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Tom Head

Two Sentences

By June 23, 2011

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Earlier today, Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow (@JPBarlow) highlighted two recent news stories that demonstrate the degree to which the U.S. criminal justice system casually crushes the lives of poor defendants, while coddling the rich.

The story of 54-year-old Roy Brown, a homeless man who couldn't afford to pay basic food and shelter expenses, is heartbreakingly cruel:
A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
The day after this story appeared, prosecutors celebrated the fact that they were able to get a 40-month prison sentence for investment tycoon Paul R. Allen, who defrauded lenders of more than $3 billion.

I was outraged but not surprised; Roy Brown is black and homeless, while Paul R. Allen is white and extremely wealthy. I had seen the same dynamic play out in Mississippi, where Jamie and Gladys Scott were given double life sentences for their possible indirect involvement in an $11 robbery. Barbour has since begrudgingly allowed their conditional release, but did not pardon or commute their sentences outright--as he did for four men convicted of murdering their wives or girlfriends.

Racism and class bias are central to the way our criminal justice system operates--and the purpose of "tough on crime" rhetoric is still, more often than not, to "protect" men like Paul R. Allen from men like Roy Brown. It is less a matter of preventing crime than it is insulating lives that are valued, under the old formula, from lives that aren't.


June 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm
(1) Cathal says:

I can find the story about Paul R. Allen online but I can’t find anything about the Roy Brown story other than the picture that @JPBarlow tweeted and this article. Based on this, I don’t think the Roy Brown story is true

June 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm
(2) Tom Head says:

Glenn Greenwald covered it this week on Salon.com; the original source seems to be a freelanced DigitalJournal.com article, but I’ve been able to independently confirm that there is a Roy Brown with the same birthdate (7/24/54) in the Louisiana prison system by using the VINELink inmate locator system.

June 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm
(3) Genuine Realist says:

No one, but no one, who commented on this situation, seems to have even asked what prior record this guy had. It makes all the difference.

June 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm
(4) Alice Harris says:

Priors or not, I bet the entire losses attributable to the poor man’s crimes doesn’t made a hundredth of a percent of the losses caused by the rich man’s. The punishment does not come close.

June 26, 2011 at 2:17 am
(5) Kate Clark says:

Offender Name: ROY BROWN
Offender ID: 94441
Date of Birth: 07/24/1954
Age: 56
Race: African American
Gender: Male

Custody Status: In Custody
Location of Offender: Madison Parish Detention Center

June 26, 2011 at 3:57 am
(6) Cathal says:

@Cathal Wonderful, because you cannot find the information it couldn’t possibly be true. I was able to verify Brown but regardless we know things like this happen. You know the Scott case happened and it is just one of many examples of extreme inequality in our justice system.

June 26, 2011 at 4:01 am
(7) michael says:

@Genuine Realist Did you ask yourself what priors Paul Allen may of had? Priors or not the punishment does not fit the crime. Repeat child molesters often get less time than 15 years.

June 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm
(8) Tom Head says:

The fact that anyone would defend this sentencing disparity is horrifying.

June 29, 2011 at 10:42 am
(9) ricotomo says:

join the facebook support group for roy brown

June 29, 2011 at 10:44 am
(10) anonymous says:

i cant confirm this but i believe he had 8 prior offenses

June 30, 2011 at 7:23 am
(11) Lakrasia says:

Kate, I’d like to know the url where you got this information. I can find no reliable source about the Roy Brown story. It seems to have originated from a post on Twitter.

June 30, 2011 at 7:35 am
(12) Lakrasia says:

Actually, the robbery was committed by someone with a completely different name.

Pity writers don’t check their sources. Also a shame so many people have wasted time joining a campaign because of this story.


July 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm
(13) Martijn says:

Allen was not guilty of perpatrating the fraud, but of aiding and abetting his superior, Lee B. Farkas, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison without parole.

The comparison between these articles is not what it seems.

July 4, 2011 at 11:23 am
(14) I see says:

@Lakrasia That robbery happened months earlier than the Roy Brown one. Besides, that suspect has a hispanic name and is ~30 years younger.

