Last week Marie Walsh-aka Susan LeFevere- appeared on Oprah to plug her new book. In 1974, Walsh was arrested for selling Heroin to an undercover officer. She pled guilty and was sentenced to 10-20 years in prison. After spending less than 2 years in prison, she escaped with the help of her grandfather. She fled to San Diego where she spent 32 years on the lam. During this time she married and raised her children while playing tennis and living the life she “was supposed to.” What?? To make matters even more outrageous, she was busted by the cops and only spent 14 additional months inside in 2009. Once again, WHAT???
Walsh’s failure to not only accept responsibility for her crime, her escape and her lack of an equitable sentence in the end, seemed to catch Oprah by surprise. Oprah even tried to get Walsh to explain her guilty plea to no avail. Worse, after obvious frustration, Oprah spoon fed Walsh a question about empathy and Walsh did not give a convincing answer. Wow! How sad for those of us who have done their time and the many who continue to do so. Next, Oprah explained to Walsh that she had a lot of experience in cases like that of Walsh and OWN has a T.V. show called Breaking Down Bars to help society understand that change is possible for those who are incarcerated and want to come home and lead productive lives.
Oprah tried her best, but Walsh learned nothing, has given back nothing and actually thought it was OK to say that she did not belong in jail. Her husband did say he felt badly Walsh could not attend her mother’s funeral because she thought law enforcement would be there! Hmmm. Didn’t anybody in law enforcement check on her family ties during the 32 years? I do not know what happens next with the Walsh case. I have some ideas. How about charging her family with harboring a fugitive? What I do know is that this case shows what I often write about; we really must work on having Equal Justice in our country.
So, there are several crimes in this case. But, maybe the worst one is not using the platform of being a guest on Oprah to help others.