilt was jailed because of having sex with another teenager.

The female teenager screamed “rape” and was absolved of all responsibility and subsequently received a $100,000 settlement from the school system while Marcus Dixon spent one year in jail.

Many supporters of the female teenager advocated that Marcus should remain in jail because “outside agitators” were the reason this case was raised to such a high profile.

Don’t recall where Mr. Wooten advocated a pardon for Marcus Dixon.

Road Scholar

May 18th, 2009
9:49 am

What about driving w/o a license for all those years? Did they pay their taxes? I agree that prison may be a waste, but community service would not be!

Peter

May 18th, 2009
9:50 am

WOW maybe Mike Vick should have vanished and 20 years down the road Jim would have said………let him go……he changed his spots !

I guess that goes for Bernie Madoff as well Jim ?

Copyleft

May 18th, 2009
9:55 am

Get Real: Thanks for your research demonstrating Mr. Wooten’s conveniently “flexible” ideas of justice. Specifically, that white-collar and white criminals have usually “suffered enough” just from media exposure–particularly if they’re Republican officials.

ncgreybr

May 18th, 2009
10:05 am

“My band of right-wingers is reknown for its empathy.” Jeez! Did Wooten go to school?

“Reknown for its empathy?” BUT only if you are part of his right-wingers who are white, Republican and have been in office.

Dusty

May 18th, 2009
10:19 am

Well, I am one of Jim Wooten’s band of right wingers and I am happy to be one. Empathy is a fine trait of character, a joy to those who encounter it. I am pleased that Jim thinks we have it.

As to the Boucher’s, they gave themselves exile in a run down trailer park and limited themselves to menial work. That is punishment akin to slavery. To satisfy the law, a probational sentence should take care of that part. As Jim said, rehab is supposedly one of the aims of prison life. Twenty seven years of good behavior is a sure sign of rehab. Let us not change the outcome of their behavior.

Genarlo Wilson was tried in a court of law just as the Boucher’s will be. I believe Wilson’s sentence came from the law prohibiting sex activity with a minor. He was sentenced by law, not by the color of his skin but by his activity with a 14 year old. He had not seved any rehab time. His sentence does seem extreme but the law was made to protect minors from sexual predators. While not exactly a predator, Genarloe fell within the age of prosecution. With good prison behavior, he will probably not serve a full ten years.

Those of you who see racial overtones in every criminal indictment should survey the whole scene. The four Duke students who were falsely accused of rape brought no outrage from you. Why is that? What you are showing is pure bigotry and I hope you get over it. Black or white, it does not make you look good. It shows quite clearly that YOU are prejudiced.

Saul Good

May 18th, 2009
10:36 am

I guess if he was in jail for committing a crime against you or one of your family members you’d STILL be saying the same thing…huh Jim???

Get Real

May 18th, 2009
10:37 am

Dusty, Mr. Boucher was tried in a court of law and escaped from jail. And you’re saying he should serve the rest of his sentence on probation for the simple fact that he wasn’t caught for 27 years? Scooter Libby was tried and convicted in a court of law as well. Should he have served his 30 month sentence as well? An excuse me, but your man Wooten wrote this piece. Me calling him out for his hypocrisy doesn’t make me prejudiced. He felt that a 17 year black male who had sex with a 15 year old girl should have the book thrown at him, while someone that robbed a bank and escaped from jail should be allowed to go free. Republicans spout ‘nation of laws’ gibberish as long as they aren’t affected by those very same laws. And my dear, selling junk at a flea market is nowhere near slavery. Nice try though.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

May 18th, 2009
10:42 am

State Street said Monday it would sell new stock and notes to repay the
government’s investment in the company, as large financial institutions
continue to seek an exit from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or
TARP.

But the company, a mutual fund giant and institutional money manager,
also announced Monday it would take a $3.7 billion charge as a result
of bringing entities known as conduits onto its balance sheet.

Many banks have recently announced plans to sell stock and pay down
their TARP investment, which brings with it additional restrictions,
including limits on how much a recipient can pay its top executives.

On Monday, Bloomberg News cited “executives at four of the country’s
biggest financial firms” who said they believe those restrictions would
soon be eased — perhaps made into guidelines as opposed to
requirements.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

May 18th, 2009
10:43 am

David Carr of The New York Times asks in his latest media column: Can
The New York Times Company’s ownership and business be sustained amid
historic changes in the media? The Times also reported that David
Geffen continues to be seriously interested in buying a sizable piece
of The Times Company or taking it over completely.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

May 18th, 2009
10:46 am

BlackRock, the biggest publicly traded U.S. asset manager, said on
Monday the financial crisis may trigger consolidation in the funds
industry where half the firms are either just breaking even or losing
money, Reuters reported.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

May 18th, 2009
10:47 am

The American International Group said it would accelerate plans to
separate its Asian subsidiary through an initial public offering as the
bailed-out U.S. insurer seeks to raise cash and list the unit as soon
as possible.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

May 18th, 2009
10:48 am

The criminal investigation into Bernard L. Madoff’s vast investment
fraud is now focusing on some of his highest-profile investors, The
Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

May 18th, 2009
10:49 am

The founder and manager of Ruderman Capital Partners bilked investors
out of about $44 million while claiming annual returns of as much as 60
percent, prosecutors said.

