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Former North Carolina Corrections Officers
Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice

WASHINGTON – Two former North Carolina corrections officers, Eula James and Molly Holley, were sentenced to 12 months nine months in prison, respectively, for their roles in conspiring to falsify an official report to prevent an inmate from being paroled in September 2003. Both defendants also received three years of supervised release.

“Law enforcement officials must be honest in executing their professional responsibilities, especially when they deal with basic issues of freedom,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We will continue our vigorous efforts to ensure the lawful treatment of all people in accordance with the law.”

James and Holley, both formerly correctional officers at the Rivers Correctional Institution in Winton, N.C., were charged with the conspiracy in November 2006 and pleaded guilty on Jan. 2, 2007. According to the charges, James and Holley conspired with a former inmate to plant a knife in victim Clarence Smith’s cell. James provided the knife to Holley, who hid it in Smith’s cell. Holley later pretended to find the knife during a cell search and wrote a false report charging Smith with possession of the knife. Smith served an additional nine months in prison as a result of the false allegations against him.

The case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General and was prosecuted jointly by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of the federal criminal civil rights statutes, such as laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In fiscal year 2006, almost 50 percent of the cases filed by the Criminal Section involved excessive force or law enforcement misconduct. Since fiscal year 2001, the Division has filed 25 percent more such cases and convicted nearly 50 percent more defendants in these cases than in the preceding six years.