It’s rare that someone convicted of embezzlement gets prison time. The justice system wants embezzlers to pay back the money, and that’s very hard to do behind bars.
So it’s interesting that bank teller Jeanne Dey ended up with three years in prison.
Since her arrest back in 2011, Dey has protested her innocence to family and friends. In April, the same day The RC published news that she’d entered a guilty plea in court, we also published a guest opinion from a Douglas High classmate. Her friend claimed Dey had no other choice but to accept a plea bargain — in which she admitted taking $60,000 from her elderly clients — because she couldn’t afford to pay an attorney to represent her.
That’s an interesting point of view, and one we find lacking in the end.
People unfamiliar with the justice system here, might find that argument convincing, but in order to be convicted of a crime in Douglas County, Jeanne Dey had to convince a judge that she’d actually committed a crime. She had to say out loud in open court that she stole from her employer by taking advantage of the elderly and the infirm.
We find it far more likely that Dey was lying to her family and friends about being innocent, than lying to the judge that she was guilty. Had she continued to deny the charges, the judge would have set a trial date. If she couldn’t afford an attorney, then one would have been appointed to represent her.
The prosecution would have had to present evidence of her crime to a jury, and those 12 people would have to agree that evidence wasn’t just sufficient, but beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jeanne Dey’s supporters feel cheated they didn’t receive their day in court. It would be far more difficult to continue to wear the blinders so fashionable these days when spin meets reality.