home

Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride

The grand jury threw the proverbial book at the Runaway Bride today, charging her both with misdemeanor false reporting of a crime and the more serious felony offense of making a false statement to a police officer.

Jennifer Willbanks has been in a residential treatment facility for weeks. What a waste of resources. The county should have filed a civil suit to recoup the search damages and someone should have sued the media for making the rest of us watch a week of 24/7 coverage of the story.

< Stupid Arrest of the Week | Chronology of Bush Statements as Abu Ghraib Unfolded >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#1)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    Why dont we just declare breathing a crime and get it over with?

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#2)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    We are all criminals.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    I think in light of her obvious psychiatric issues, TL is right. A waste of money. And amazing how much in-depth coverage this got in a few days compared to the "war". If only the massacre at Fallujah, for example, had gotten such concerned attention. BTW, Harrison Ford is set to star in the movie version of the Fallujah "operation", which is supposed to be out next year. I wish I were kidding. And as much as I wish it were an honest, critical look at this inferno, I suspect it's going to be the worst kind of Hollywood propaganda.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    The companies advertising on the TV networks have made enough money from products sold from commercials run during the news story, they could fork over some money to defray the costs.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    What a waste of resources. The county should have filed a civil suit to recoup the search damages.... What? Why? Against whom? Did she try to make it look like she had been abducted? Did she try to make it look like there was foul play? The media played the authorities so they could get cheap content for their 24 hour cycle. As you go on to say, sue the media, but not for making us watch it. The county should sue the media to recoup at least the extra resource wasted due to media hype.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    I'm disturbed by the number people so quick to condemn this young woman. Perhaps we should consider her dilemma in the context of historical patriarchy. Off times in the past women who fled from matrimony were hospitalized against their will or condemned to insane Asylum's. After all any woman who refuses to wed a fine upstanding prospers Christian gentleman must be insane. This was the thinking in the 18th and 19th century. Today the pressure for women to marry, especially in the context of conservative Christianity, is often relentless. Pressure from friends, family and parishioners in such situations can be overwhelming for young women. Virginia Woolf exposed this patriarchal construct long ago, how quickly we forget the power of patriarchy in our society. All I had to see was her pastor on television talking about how she needs help, with that intonation that says there must be something wrong with her, for me to suspect was really happening in her life. I have a great deal of compassion for her, and for any woman pushed into such scenarios, which are still prevalent around the globe today.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    Have all the compassion you want...did she or didn't she break a law? You want to let her off the hook because she's "oppressed?" Better let all the blacks out while you're at it...

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:18 PM EST
    Bottom line: She filed a phoney police report. That is against the law! period!

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:19 PM EST
    And why shouldn't the mitigating circumstances be considered here? She only filed the report after the local townsfolk and the media decided this would make great fodder for the 24/7 newscycle, and started up yet another episode in the "missing young white female" merry-go-round.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#10)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:19 PM EST
    Hannity and TL agreeing. Who woulda thunk it possible?

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:20 PM EST
    Even a stopped clock like Hannity is right twice a day.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    I actualy think she got exactly what she deserved! She created the hysteria, blamed it on a Hispanic man and claimed she was raped. She's an embarrassment to women everywhere!! It' not like she didn't already have a criminal record!! The girl's a sociopath, stupid but not crazy!

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Kudos to Danny Porter and the Grand Jury!! Keep up the good work.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#14)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Wow! Nice blood lust we have here! Why dont you save that urge to burn people at the stake for robbers, murderers and theives?

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Jennifer Wilbanks found herself in over her head planning a wedding befitting Phillips Arena, not a suburban Atlanta church. She cracked under self-induced strain, over a single day and thousands of dollars to put on a show for a bunch of folks who won't be there when she really needs them. That's basically all weddings are. I'm not a big believer in big weddings. They're a waste of money and just create a bunch of stress. You'd figure that conservative Christians, adhering to repeated admonitions in the Bible to avoid doing anything in excess, wouldn't mind saving all that dought and doing something more useful with it. Again, let me encourage everyone here to read this particular post on another website. I'm convinced that if Jennifer Wilbanks got married this way, she would've saved herself (and everyone else) a whole lot of grief.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Blagh and his darling wife eloped and got married with a minister and two witnesses because her Palestinian parents (refugees from TWO countries, first Palestine then Lebanon) felt they were above a mixed-race Canadian...isn't that rich? Best thing we ever did, too... As for this RAB, f*#k her and the chick who'll play her in the movie... 1. If you're under pressure to do well on a test and you CHEAT, do you get a pass? 2. If you're under pressure to produce for your country and TAKE STEROIDS, do you get a pass? 3. This chick either broke the law or she didn't, and that's what the trial will determine...who the f#*k wants to let her off and why? 'Cause she's "sympathetic?" What the hell happened to "equal application of the law?" Blagh is so sick and tired of double standards...