July 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm
(15) Jasmine says:

Funny, I found a link (via the Wayback Machine) to a local news article about Roy Brown in about 5 minutes of googling.


July 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm
(16) Mystic says:

“@ Martijn says : Allen was not guilty of perpatrating the fraud, but of aiding and abetting his superior, Lee B. Farkas, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison without parole.

The comparison between these articles is not what it seems.”

The Scott sisters were found guilty of aiding and abetting a robbery, and received life sentences; they also had no priors….meaning you just unwittingly brought us to a comparison between sentences that is even more spot-on that originally claimed.

July 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm
(17) Beth says:
July 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm
(18) B says:

FOX News insists on calling rich people “job creators”. It’s important for Paul R. Allen to be out of prison creating jobs for the American people! (wink wink)

August 5, 2011 at 7:35 am
(19) LanthanumK says:

This definitely is backwards; repentant criminals should be awarded a much lighter sentence.

August 7, 2011 at 11:06 am
(20) turkeydancer says:

Lakrasia, you are referencing a bank robbery that happened 7 months before this one did… there’s enough outrage in me thinking about all the effort, money, and time has been wasted dealing with a complete non-offense (the money was given back) that I don’t even have time to think about how one man’s life has been ruined here.

September 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm
(21) Patrick Conlon says:

The author of this article attempts to deceive the reader by a lie of omission. He failed to mention that the $100 bank robber was convicted of first degree robbery. You see, during the robbery he held his hand under his jacket to insinuate he had a gun, which makes it an armed robbery.

This kind of dishonesty is far too common.

September 20, 2011 at 1:26 am
(22) Michael F says:

Patrick Conlon: So your telling me that because this guy “faked” having a gun that it is armed robbery? what part of this is armed? HE DIDN’T HAVE A GUN!!! You have successfully pointed out how our system once again punishes someone for something that never happpened. its not good enough he was being sentenced for robbery but its armed too, and without an actual weapon to boot. I think the bigger picture here is over your head, but that would require you to take your head out your a$$. You sir are a grade A idiot out to misdirect people and lessen the fact that this highlights some inconsistency in our justice system. Your part of the problem

September 25, 2011 at 6:52 pm
(23) Lou P says:

Michael P: regards your comment towards Patrick Conlon. Sir, you are a paragon of virtue and honesty in a world where none value either. I like to believe that more men such as yourself populate our great nation. If so, I will sleep well knowing all hope is not lost. (By which I mean to say. Shut your piehole, douche. You obviously know rat-dick about the law and should know that every state and even the Feds consider it ARMED ROBBERY if the criminal even hints at having a weapon. Have you never watched an episode of FBI Files or other such crime shows? Too busy with your head up Snooki’s ass? Please put down the remote, climb from your mother’s basement and jump off of the nearest tall structure, bridge or cliff.) Hugs!

October 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm
(24) aaron saxton says:

True, we dont know the black mans history – but we know the white guys – and that is what should be highlighted. Hell, for 3 Billion I would do 3 years jail! What is that? About 3 Million a day – sweet deal.

October 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm
(25) Steve Thomas says:

I came here to find out more about this outrageous sentencing disparity. I leave feeling sad for the entire human race. Some of the comments here are despicable in their lack of empathy.

October 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm
(26) buddhafulamama says:

CAthal ~ check out roy brown, 2009 – that’s when it took place in Louisiana.

October 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm
(27) Lenn says:

The fact that someone doesn’t actually have a weapon during a robbery is irrelevant. If the robber makes himself appear as though he has a weapon, then for all intents and purposes he does. That is why most folks will cooperate with the robber—after all, nobody wants to guess wrong and get shot—and why the police will approach the robber as though he is actually armed.

October 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm
(28) George says:

@Lenn, So you mean to tell me that there can be no murder trial without a weapon, but a man can be sentenced for armed robbery without one? You sir have no grounds to stake your claim upon. If I come at you in an alley way and tell you to give me your wallet because I’m a black belt in martial arts, should I be charged with armed robbery as well? After all, a black belt must register their hands as lethal weapons right? Wrong. It is a myth, and there is no registry of Steven Seagals. So too, is Brown’s “possession of a firearm”. Without PHYSICAL PROOF of a firearm in his hand there can be no substantial proof of armed robbery. For all anyone knows, he had his lucky rock from when he was a kid in his inner coat pocket. Sound ridiculous and absurd? So too does a man being convicted of armed robbery without physical proof or presence of a weapon. So too does our legal system having the ability to sentence a man so harshly AND illegally.

