And the verdict is ---- no clemency, in ANY form, including a pardon.
Ohio's Parole Board releasing it's recommendation -- on a unanimous 8-nothing vote -- on the bid by Akron's Kelley Williams-Bolar to win parole on her records tampering conviction in what's become known as the Akron School Mom case. The Parole Board recommendation goes to Governor Kasich, who is not bound by the decision.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE LIVE BLOG coverage of the Clemency Hearing
The Board rejected arguments her conviction would hold an unfair impact on her ability to finish college and get a teaching certificate. It also clearly turned aside arguments she was a victim of selective prosecution, even noting Williams-Bolar continued to misrepresent herself as living at her father's address. In the parole hearing, members were surprised to learn she'd still used her father's address recently to renew her driver's license.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh commented: “we are pleased that the Ohio Parole Board seriously considered the facts on both sides of this case and ultimately agreed that Ms. Bolar does not deserve clemency.” Walsh added “while I am always happy when a deserving person is given clemency, Ms. Bolar clearly does not fit into that category.”
In it's 16-page decision, the Parole Board noted it did not buy Williams-Bolar's defense that the case was one of an honest mistake and needs to show compliance with the court's sentence, calling her a "wholly undeserving candidate for any type of clemency."
Following careful examination of all the available information in this case, including a hearing to fully consider the merits, the Parole Board voted unanimously to submit an unfavorable recommendation regarding any form of clemency, including a pardon. The ecommendation is based on the following:
Ms. Williams-Bolar claims that her actions were based on her desire to keep her children safe, and had nothing to do with obtaining a better education for them as was widely publicized, as she was not dissatisfied with the education they were receiving at the Akron Public School district. It is difficult for the Board to follow the logic of how her children’s enrollment in a different school district entails keeping her children safe after school, and was the real reason behind her enrollment of her daughters in the Copley-Fairlawn school district. She failed to utilize any legitimate means to resolve this safety issue, the extent to which she could not even recall, including moving in with her father who lives in a five-bedroom 3,000 square foot home, or researching after-school and/or babysitting options. Ms. Williams-Bolar was faced with a no more difficult situation than any other working parent who must ensure that their children are safe during before and after school hours in their absence. Most parents find legitimate and legal options to address this issue. Ms. Williams-Bolar’s only response was to be deceitful.
Ms. Williams-Bolar had the opportunity to move into the district and resolve this situation without any further action by the Copley-Fairlawn District. This particular option was not available to many of the other families that were also investigated. Instead, Ms. Williams-Bolar demonstrated a pattern of deceitful behavior, both before and after her criminal indictment. Moreover, post indictment and conviction behavior that was presented at the clemency hearing demonstrate that she continued this same pattern of conduct and deceitfulness.
The Board also finds that the argument that Ms. Williams-Bolar should be granted a pardon due to the fact that her conviction will preclude her from becoming a teacher is not well-taken. Ms. Williams-Bolar is nowhere near to obtaining a college degree in anydiscipline, let alone in education or early childhood development. To date, she has not been accepted into a degree-granting college at The University of Akron, despite the fact that she has been attending classes on and off since 1988. The consequence of her conviction is not a real harm, as she has hardly made the efforts necessary to obtain a degree to fulfill her desire to become a teacher. The Board does not find it appropriate to recommend a pardon based on a goal that appears unlikely to be sincerely pursued.
The Board Members do not find that this was a case of selective prosecution or an honest mistake on the part of Ms. Williams-Bolar. Rather, she was convicted by a jury, and the sentence of a brief stay in jail and community control is not disparate or disproportionate.
Ms. Williams-Bolar continues to misrepresent herself as living at her father’s residence. She admitted during her clemency hearing that she had her driver’s license renewed and listed her father’s address as recently as a few weeks ago. She does not seem to understand nor accept the fact that the Black Pond address is not her legal residence, when she has resided and continues to reside at the Hartford Avenue address.
Finally, the Board finds that Ms. Williams-Bolar needs to demonstrate compliance with the court’s sentence, community supervision, and a substantial period of time in the community, without similar behavior, prior to clemency being considered. At this point in time, Ms. Williams-Bolar is a wholly undeserving candidate for any type of clemency.
Following consideration of available information, the Ohio Parole Board, with eight (8) members participating, recommends to the Honorable John R. Kasich, Governor of the State of Ohio, by a vote of eight (8) to zero (0), that Clemency in any form including a pardon should not be granted.
"The law of the State of Ohio and the policy of the Copley-Fairlawn City School District is that a tuition-free education will be provided only to those school age children whose parents or legal guardians are bona fide residents of the District. The Copley-Fairlawn School District has neither the capacity -- not the legal authority -- to expend taxpayer dollars to finance the education of those students who are not residents. In the circumstance of Ms. Williams-Bolar, the Board of Education was repeatedly lied to and intentionally deceived in an effort to circumvent both the law and Board policy. As such, the jury correctly applied the law and unanimously found her guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of laws that are appropriately crafted and measured to protect public institutions from being intentionally defrauded. The judge responded with appropriate sentencing, given the Defendant's wholesale refusal to accept any responsibility for her actions. Any effort to reduce or otherwise mitigate the verdict or the sentence under these facts would communicate exactly the wrong message and result in a significant hardship for Copley-Fairlawn Schools and many other districts in Ohio who are similarly situated, i.e. those districts which have a fiduciary duty to the voters and taxpayers of their communities."