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Broken Justice System

Updated on July 10, 2015
Silva Hayes profile image

Silva has a background as a technical writer and in addition to how-to articles she writes about cooking, travel, and personal experiences.

His victim was only 18 years old when her life was cut short by premeditated murder.

Justice weeps
Justice weeps
Justin Boulay
Justin Boulay

An example of our broken justice system here in the US, Justin Boulay, convicted of first degree murder in 1999, was released from prison and moved to a tropical paradise in 2010. He's young, he's healthy, and he has a wife to support him while he surfs the beaches of Hawaii.

State officials in both Illinois and Hawaii said there was nothing they could do to prevent it. Justin Boulay, 33, left a midwestern prison and moved to Hawaii. He is required to serve only three years on parole.

Boulay strangled his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend Andrea Will to death with a phone cord only 12 and a half years before his release.

During his prison term, Boulay married Rachel Rivers Boulay, PhD, now an Oahu resident and an assistant professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, and Boulay moved there to be with her. Why would a well-educated professional woman wish to marry a murderer?

Boulay's victim, 18 year old Andrea Will, was a freshman at Eastern Illinois University in 1998. She dated Boulay and then attempted to break off the relationship. He refused to let her go, stalking her on several occasions. Her family said she was trying to stay away from Boulay, but when he called and lured her to his apartment by saying he had a birthday present for her, she went there. There was no present waiting for her, only a telephone cord.

According to the coroner’s report, the strangulation took approximately 4 and one-half minutes. That's a long, long time to hold a strangling cord in place. That is a stone-cold, premeditated murder.

Even after Boulay confessed to strangling Andrea, he was put on house arrest and was able to walk the streets of his hometown. He is a violent murderer and was allowed to roam the streets.

Boulay was sentenced in May 1999 to only 24 years (which meant he would only serve 12); the judge could have imposed a sentence of up to 60 years.

Coles County Judge Ashton Waller was the judge who gave Boulay a sentence of only 24 years for first-degree murder. The law in Illinois made parole for good behavior almost automatic after half the sentence had been served. Therefore the judge knew when he sentenced Boulay that he would only be serving 12 years.

Because Boulay opted for a bench trial, the victim’s family had no voice during the process and did not read their victim impact statement.

During the Boulay case, Illinois changed to a “Truth in Sentencing” system, essentially replacing parole with incarceration periods set by the sentencing judge. As a result, Illinois no longer has a parole board where a victim’s family could argue that a defendant was too dangerous for parole.

The victim's family had no say in the parole or transfer decisions. Hawaii officials say that their hands are tied. Under rules of the Interstate Compact for supervision of parolees and probationers, no state can refuse another state's parolee or probationer if they have family and a means of support in the receiving state. So his wife has provided that for him. I wonder what he does all day while she works. Does he lie on the beach? Andrea will never lie on the beach in Hawaii -- or any other beach.

Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said through a spokeswoman that he is investigating the facts of Boulay's case and the process of his parole and transfer to make sure he will be properly supervised there.

In Illinois this story has sparked a lot of anger, both for the early parole and the Hawaii transfer --

Members of Andrea Will's sorority joined the family for a vigil the night of Boulay's release.

When, if at all, will our justice system be fixed?

Read more about this young woman and her family here:

In other news, Gregory Taylor, a homeless man is free after spending 13 years behind bars for trying to steal food from a Los Angeles church kitchen (irony intended).

The following news released November 16, 2010:

Justin Boulay, 33, left, leaves in a pickup truck after being released from the Danville Correctional Center today. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

Justin Boulay left prison at 8 a.m. today, 12 years after strangling his ex-girlfriend.

Escorted by a state police SUV and a Vermilion County sheriff's car, Boulay, 33, covered the passenger side window of the dark pickup truck he was riding in with a blue jacket and pulled a knit cap on his forehead. The driver wore a hood and a scarf covering his or her face.

Officials at the Danville Correctional Center, where Boulay was an inmate, kept the media off the facility's property. An Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman said they had received threats on Boulay's life.

Boulay's release 12 years after strangling Andrea Faye Will with a phone cord in his Charleston apartment has stirred anger that has been exacerbated by his plans to live in Hawaii with a woman he married while in prison in 2007.

Boulay, of St. Charles, and Will, of Batavia, had begun dating in 1996 after meeting at a Batavia swimming pool where they worked. Each enrolled at Eastern Illinois University in the fall of 1997. Will had ended the relationship around December.