October 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm
(29) GiGi says:

Living only 8 miles from the Texas/Louisiana state line & less than 25 miles from Shreveport, I remember the story about Roy Brown. Information missing from this is a couple of facts. In 1994 Louisiana adopted a Three Strikes sentencing law. Also missing is the fact that Roy Brown had at least 8 prior arrests. These were because of the crimes of … fugtive status, parole violations, battery, assault, criminal neglect of his family, DWI, as well as possession of marijuana … criminal activity, on his part, going back to the year 1988.

In an ideal world there would be such a thing as the truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth that goes along with stories that have gone viral, such as this.

Seems, to me, that those who are upset about the injustice in this country, of which there are countless cases … would desire to find someone other than the career criminal, Mr. Roy Brown, to represent their case.

October 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm
(30) JP says:

This story is an example of everything that’s wrong with the internet — a bunch of people read something that hasn’t been verified and then they rush to scream bloody murder about something they don’t know anything about.

No legitimate news source has picked-up this story, and there is virtually no information about Roy Brown available. Several people have mentioned that they’ve been able to trace a long criminal history attributed to someone with this name, but again there’s been no verification.

The uproar over this vapor story is ridiculous. There are plenty of verifiable examples of misjustice of this nature and focusing on something like this diminishes all of them.

October 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm
(31) Luke says:

@George. You seem very confused about the law so I will try to clear some things up for you.
-”So you mean to tell me that there can be no murder trial without a weapon, but a man can be sentenced for armed robbery without one” Not accurate. Murder trials occur all the time despite the lack of a murder weapon. Trials are often based on circumstantial evidence and not direct evidence (weapon), ie. Casey Anthony trial. And yes, a man can be sentenced for armed robbery even if no weapon is present. If the actor “threatens another with, or intentionally puts him in fear of immediate serious bodily injury.” In other words, if you act like you have a weapon and i reasonably believe that you have weapon and that you are going to use it to hurt me, its armed robbery. Your physical proof argument is not valid. I hope I helped.

October 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm
(32) Luke says:

@JP. Agree completely. This story has not been verified. “Roy Brown” may have 15 prior felonies (if he actually does exist.)

If you all want to speak your opinion on injustices that aren’t internet hoaxes, go to http://www.innocenceproject.org/

October 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm
(33) fagai says:

Viral stories are easy to get blown out of proportion, but personally, I don’t reckon criminal history and The Law are so relevant here; viral exaggeration or not, you’ve got to admit that this story reflects some truth in the failures of modern society and this structure that the people rely on for justice.

I mean, Mr. Roy Brown’s life of crime, drugs and violence had led him down this alleyway of dark, hungry desperation…how amazing that after all that he still managed to turn himself in, repentant of what he’d done! Only to be slapped with a 15yr sentence, of course…. Well, at least he’s got food and shelter for free now and for the next 10 years or so… perhaps that’s why he did it! How sad if that were true.

Compared to the (wild assumption on my part) well-educated, undoubtedly cushy life of Mr. Paul R. Allen (who will be out of prison again soon I take it?), who could not feel compassion for Roy?

October 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm
(34) becky says:

I agree that there is no actual story to this and this is just a commentary so details were surely left out on Roy Brown’s story. I have grown up in the system, now work in the system….adults don’t go hungry….sorry, i challenge that. people don’t have any “good” food—that’s true, but not starving!!! AND it’s interesting that they don’t give what the statement was from the judge. They don’t just throw time out—they explain why they chose this amount of time—-I’m sure that this is like the National Enquirer and parts of the story are left out. The premise of the story and the lack of fairness in the system is old news…..give me a story of how to fix it!!