SMH

May 18th, 2009
10:49 am

*I* was outraged at the atroscity surrounding the four Duke students and spoke out about it, Dusty.

Now, as to the Bouchers, who or what gives them or us the right to say the self-imposed “rehab” that they endured is ok? Was this “rehab” mandated by a judge or jury of his/her peers? Can they pronounce their own sentence and it be considered ok?

27 years of good behavior? They were FUGITIVES! Which means, every day not behind bars, they were considered criminals and law breakers! They were under assumed names, concealing their identity. Gave this false information to school officials, I’m sure when they enrolled their daughter. What kind of info did they use to get her SS number? Oops, methinks they lied on that application! Isn’t that a Federal offense? I rest my case and leave this blog, because truly I can go on and on………..

Peter

May 18th, 2009
11:06 am

Hey Jim……He was an armed robber, did he pay back the money he stole ?

Did Richard Paul Boucher have empathy for the folks he stole the money from at GUNPOINT ?

Ga Values

May 18th, 2009
11:07 am

So Jim do you think we should let William Jefferson off too?

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has refused to delay the upcoming trial of former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson on bribery and other charges.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal by Jefferson to throw out the indictment against him. The former Democratic congressman has argued that prosecutors trampled on his constitutional privileges as a lawmaker.

Jefferson was indicted in 2007 on multiple counts, including soliciting bribes and racketeering. Investigators raided Jefferson’s home and found $90,000 in cash stuffed in a freezer.

A federal judge has set a June 2 trial date in Alexandria, Va.

Jefferson represented parts of New Orleans in Congress, but lost his re-election last year to Republican Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao.

Ga Values

May 18th, 2009
11:10 am

Billy Bob 9:06 am

Still waiting on your list of Georgia Republicans who are CONSERVATIVE..I am sure Saxby & Johnny the Socialist will be at the top of your list.

Jackie

May 18th, 2009
11:13 am

@ Dusty

The persecution of the four Duke students was widely condemned by most citizens, black or white. It was a blatant attempt at gaining POLITICAL advantage to further the political aspirations of the DA.

Can it be argued that there was not racism exhibited in the case of Genralow Wilson and Marcus Dixon?

You are making generalizations without fully divulging case facts.

It appears there is a desire to “fit the obvious outcome to selective facts.”

Jim Jr

May 18th, 2009
11:18 am

First time I that I have ever agreed with Mr. Wooten. They have both served their time and then some!

Peter

May 18th, 2009
11:46 am

HA HA HA……………First time I that I have ever agreed with Mr. Wooten. They have both served their time and then some!

HA HA HA………. yes on the lamb FREE……. bot that is really some punishment for robbing someone with a weapon !

Redneck Convert

May 18th, 2009
11:50 am

Well, Wooten’s up and went soft on us. Here we are, fighting like all get-out to keep a judge with “empathy” off of the Supreme Court, and now Wooten wants us to use it for a stick-up artist and his wife. Just because a criminal goes straight for a few years is no reason to let him off from his crime. Heck, if we done that Karla Faye Tucker would be out in the midst of us, instead of dead. Texas had sense enough not to let her accepting the Lord Jesus Christ get in the way of putting the needle to her. And as best I can tell she done alot of good work while in prison.

No, we got to have Law and Order. The law says this robber was to do hard time and he didn’t. He even hit a guard upside the head.

If you’re going to go soft, change the laws on meth. A little meth never hurt no one except maybe some teeth. But robbery is a crime against Property. And us real Conservatives put Property way up there with God and Fambly Values. We don’t beleive in taking a guy’s Property or taxing it neither.

It’s a good thing Wooten is retiring. He’s allowing Conservative thinking to get mixed up for feeling sorry for somebody or taking pity. Next thing we know he’ll be writing a bunch of librul garbage once in a while when this real Conservative takes over for him at the AJC. Have a good day everybody.

Dusty

May 18th, 2009
12:04 pm

Well, Jackie and others,

I believe Genralow Wilson was accused of breaking the law. The law was not black or white. It was aimed at sexual predators. On what basis do you excuse his behavior? What rehab?

I am not familiar with the details of Marcus Dixon.

Most surely there are cases of discrimination against black citizens. I support your efforts to demand justice in such cases. But you must do the same for injustice to white citizens which also happens. Are you sure you do that? Do you demand justice for all people?

The Bouchers will be in court again for escaping prison. I think they have proved the point that they are not a danger to society and have lived with much loss of independence. Further punishment only seems like vengence, not justice.

Justice with empathy is what Jim Wooten is advocating. I like that.

Billy Bob

May 18th, 2009
12:11 pm

Ga Values

…still waiting on that call from Jaclyn.

