What are We Doing to Ourselves with the Criminal Justice System?

by James C. Sherlock

I will share a press release this week from the Justice Department.

Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Identity Theft, and Firearm Offenses

We’ll try to figure out at what point we lost our minds about law enforcement.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A six-time convicted felon from Richmond pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, from around October 2020 through January 2021, Wilbert Bouldin, 25, joined together with at least two other men to defraud banks out of money and property under their custody and control. Bouldin and his coconspirators used the stolen driver’s license and social security card of an identity theft victim to negotiate thousands of dollars in counterfeit and stolen checks at banks in Williamsburg, Gloucester, Newport News, Hampton, and Richmond.

Bouldin has six prior felony convictions for fraud, firearm, and drug offenses. He and one of his codefendants are aspiring musicians who have released music under the moniker, “Rich Felons.” When police went to arrest Bouldin, he fled from the law enforcement, but was ultimately apprehended in possession of a Smith & Wesson, SD9VE semi-automatic handgun – a firearm he is not allowed to possess as a convicted felon.

Bouldin pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years and a maximum sentence of 42 years in prison when sentenced on August 26. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Now, these guys did a lot of stupid things like opening a checking account in their own names with a stolen check. The Darwin rule demanded they be caught.

But convicted previously of six felonies, Mr. Boudin, currently 25, was apparently free from custody for those previous felonies by at least October of 2020. And he was not tried as a juvenile previously or we would not know about them.

There is no indication whether his previous convictions were in federal or state court, but the odds are they were state convictions because he was out so quickly. Federal felony convictions do not generally feature quick release. It appears to be a federal case this time because of the bank fraud.

He was arrested this time with a TASER and a 9 mm. So what “went wrong” as presented in these charges was perhaps the least that was likely to have happened.

Now he has a plea deal. So, forget a long sentence in this case.

I simply cannot figure out what we are doing to ourselves. He will be back in Richmond before he is 30.