October 12, 2011 at 6:44 am
(35) RS says:

If the law says that an “armed robbery” with a fictional weapon is identical to one with an actual weapon, then the law is stupid. How does it make any sense that they would legally be treated the same? Can someone explain that to me?

The teller was never in any actual danger, so the only real difference between an imaginary gun and no gun at all, is that he perhaps had a higher probablility of success.

October 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(36) mookie says:

Lakrasia I live in Vt and my friend posted this story on facebook. I looked into it and found Captial One was robbed twice, once by Roy Brown and on another day by Lewis Cortez. If you look at the photo released by the bank, you can clearly see Roy and Lewis look nothing alike. If you go to the Louisianna Court House site under civil and criminal records you can find Roy Browns priors DOB 7/24/1954 I got that from his mug shot. He has 7 priors ranging from resisting an officer, domestic abuse, theft with property damage…. gun or no gun but you make it seem like you have one, they still consider it armed robbery. 15yrs is a long time, but I dont know what the law in LA says about people with priors and committing a felony.

October 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm
(37) Geriberi says:

If you pretend to have a gun for the purpose of robbing a bank, you are potentially endangering everyone around you. A guard would have no way of knowing that you didn’t have a real gun, and could pull his weapon. For this reason, the teller WAS in danger. If the police were called to the bank with an alarm, it could have been a very bad situation.

October 19, 2011 at 4:12 am
(38) Zinka says:

@mookie, could you please provide a link to the information you found? I haven’t been able to find it. Thanks.

October 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm
(39) Lindsay says:

To anyone who has seen or “shared” this comparison between the Paul Allen (CEO) /Roy Brown (homeless man) case:

The comparison suggests the “injustice” of the system for giving Allen 3 years for his involvement in a $3 billion dollar fraud case, while a poor homeless man got 15 for stealing $100 from a bank.

Paul Allen was basically CEO in title only. He didn’t actually commit the fraud, but he knew something about it. He was punished (3 years in jail) for doing nothing in the face of that knowledge. Lee Farkas, the guy who actually was in charge of all the fraudulent activity, got a THIRTY year sentence.

The homeless man, Roy Brown, committed ARMED robbery, a potentially violent crime that could have taken the lives of others, regardless of the amount he took. He got a 15 year sentence.


October 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm
(40) jared says:

The judge did the homeless man a favor by providing him food and shelter for the next 15 years. He’s an older man with no hope for a future, now he lives better than some half his age. He’s probably thankful for being thrown in jail, he probably staged the entire robbery to get thrown into jail so he would not be on the streets. Sounds like he worked the system, not the other way around.

October 20, 2011 at 3:34 am
(41) Tandem says:

@Genuine Realist

I don’t think someone who’s a repeated offender would really turn themselves in. A person with that mentality would have waited to get caught. Not only that, but I

October 20, 2011 at 11:54 am
(42) Sobriety says:

If the man had prior convictions, who’s to say those sentences weren’t handled improperly?

And how has nobody mentioned the sobering up bit? If Police had to give him a couple days to sober up, we wasn’t spending that $100 on food and was likely homeless for a reason.

October 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm
(43) Rodney Campbell says:

Thieves should have their hands chopped off. That being said the biggest difference is one doesn’t want to be in prison and the other had to want 3 hots and a cot, you don’t rob a bank of only $100 then turn yourself in the next day unless this is your goal.

October 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm
(44) Rebecca says:

The story is real, it happened in 2009 ktbs.com is an official news site for that area and the article is on there. Anyone who defends this injustice is basically the reason why our country is as socially screwed up as it is. Yes he committed, “armed” robbery, but it was for 100$ which is what he chose to take (the teller handed him a stack of hundreds) and then he ended up giving it back anyway. seriously people? This is RIDICULOUS

October 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm
(45) Daryl says:

Hey now he is getting, medical, clothing, housing, free food, people to talk to, showers, more than any other bum can vouch for, all at the cost of american tax dollars.. He knew what he was doing think he wants to sleep on the streets anymore with nothing? Ide rather be in prison too cant go any where… not like he was able to go anywhere before.
As for the people defending him, if he would have stuck something to your head and said give me your money, then walked off and came back 5 min later saying im sorry i highly DOUBT you would be nice to him..come on absolutely not realistic!