Peter

May 18th, 2009
12:11 pm

Hey Dusty….after writing this……..The Bouchers will be in court again for escaping prison. I think they have proved the point that they are not a danger to society and have lived with much loss of independence. Further punishment only seems like vengeance, not justice.

Please tell me how much “Time” was severed for the crimes committed ? Does Jim even Know the answer to that question ?

So I guess the guys running around the world from “Germany”…..those that served in Concentration Camps under Hitler, should now be free from prosecution as well ?

With yours and Jim’s “LOGIC” they shouldn’t be put to trial…….after all they have hidden for all this time…..so they must be good citizens ?

Dusty

May 18th, 2009
12:16 pm

Dear RedNeck,

Speaking of “librul garbage”, you were not even humorous today. Whatsa matter? Golf game got rained out over the weekend? The Mercedes wouldn’t start this morning? The butler didn’t show? Sorry you are so down and out. Cheers!!

Get Real

May 18th, 2009
12:16 pm

Dusty, if justice with empathy is what Wooten is advocating, then there shouldn’t be any negative scribes coming from him when Obama announces his nominee for the Supreme Court, right? And there are a lot of people, both black and white doing hard time for petty, non-violent offenses. Should they break out of jail before completing their sentences, you’d be all for them remaining free right? The man was convicted by a jury of his peers, period. Serving the time he was sentenced to IS justice. If its wasn’t then every criminal could just break out of jail and that would be that.

Elephant Whip

May 18th, 2009
12:19 pm

Dusty and those responding to her:

Genarlo Wilson’s conviction was reversed because the Georgia Supreme Court found the sentence to be cruel and unusual, and he is already out of prison for a year and a half or so.

Apparently the legislature already agreed with that the punishment was cruel and unusual because they had changed the statute before the Georgia Supreme Court heard Wilson’s case. The legislature still hasn’t explained why they did not make it retroactive so that Wilson could be set free as soon as the new law was passed.

And, by the way, he would have served the first ten years of his sentence day-for-day without a chance for parole.

RetLTC

May 18th, 2009
12:25 pm

I wonder if charges would even have been filed had the girl in the Genarlow Wilson Case been black.

Peter

May 18th, 2009
12:26 pm

Well Dusty…it seems that you and Jim are advocating crime today…….. Funny stuff…..

I guess if one of your kids was held up at gun point and robbed, you would be fine with that, especially if you found out down the road say 10 years the poor person who committed the crime had repented, and lived on the lam for that 10 years.

I am sure you would be pleased and thank full said person had gotten away !

Dusty

May 18th, 2009
12:26 pm

Dear Peter,

There is a bit of a difference between assisting in the murder of millions of human beings and one time involvement in a robbery.

Perhaps you cannot see the difference but THERE IS ONE. Think about it.

In the meantime, I am off to assist MY economy. Bye now.

Dusty

May 18th, 2009
12:33 pm

Dear Elephant Whip,

Thanks for the update. Sounds like justice was served in Wilson’s case. Let us hope the same will happen for the Bouchers.

Bye now..

Copyleft

May 18th, 2009
12:34 pm

Get Real: “If justice with empathy is what Wooten is advocating, then there shouldn’t be any negative scribes coming from him when Obama announces his nominee for the Supreme Court, right?”

Don’t be silly. The right-wing columnists are OUTRAGED, positively FURIOUS, with Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and the appalling lack of respect for core American values the nomination displays.

And they’ll tell you why, as soon as they find out who it is. (chuckle)

Peter

May 18th, 2009
12:36 pm

Dusty…

Think about this……..either you committed a crime, and then paid the debt to society, or you didn’t…..

What are you going to say to those thinking of committing their “First Crime”…….if you get caught…….go on the lam, and 27 years later it will be OK ?

BarryG

May 18th, 2009
12:37 pm

Let’s give it up for Vice President Biden to hairlip (pun intended) the disclosure of the VP bunker! Would Cheney not be called for a drawing and quartering had he done this? Day by day these lib buffoons that this nation elected show their incompetence.

“Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president. According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president.”

You can bet had a Republican done this, hearings for a resignation would already be starting. This is just incredible to watch.

Jackie

May 18th, 2009
12:43 pm

@ Dusty

Justice for ALL is the mantra that I support.
It appears that you are only for justice for those that you agree with.

If you and your cohorts would stop to understand the ramifications of what you are doing to lower the support of the Constitution when it comes to justice denied, it is clearly an exhibit relative to understanding your citizenship responsibilities.

kusfg

May 18th, 2009
12:44 pm

the bouchers spent 27 yrs in the same manner and lived like illegal aliens. like aliens that are caught, they should be jailed.

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

May 18th, 2009
12:47 pm

Sure sounds like these two did exactly what most illegal immigrants do.

Based on this column I can assume that Mr. Wooten feels like those illegal immigrants that stay off the radar, don’t pay taxes, don’t get a drivers license, don’t come to the attention of the authorities, etc. should all be granted amnesty or pardons for their crimes when they are caught as well.

Or perhaps he ranks punishment based on how many years the authorities have been avoided? How many years does it take for that “empathy” to kick in?