Friday, April 1, 2011

Unequal Justice? Surely It's Not Based on Sex Appeal?

This is a booking photograph of Amanda Leigh Houk, 40, a Madison County License Clerk who was convicted in March of embezzling over 40K. There has been no mention of a previous criminal record.

This is a booking photograph of Pam Gay Taylor, 55, a Franklin County Volunteer Fire Department treasurer convicted in March of embezzling over 32K. There has been no mention of a previous criminal record.

Which woman received the longer sentence? If you guessed Ms. Houk, you're obviously using logic--something that is often absent from the Alabama judicial system.

Pam Gay Taylor was sentenced by Judge Terry Dempsey to ten years, split with two to serve in actual prison. If during the remaining eight years of probation, Ms. Taylor should again run afoul of the law, she would be returned to state custody.

Amanda Houk was sentenced by Judge Dennis O'Dell to three years on probation. If she remains on the straight and narrow she will never see the inside of a prison. Why the huge difference?

Different judges
Different prosecutors
Different defense attorneys
Different...physical attributes

Oh, but the latter should never come into play? No, it never should.


When the Webster Inn first opened as a Ramada, it was a jewel in Sheffield's crown. Now, the hotel doesn't have sufficient funds to pay its utility bill. Why? From reviews online, it would appear to be more than just the amount of competition. Here for your reading enjoyment...

9/11/07 -
In our room, the wallpaper was coming off the walls, the ceiling in the bathroom was falling down, and there were stains on the side of the mattress (gross - looked like dried blood). The towels were thin, too. The water tasted funny, so we went to the vending machine -- no water. We asked at the desk, and they gave us a glass of water. We tried to save a couple of bucks, but it wasn't worth it.

10/31/07 - It was by far the worst hotel experience I have ever had. Not only was the staff rude and uncooperative, but the room itself was not sufficiently stocked or in good condition.

My husband and I chose to stay at Webster the night of our anniversary. We stayed in a suite. When we first arrived in the room, there were light bulbs missing from the lamp and the shower was constantly dripping. We left shortly after checking in and returned to get ready for dinner since we had reservations. We discovered that the comforter had cigarette burns in it and that the iron was missing. Not to mention, the wallpaper was coming off the walls. And management went in our room despite the DO NOT DISTURB sign.

The management was even worse. they refused to give our money back or switch us into another room. They kicked us out for asking for extra pillows and towels on the night of our anniversary. As we left the manager wished us a happy rest of our anniversary. The peole here have no customer service skills and are racist. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY. THIS IS A CRAP MOTEL.

2/5/08 - We wanted to stay at this hotel because of the advertisement of a jacuzzi suite and well it was our anniversary. We arrived at the hotel and the lobby looked decent but when we arrived in our suite it looked like a pay by the hour room. All of the furniture was very outdated, worn out, sinking in and different colors. There were smears all over the mirror, the cabinets under sink were falling in and jacuzzi was rusted and filthy. Wallpaper and some sheetrock was falling off the walls. We left and went to get dinner and a movie. When we arrived back the parking lot was so packed that we had to find a place to park in the grass along with many other people. When we went to our room our walls were shaking and you could loudly hear the bass from the band unstairs at the hotel bar. We went to the front desk and asked if there was another suite we could move to and the night auditor said no, so we asked for our money back and he said no again. So finally after a little convincing he just happened to find another suite available. When we checked that room out it was in the same condition maybe a tad better but it was right next door to our previous suite -so we had the same noise problem.There were people walking down the hallways being very loud. We went back upstairs and asked for a down grade to a regular room and the night auditor said i cannot do that. We were pretty upset by this time and asked for a manager. This guy comes walking out from behind the counter (looked very unprofessional and i believed was chewing tobacco). I explained what was going on and he said "well sometimes i have to park in the grass and i work here" his reply to the loud band was "well theyll be winding down around 2AM and then you can go to sleep" he also told us there was no one walking in the hallways being loud and we were imagining it. I could not believe this guys management skills-he would not accomodate his $175.00 paying guests. He would not budge on giving us our money back or another room. I told him i was going to post bad reviews and his reply - "OK-go ahead" So about 10 minutes of arguing with this guy he finally said i can downgrade you to a single room on the other side of the hotel. The downgrade was in terrible condition but quite so by this time we were just tired and wanted to go to bed. I would never recommend this place to anyone. I have stayed at plenty of hotels/motels before and this one gets the grande prize for the worst hotel not only in looks but also in service. If you are thinking of staying at this hotel please consider a chain/name-brand hotel first.

6/23/08 - My family and I went up there for a meeting. The hotel was disgusting. We had cigarette holes in our beds, there were roaches, the bathroom was dingy and unclean, the rug was filthy, the walls were speckled and had things wiped on them. The bed was extremely uncomfortable. The staff was distant and strange. Everything needs to be updated. It was extremely ugly. The hotub/pool was okay. The pool did have quite a bit of bugs, however. The bar was filled with people that weren't staying in the hotel.

8/18/08 - This hotel was awful! The room smelled bad! The sink was stopped up and the bathroom was dirty. The beds and pillows were as flat as a board! You could see foot prints in the bottom of the pool where it had not been cleaned. The air did not work right in the rooms. It was dirty and i would not recommend that anyone stay in the hotel.

2/15/10 - The rooms were filthy and there appeared to be vagrants hanging out at the pool. When we saw to HUGE cockroaches in our room that was it. This is truly an example of getting what you pay for. It was by far the cheapest hotel in the area and we quickly found out why. I went to the local Walmart to disinfect the bathroom and purchase a new pillow and sheets. When we checked out I filled out the comment card and never heard back. Finally I just disputed the charge with Amex and got a refund.

9/13/10 - This hotel was very poorly managed. Bathroom was so dirty, I would never have taken a bath in it. We had a "no smoking" room but the blanket on the bed had huge cigarette burns in it and cigarette burns were all in the dirty, soiled carpet. The paint on the ceiling in the bathroom was falling off. On one side of the bed, there was a spot which looked as if someone had thrown up on the carpet. Three of the light fixtures in the room had blown bulbs which left the room very dimly lit. The furniture was dirty and outdated as was the decor of the room, halls & lobby of the hotel. Also, aside from myself and my sister-in-law, I saw no other women guest in this place which I found very strange. The carpet in the hallway leading to the rooms had huge dirty, soiled spots all over. This was the dirtiest hotel I have ever stayed in and if we had not been so tired, we would have left. Most miserable night I have ever had in a hotel. Cheap price, cheap hotel. You get what you pay for! The Health Department should pay this place a visit!