Boulay was sentenced to 24 years in prison when Illinois' law allowed a day cut from the sentence of an inmate for every day of good behavior. Truth-in-sentencing laws since then require those convicted of violent crimes to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sharyn Elman said Boulay met the standards of his parole. A spokeswoman for Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said Friday that the office unsuccessfully tried to block Boulay's arrival in Hawaii.

Boulay is expected to be there the week of Nov. 22, Hawaii Paroling Authority records show. He will serve three years of parole.

"For myself and my family, it has been a complete and total injustice since the day he was arrested," said Will's mother, Patricia Rosenberg, in an interview with the Tribune before Boulay's release. "It's just such a slap in the face."

--Ted Gregory

News Update: Justin Boulay is now living in Mililani, Hawaii, with only one restriction. He is not allowed to enter a college campus.

Mililani, doesn't that sound like a tropical flower paradise? Andrea will never be able to visit Hawaii ...

Added 1/16/11:

A Georgia woman, Amy Rogers Jones, was charged with one count of felony murder and one count of cruelty to children in the first degree in the death of infant Jaci Morgan Rogers whom she was baby-sitting.

On 12/31/10, Amy Rogers Jones was released after serving less than one year for the death of infant Jaci Morgan Rogers.
Jaci Morgan Rogers
9/7/2007 - 1/3/2008
The angels weep

... and yesterday, June 14, 2011, William Scott Morris received a pitifully inadequate 13 to 16 years in prison for the murder of his wife, Kelly Currin Morris, who disappeared in September 2008 in North Carolina. Her skeletal remains were found thrown away like trash in a wooded area.

You will be outraged when you read in my next hub about the child rapist Mahamu Kanneh and how he slipped through the system in Maryland not once but twice after repeatedly raping a 1 year old and a 7 year old, leaving witnesses and DNA evidence. In this hubpage, I include an overview of the criminal justice system and some of its glaring discrepancies and failures.

July 5, 2011 -- Casey Anthony found Not Guilty. I have no words.

And now today, September 15, 2011, we hear that Elisa Baker has been given 15 to 18 years --- for murdering and dismembering little 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

Again, the angels weep.

Elisa will probably get out in about 7 years; she is only 43 years old now, so the tax payers will feed her and provide shelter and clothing and medical care for her and then the she-devil will be let out onto the public. She has admitted to murder, obstruction of justice, she has repeatedly lied and committed bigamy, lured Zahra's dad to the U.S. to marry her, and will probably cause more heartache and grief when she gets out. Why is Elisa Baker, who viciously murdered a little girl and cut her up and scattered her remains over two counties, being given such a light sentence? Why?

And now, January, 2012, another glaring flaw in our system, Gov. Haley Barbour has pardoned vicious murderers.

Bobby Hays Clark shot his ex-girlfriend in the neck in 1996 and was sentenced to 38 years in jail. But just 12 years after the crime, Barbour pardoned him without notifying the family of the victim.

Michael David Graham shot his ex-wife point-blank while she waited at a traffic light in 1989. Barbour suspended Graham's life sentence, and he was released.

Clarence Jones stabbed his ex-girlfriend 22 times in 1992 and was sentenced to life - until Barbour pardoned him in 2008.

Paul Joseph Warnock shot his girlfriend in the back of his head as she slept in 1989. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1993 but also pardoned in 2008.

William James Kimble was also freed despite a life sentence for robbing and murdering an elderly man in 1991.


Update, January 2013: William H. Spengler Jr., who senselessly murdered volunteer firefighters in Webster, N.Y., near Rochester, beat his grandmother Rose to death back in 1980 and spent only 17 years in prison for doing so.

Only 17 years for beating your grandmother to death with a hammer.

For Rose’s death, he was indicted on a murder charge but allowed to remain free on $15,000 bail.

He was a violent murderer and yet allowed to roam the streets.

A judge okayed a plea bargain reducing the charge to manslaughter and Prosecutor Louis Pilato signed off on it.

Why did they reduce the charge? He beat his grandmother to death with a hammer.

He later went on to slaughter volunteer firefighters while they were in the midst of fighting a fire. He armed himself with a revolver, a shotgun, and a semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle, and then set his house on fire to lure the first responders to their death – on Christmas Eve, 2012.

Please speak out -- please write your congressman every time you read about these gross miscarriages of justice.

