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Jean Valjean, Call Your Office

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Jean Valjean is the saintly hero of Victor Hugo's immortal novel, "Les Miserables."  He stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family, and was sentenced in pre-Revolutionary France to cruel imprisonment.  His soul was rescued from a lifetime of bitterness by the loving act of a bishop, who, after Valjean's release, had given him a night's shelter, only to have Valjean sneak away before dawn with the bishop's silverware.  The ensuing story of the bishop's candlesticks is the most poignant and moving passage of fiction I have ever read. 

The defense bar routinely tries to portray each rapacious, thieving client as Jean Valjean.  But even the defense would have some problems with Ms. Lonneshia Shafaye Appling.  A news report notes:

The Georgia woman, 26, was so determined to shoplift beer, bacon, cheese, and chicken wings from a Piggly Wiggly that she punched, spit at, and pepper-sprayed store workers who confronted her as she tried to flee the supermarket Wednesday afternoon, according to cops....

Appling kept [pepper-]spraying as several workers tried to keep her from fleeing. The 340-pound Appling also allegedly punched [a store employee] in the face and spit on the 28-year-old employee. As she successfully bolted from the Athens store, Appling "was dropping beer cans out of her purse."

But really, how fast can she be at 340 pounds?  Still, this was the kicker:

While in police custody, Appling told a cop to add whatever charges he wanted
because she was going to plea bargain and half of the charges would be dropped anyway," according to the report. She also asked Officer Nathaniel Franco if her arrest would make the police blotter, requesting that the cop make his report "more interesting so that her arrest would make" the department's compendium of notable incidents.

You can't make this stuff up.


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