October 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm
(46) Shirley says:

Have any of you heard of the three-strikes law? I did an essay in a college english class about the over crowding in the federal prison system and learned all about this. It is a law that states if someone is a habitual offender (probably Roy Brown, but I can’t seem to find much info on his case), and the third “strike” is of violent nature (robbing a bank definitely qualifies as violent– even if he had a gun or not, he was pretending to have one and things could have gone seriously wrong, a security guard could have caught on to him and he could panick and someone can get hurt).. then that person is sentenced to 15 years to life. Given that his sentence was exactly 15 years, it makes sense to me that he is a victim of this law and the judge gave him as much leniency as the law allowed by only giving him 15 years. And lets not forget that he obviously (at least to me it is obvious) committed the crime to be put in jail. Now he is getting fed every day and has shelter. And a lot of people make the mistake of saying “well prison is so much worse than being on the streets” as far as violence is concerned. People claim that going to jail even if it means food and shelter isn’t worth it. But are you that man? The streets aren’t exactly safe, I don’t know what kind of bubble you people live in. And at least in jail there are security guards who can catch the violence. Whereas on the streets, if you get caught up in something bad, the likelyhood of a cop or someone being around is nill. You have to take that beating without any hope that someone can break it up.

October 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm
(47) Paul Allen says:

I’d really like to thank people like Lindsay and the others who have basically defended me. America needs more of you!

October 21, 2011 at 11:27 am
(48) Julie says:

It’s true. Check it through Snopes.com: http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/roybrown.asp

October 21, 2011 at 11:42 am
(49) KD says:

Article about the story from the local


October 21, 2011 at 11:43 am
(50) KD says:

Article about the story from the local



October 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm
(51) Mike says:

Big difference between these crimes. The first is a “paper” crime that was not actually perpetrated by the defendant, but is guilty of aiding and abetting. The second is a “violent” crime, due to the weapon charge, actually perpetrated by the defendant. If Brown had only aided and abetted the robbery, he would have received less than 3 years. Bank robbery, regardless of how much you take, is a Federal Crime and the sentences are very strict (thank Bonnie and Clyde for that). In the frud case, if there had been no money involved, it would have been difficult to get a conviction. In Brown’s case, as soon as you demand money that isn’t yours, he has committed a crime, even if he only took a penny. He would have been better off if he had robbed a convenience store, without claiming to have a firearm, instead. At least he’s no longer homeless.

October 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm
(52) JayCee says:

for those that believe everything they read with out understanding the entire picture…. Read the article in its entirety Paul Allen didn’t pull of the scam….Mr. Allen was not treated as a CEO. He did not function as a CEO. Allen’s lawyer argued for leniency on the theory that Allen was CEO in name only. The real mastermind was Farkas, who kept Allen out of the loop on much of the company’s day-to-day operations, according to trial testimony. Farkas is doing life in prison….. this is taken totally out of context. Do you think that the homeless man was a first timer? Maybe he is a violent criminal that has multiple strikes… This is a Joke!

October 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm
(53) David says:

Why am I not surprised that the racists, xenophobes, and Fox News junkies are out in full force on this comment thread, going through every contortion imaginable to defend what is indefensible. “Paul Allen wasn’t really a CEO” “Roy brown does not exist” “Oh, he does exist, but he was busted for marijuana possession, so this makes the sentence legitimate” etc.

What a tremendous load of bovine skat. You all should be ashamed of yourselves, but instead you’ll all likely head home to your barca-loungers, pop open a cold one, and throw on some Sean Hannity to get your patriotic blood flowing.

October 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(54) Theresa says:

If Brown had no violent prior convictions, his sentence is appalling. But keep in mind that the sentence isn’t, and shouldn’t be, solely about the money. Brown’s crime involved an apparent threat of deadly force. Whether or not he actually had the means to use deadly force, his robbery was based on making the teller believe he did. He doesn’t get to say “ha, ha– just kidding” after the fact.

