Carlee Russell Pleads Not Guilty
Carlee Russell appeared in Hoover Municipal Court on Wednesday (October 11) and pleaded not guilty to charges connected to her kidnapping hoax.
The 26-year-old was charged with false reporting to law enforcement authorities and false reporting an incident – both misdemeanors.
Despite Carlee’s plea, Municipal Judge Brad Bishop found her guilty based on the recommendation of state prosecutors.
Bishop recommended one year in jail and $17,874 in restitution.
He also recommended two fines of $831 each.
Carlee Russell’s attorneys, Emory Anthony and Richard Jaffe, plan to appeal the judge’s decision – especially jail time for a Class A misdemeanor and it’s her first offense.
“If you can find where someone was put in jail for that, bring the file to me and I’ll look at it,’’ he said. “Generally, they’re not put in jail.”
“Restitution, we don’t disagree with that, but to lock her up and put her in jail, we disagree,’’ he said.
Anthony also spoke about concerns for Carlee’s mental health.
I think she understands what has happened. She has apologized. I don’t want her to have a break down.
So, we’re handling her with kit gloves and making sure her mental state is just fine.
We’re dealing with issues with Carlee, and we want the best for Carlee.
We realize a mistake was made but we don’t want to just pile on right now.
On July 13, the 25-year-old called 911 and reported seeing a toddler walking on Interstate 459 in Hoover.
After making the call, Carlee vanished for over 49 hours sparking a massive search for her whereabouts by law enforcement and her community.
Carlee Russell returned to her parent’s home on foot on Saturday, July 15, and told detectives she had been kidnapped by a man and a woman.
She stated she managed to escape and make her way home.
The Hoover Police Department conducted a thorough investigation with the assistance of the FBI and other agencies and peeled Carlee’s lies back like layers of an onion.
Days later, through her attorney, Carlee Russell admitted that she lied about seeing the child on the interstate and she lied about being kidnapped.
She was arrested and released after posting $2,000 bond.
Do you think Carlee Russell should have to serve jail time for her kidnapping hoax?