Sunday, January 24, 2016

A.I. & Oliver Brazelle

AI, the common abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence, has been around for a long time, but a particular version of AI veritably stormed onto the scene about 15 years ago with Sony’s introduction of AIBO, short for Artificial Intelligence (Ro)Bot. Did AIBO look like Robbie, flailing its claw hands in the air and screaming “Danger, Will Robinson?” No, it looked like a puppy. Why? Puppies sell. Everyone loves a puppy. Who could resist it? Sony was no marketing fool.

So we now have Oliver Brazelle, an 81 year-old man, who is again in the public eye. He’s small, soft-spoken, and smiling. He’s your father or your grandfather or maybe even your great-grandfather. Who wouldn’t want to come to his aid if he were stranded in a snow bank looking totally helpless?

But Brazelle wasn’t helpless for all those years he sexually molested young males in his care. No, it was the young men who looked up to him who were helpless. It was the young men who were reportedly intimidated by his assertions that no one would believe them. Oliver stated at his sentencing that the Devil made him do it. Just what convicted criminal could not say the same thing?

So should we put those thoughts aside and allow the one-time youth and music minister to have a great degree of freedom even while he’s ostensibly serving a two year sentence, a very lenient sentence for which his attorney Ralph Holt plea bargained? When does justice end and revenge begin?

If Brazelle had been convicted 30 years ago, we know that no one would have even suggested a type of commutation of his sentence. But he’s 81 and is apparently costing the state a lot of money to house, or at least was. No, as of this month, it seems Brazelle is in Lauderdale Community Corrections where he pays a weekly fee to enjoy whatever freedom he may.

From PNS: Oliver Brazelle

Yet the PNS article is correct that sex offenders are barred from community corrections. The plea called for Brazelle to register as a sex offender, and he is indeed listed as being barred from any such community programs according to his DOC listing.

So why is he in this program? Many murderers and drug traffickers (think Wes Akin) are barred from community corrections. Will they be next?

We may need to clarify that last paragraph. We think many who are barred from community programs would do well there, but it’s not our call. If it were our call, someone with a great deal of potential who had once had a problem with drugs would certainly be eligible for one chance at a community program. Yes, one chance and one chance only. No, we don’t think sex offenders deserve that chance…not even 81 year-old Oliver Brazelle.


We understand that Lauren N. Columbia, recently arrested in the death of a second child born dead due to drug addiction, was given youthful offender status in her first case. Having such, Columbia’s records are sealed, at least from the public. Her first charge can be used against her in her newest case. What happens to a youthful offender? From Huntsville defense attorney Andrew Segal:

If a person is adjudged a youthful offender and the charge is a felony, the court can:
• Suspend the imposition or execution of sentence with or without probation
• Place the defendant on probation for a period up to three years
• Impose a fine for the offense with or without probation or commitment
• Commit the defendant to the custody of the Board of Corrections

Our take? Those acquainted with Columbia and the father of her two children tell us Lauren’s father promptly bailed out his daughter and secured a private attorney for her. We have to ask why he didn’t insist on her going to rehab? Now the young Florence woman may be going somewhere much less desirable than an inpatient rehab clinic.

Editor’s note: While we don’t totally agree with how the law on chemical endangerment of a child is now being used, we have addressed Lauren Columbia’s actions not simply due to the request of several regular readers, but also due to this being her second charge on the same offense.


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