October 22, 2011 at 1:19 am
(55) Karim says:

Amen to your comment David.
Thank you

October 22, 2011 at 1:59 am
(56) Zed says:

Shirley: October 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

“It is a law that states if someone is a habitual offender (probably Roy Brown, but I can’t seem to find much info on his case)…”

“Probably Roy Brown”? Why “probably”?
Nothing was mentioned in the few brief articles about his case, but “innocent until proven guilty” is so old-fashioned, isn’t it?

October 22, 2011 at 9:20 am
(57) Chip says:
October 23, 2011 at 10:20 am
(58) Adam says:

Ok, so I just called the Department of Corrections (225-383-4580), and using his name and DOB (Roy Brown, 7/24/1954), I obtained his Dept. Of Corrections ID (00094441). He is located at Madison Detention Center with an earliest possible rlease of Dec. 5, 2022, 15 years from the crime.

October 27, 2011 at 4:12 am
(59) Benjamin E. says:

To clear up the record: Roy Brown was NOT CHARGED WITH ARMED ROBBERY. Armed robbery requires you to have a weapon and is sentenced with 10-99 years in jail.

He was charged with *first-degree robbery* – this is a SEPARATE crime involving theft where you make the other person believe you have a weapon, though you do not. The sentencing range is significantly lower: 3-40 years, depending on the circumstances.

Given no other evidence, 15 years seems a much higher part of the range than deserved for his crime. But again, we do not know the rest of the story. If indeed there is no more to the story, I very much agree: something is wrong. Not with the law, I would say, but with the part of the system that doesn’t systematize that breakdown better.

If there is more to the story, however, I can’t really say.

November 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm
(60) Kameron says:


David, this is a civilized comment thread regarding the **possible** injustice of an underprivileged person taken advantage of by the U.S. legal system. I’m a liberal too, but damn, not only did your comment have nothing to do with Roy Brown or the case itself, but it was simply an incredibly opinionated and hateful one-sided condescending bash on racists and conservatives (what’s more is you wrongfully linked the two together).

This is a thread for debating and arguing in order to help each other find out about the truth. However you simply took advantage of the situation and screamed your biased nonfactual opinion. I don’t think your comment belongs here.

As for the topic at hand, after looking up Louisiana Sate law, Benjamin E., I completely agree with you. There simply isn’t enough information to make assumptions and blanket statements about this to really say anything. If everything stated in the two articles that exists (the local news station one and the digitaljournal- only things I could find) are true, then although it completely abides by Louisiana Law, it is wrong. But we just need more information. And I think that with all the falsified media and reporting in this world/country, we have to be at least somewhat skeptical. Of everything.

November 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm
(61) Kameron says:

Also, at what Luke was saying, this website, which helps prevent future injustice, is really cool. I recommend checking it out.


November 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm
(62) koaneyes says:

One way to look at this situation is as follows: From the point of view of opportunities potentially presented to you, would you rather be born and spend your life as an “African American” or {light-haired, fair skinned and light eyed”? When you reflect upon that question, you may notice the injustice of the situation.

November 28, 2011 at 12:37 am
(63) Joslyn says:

I liked to know where this Roy Brown is so that we could send him some money on his books at least send him something for Christmas this was not right what happened to him. If any one here has any ways of finding this out or anything please let me know I am at shylowlove1279@gmail.com thank you.

December 1, 2011 at 10:33 am
(64) joe says:

politicians and the super rich need to be held accountable for their actions. It doesn’t matter if Paul Allen personally committed the crime or not, he watched 3 BILLION dollars get stolen and remained silent. Directly responsible or not, 3 billion dollars missing is quite a bit more of a problem than 100.

December 20, 2011 at 10:52 am
(65) Renita says:

To Cathal. Goggle Homeless man gets 15 years. Roy robbed the Capital One bank. It is a true story. For that amount of time he should have taken more money. you get 15 year for murder.

December 23, 2011 at 10:31 pm
(66) Albert says:

Look I do not know why this is so amazing. You have a poor black man and a rich white man. I do not know why people act so indignant, about the fact that a black man received a much harsher sentence than a white man.

America was founded by white men. The white men are the ones that have taken all the risk, through out history and devoted their whole life to making sure there is an American.