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#17)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Blagh, "Mitigation" is a universal (almost) concept at sentencing. Mental illness is a common mitigator. Are you saying that she should be treated like anyone else? Then fine, let her present her mitigation.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#19)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Blagh, The extent of mental illness that you are referring to is quite high, and it would lead to a not guilty. A lesser standard can apply in this type of case as mitigation. Usually I find you quite rational, what is pushing your buttons on this pour soul?

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#20)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    whoops! Make that "poor"

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#21)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    Roger: Blagh might just be a little grumpy today...but the fact remains that "mitigating factors," while legitimate, should be considered after the fact. If she's suspected of committing a crime, and there are mitigating factors, bring them into court where they can be appraised...to let her off the hook clean is to insult every law-abiding citizen who might have fallen afoul of the law and not been "given a break." Let's be fair, is all Blagh's saying... And as for mental illness, Blagh doesn't feel that's a mitigating factor...it would render the need for charges or punishment moot, since the person was not responsible for their actions. Small example: When Blagh was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, it came about when he kicked out a punk's car window in a road rage confrontation...Blagh was charged with mischief and subsequently was diagnosed, after much kerfuffle he won't go into, and he took his little shrink's note to court and the good judge said, "This charge is deferred under the mental health provisions blah blah blah..." Point is, Blah went through the process and didn't complain about it. He didn't expect to be "let off the hook" with some sob story- he accepted the charge and let a judge decide what should happen... That's all Blagh is saying should happen here- let a judge and perhaps a jury decide if they'll punish her for wasting their tax dollars...it's society's right when a law is broken... To not even go through the process affords this woman a right that not many others, and certainly hardly any poor and minorites are afforded... Does Blagh make any sense?

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#22)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    Blagh, Makes perfect sense. If charged, I would suggest that she get treated just as you were (not always a given here). BUT- the persecutor has discretion in who to charge. They could have just had a "friendly chat" about mental health treatment.

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#23)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    Yes, but Blagh is very uncomfortable about prosecutors having "friendly chats" while playing "who gets to face the jury?" NOW that she's been charged is the time to produce whatever evidence you have that she should either have the charges dropped or receive a light sentence if she's not found mentally incompetent but it is obvious that she is not a hardened and dangerous criminal. Blagh draws the line at deciding whether or not to charge...that's NOT the police's nor the prosecutor's job...their job is to investigate a suspected crime, to lay a charge if there is sufficient evidence, and any prosecutor working under Blagh who played footsies with defendants while deciding whether or not to proceed with the charges would be out of a job, but quick. People, the law is not a cute game...it is a serious business, and if Blagh is ever going to wind up in court, he refused to accept that others may have gotten more preferential treatment than him, and he likewise waives any claim to preferential treatment to ensure that all is square across the board... Blagh respectfully disagrees with TL on this one...she appears to have broken more than one law in this little "Julia Roberts up-coming tear-jerker," and she has to face the music. We should all expect nothing less, if we are to trust in our judicial systems...

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#24)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    Blagh, Let me enlighten you a little about the system. Prosector's offices have an intake division (here we have it for everything except DUI- where we get people charged who blow zero's--really). These intake dept.s decide who to charge, and who not to. Sometimes they request additional info from the police, sometimes they interview victims, or others. Part of their job is to decide who gets charged and who does not. The position has, unavoidably, quite a bit of discretion. Usually the tendency is to overcharge, and let the judges and juries make the hard decisions. This position, however, is not required, nor is it universal. I have some cases where I contact intake. Sometimes, cases (including homocides) can just go "poof"....

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#25)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    Is that good or bad?

    Re: Grand Jury Indicts the Runaway Bride (none / 0) (#26)
    by HK on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:24 PM EST
    Normally I agree with this site, but not totally this time. I don't feel that the county should file a civil suit to recoup the search costs. Go for the misdemeanor and a small fine tops, but they do not deserve restitution for their search costs. The woman did not call in her own abduction during the time when most searching was going on, if she had, then she should pay the amount for her search. She did not, so she should not pay. There was a period of one hour according to news reports where the police were informed by the woman she had been abducted. Any work done investigating this as a crime in that short time period could be eligible for restitution. Other than that, they were doing their job, and they shouldn't receive restitution. They decided on their own to spend that much money after that short of a time period. Of course this is just the opinion of a non-lawyer person so I could always be completely wrong, but it is still my opinion. -HK