Policewoman Goes To Jail Because She Couldn't Be Bothered To Arrest A Suspect
Prison is an unfortunate place to spend a year, especially if you've dedicated your life to law enforcement. But that is the fate of Constable Michele Selby, who failed to detain a man who appeared to be breaking into a Chinese restaurant in Dunbartonshire, U.K., because she had other stuff to do.
At 5.30 a.m., Selby and her partner on-duty Mechelle Maley, found a man with a red-handled screwdriver, crowbar and wrench fiddling with the restaurant's door, The Daily Mail reports.
He claimed that he was fixing it. Selby wasn't convinced, and did a background check on the man, who had six previous convictions. Selby knew that he was trying to break-in, she told him, and if she didn't have another call to take he'd be on his way to jail. She just confiscated his tools instead.
That call wasn't actually a call. Selby's previous obligation was delivering letters to a police station.
Maley, 23, claimed that she didn't feel confident enough to challenge Selby, 38, but later reported the incident to her superiors.
On Thursday, Selby was convicted of trying to defeat the ends of justice.
"I made a mistake," she admitted to the court, "it wasn't intentional, it wasn't willful, it wasn't evil. I didn't start my shift and say, 'I'm going to defeat the ends of justice today.' "
When he passed the sentence, Sheriff Richard Clark told Selby: 'I recognize that the effect of this conviction is catastrophic for you."
Jail time certainly is no boon to a sheriff's career; Selby has since resigned from the force.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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