Minorities all they have done is take take and take. Blacks make up 13.6% of the population yet they commit 90% of violent crimes. They need to be put away like the animals they are.

Has anyone looked at the news lately, those dam Michael Jordan shoes you see every dam black in the neighborhood, who has no job, no money to pay bills, or pay child support, yet they have money to go buy a pair of 180 dollar shoes, and bullets to fire off in a crowd.

Come on folks they are doing this man a favor. Now he has a warm place to live, 3 square a day, and nice new shoes with clean clothe to wear every single day. He isn’t in any street corner trying to clean off some ones windshield with a nasty smelly snot ridden rag for a dam nickle.

The Emancipation Proclamation did a lot of good for the states but no good for the blacks. Have they really traveled that far from the plantations? If you think so go to your nearest jail and see how many of them comparatively to other races are in there and tell me. The slave state of mind has never left them folks.

March 5, 2012 at 3:01 am
(67) MONA says:


March 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm
(68) Ronnie says:

It’s obvious that no one that has posted a comment really knows how many previous arrests this guy had. If it is 8, as one person claimed, I would hardly call him a “career criminal” based on his age. Even people that are not considered criminals in our society usually have at least one or two things on their record, serious or otherwise by the time they are this guys age. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that 3 strikes laws are a joke and possession of marijuana should no longer be considered a crime anyways. And Shirley, I’m not sure what state your college class was in but your 3rd strike does not have to be violent at all.

April 13, 2012 at 7:31 am
(69) barbara says:

Roy Brown’s case is true. I double checked it on Snopes. First place to look for stories like this. No idea what, if any priors, he had – but there is no way a 15 year sentence is justified unless he was out on bail for murder. Meanwhile, there is no way that the billionaire’s sentence of a mere 40 months is justified. He should get years, followed by many more years of probation and community service.

April 27, 2012 at 11:17 am
(70) Rich Wrightson says:

Here’s the article about Roy Brown – It is real.

KTBS-TV [Shreveport, LA].
“Man Who Took One Bill and Handed Rest Back to Bank Teller Gets 15-Year Sentence.”
15 January 2009.

May 2, 2012 at 12:30 am
(71) Ethan says:

I think that the judge was being merciful. What you don’t realize is, Roy Brown didn’t have much of a life in the city. Going to jail was probably the best thing for him. He secured shelter and meals every day. He won’t have to fend for himself and try to scavenge enough food or money to live anymore. I could be completely wrong, but I don’t think that what the judge did was cruel.

June 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm
(72) Susan B says:

What is misleading about this “story” is that the two events took place almost 5 years apart. The bank robbery in 2007 and the sentencing for the fraud case in 2011

July 9, 2012 at 12:55 am
(73) Allison says:
July 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm
(74) Craig L says:

Everyone assumes Paul Allen is rich. He is not, he is (was) upper middle class at best. He did not steal $3bil, this was a fraud case, money went to pay bills and keep the company open longer. Farkas thought he would pay it back, but the business got worse, so he didn’t (couldn’t), and then the FEDS came. If I were to guess i’d say Paul did not know the full extent of the BS until the Feds told him. That being said – he should have ran to the FEDS at the first hint of fraud. He could have been the whistle blower/hero of the story instead of one scape goats.

July 18, 2012 at 1:57 am
(75) G. says:

Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy
A Tale of Two Criminals
By Suzy Marinkovich

July 21, 2012 at 12:04 am
(76) Markus Aurelius says:

Despite how screwed up the official country — politicians, the government, the courts, the police, theTSA, etc. — are, I’ve always felt that at least the country would be saved by the common American, full of good intentions and fairness and common sense. After reading the bulk of these comments, I am ashamed for the first time to be an American. Seriously. You all are some kind of ignorant, prejudiced, and proud of it low lifes. My only slim hope now is that you’re all just inbred Southerners.

August 30, 2012 at 3:45 am
(77) ugg says:

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November 6, 2012 at 5:30 am
(78) alex says:

@Sobriety who or where said anything about the police having to give him a couple days to sober up? Where did you pull that one out of your ass?

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