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On October 11, Municipal Judge Brad Bishop sentenced Carlee Russell to one year in jail and ordered her to pay nearly $18,000 in restitution after being found guilty of faking her own kidnapping.
In municipal court, there is no jury trial. The constitution allows anyone who faces jail time to have their case heard and decided by a jury of their peers.
Russell, a 26-year-old woman from Hoover, Alabama, reported to police on July 15 that she had been abducted two days earlier.
She was reportedly missing for 49 hours.
Russell later claimed that she was forced to drive by a man and woman somewhere remote and then released.
However, according to the facts, none of that ever happened.
Judge Bishop sentenced Carlee Russell after proven lies
Police launched a massive search for Russell, but they were unable to find any evidence to support her claims. After several hours of questioning, Russell admitted that she had made up the story.
She later told police that she had been feeling overwhelmed by personal problems. It is also reportedly said she wanted to escape from her life.
Russell was charged with two misdemeanors: false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident. She pled not guilty to the charges to no avail.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Bishop said that Russell’s actions had wasted police resources and had caused a great deal of distress to her family and friends. He also said that her hoax had eroded public trust in law enforcement.
Despite her plea, Judge Bishop found her guilty based on the recommendation of state prosecutors.
Following her plea, the judge made the procedural decision to find Russell guilty based on Anthony’s apparent stipulation for an appeal; without a verdict, a case cannot be appealed.
“We stipulated an appeal of the case and the reasoning behind it was that they were trying to ask for jail time, which we totally disagree with, all right,” Anthony said. “So, in fairness, it’s no need of having a trial here knowing their position. So we have stipulated an appeal of the case, it will start anew in the Bessemer circuit court.”
Officials said they still do not know where Carlee Russell was during the 49 hours of the search, according to WVTM-13.