August 1, 2013 -- On a positive note, it was rewarding today to watch Judge Michael Russo painstakingly take hundreds of threads of justice and wrap and tie and knot each one up around Ariel Castro in binding threads that will never unravel. All the best to his victims; may the rest of their lives be lived in the light.

From ABC News today, August 15, 2013; this you will have a hard time believing. Convicted serial killers will now walk free in Texas:

Because of a loophole in Texas law hundreds of convicted killers and other violent criminals are getting an early release.

All inmates convicted between 1977 and 1987 will be released from prison after the number of days they have spent in jail and the number of days they have spent in good conduct equals one-third of their initial sentence.

Genene Jones injected 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan with a fatal dose of a muscle relaxant.

Little Chelsea needed routine immunizations. At a clinic in Kerrville, Texas, Nurse Jones administered two injections while Chelsea's unsuspecting mother held her.

When the dying baby was placed in an ambulance to be taken to a nearby hospital, Nurse Jones boarded the ambulance with the baby and injected a third shot!

Jones was sentenced to 99 years. She got 60 concurrent years for an attack on another child who survived. She is suspected of murdering 46 children. She will be released in February 2018.

This is only one example.

The office of Gov. Rick Perry said there is nothing they can do about the release of violent convicts.

This is the justice we citizens and tax payers are being handed. "There is nothing they can do." Really?


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    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      I am totally in favor of people learning a skill or trade in prison. It is so short-sighted to let them out on the streets when their time is up, without skills and with a record, so that they cannot survive unless they resort to a life of crime. Thanks for your comment and insight, SpaceShanty.

    • SpaceShanty profile image

      SpaceShanty 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'm not sure if, anywhere in the world there is a 'perfect' justice system. I think the only real solution is prevention, better education, efforts to prevent family breakdown and more opportunities to stop people feeling they have no choice but to choose a life of crime. Prison and even the death penalty doesn't work. In fact prison often makes the person worse, someone who makes a silly mistake when they are young will end up leaving prison with more criminal assoicates and fewer chances of getting their life back on track. We need to ensure people learn a skill or trade in prison.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Thanks for your comments, MrGreywolf38 and Bail Up ! I continue to read and watch everything that comes up in the news about the justice system. One thing is for sure, the judges do not have enough oversight. They seem to do whatever they please and not have to answer to anybody.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 6 years ago

      Very sad but true. Our criminal justice system needs revamping on so many levels. Always baffles me how any one particular crime can carry such an array of sentencing possibilities.

    • MrGreywolf38 profile image

      MrGreywolf38 6 years ago

      I work as a nurse in a prison and I hear about stuff like this all the time. Life is quite easy in the prisons and the inmates have more "rights" (entitlements) than we on the outside will ever have. It is discouraging to know what my tax dollars are paying for.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      I've heard that about Hawaii. I am afraid I will read the wife's name in the paper some day; I hope not. Thank you deb for reading and for your comment.

    • profile image

      deb 7 years ago

      So sad that sick man is moving to Hawaii..What's worse is the doctor that married him..She will be his next victim if he ever gets a chance..If she thinks God forgave him and he is saved think again..No worries people take care of their own here..Not a good state to move to if you white and a murderer..

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Thanks for your comments, OpinionDuck. The entire system from local to Federal, the police, the courts, and corrections; it's mind-boggling; ethics reform, communication, cooperation, and common sense; all are called for.

    • OpinionDuck profile image

      OpinionDuck 7 years ago

      As you mentioned this is just one of the many examples of a justice system that doesn't live up to its name.

      It is not just the justice system that is broken, it is the legal system itself and of course the Congress federal and state that make the laws, and the courts that interpret them.

      Good hub.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Yes, rachellrobinson, the more I dig into the myriad ways the system operates, the more puzzled I get as to how it could be fixed. Maybe it can't; only improved in certain areas. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Kevin, you are right; really, it is unbelievable. This is only one story of many similar stories. His wife's decision to marry is a mystery to me. Thanks for your comment, Kevin.

    • rachellrobinson profile image

      rachellrobinson 7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Silva; unfortunately there are a lot of broken parts in the system, just try to remember let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater in trying to fix it. Well written Hub thank you for sharing Andrea's story.

    • profile image

      Kevin 7 years ago

      This makes me sick to my stomach on so many levels. It is hard to get out of my mind. He is making a mistake moving to Hawaii and his "wife" made a big mistake in having him move in with her. It doesn't say a lot about her judgment. Hawaii isn't that big of a place and they will soon find themselves ostracized in many places. I only hope they don't have kids as I would imagine the children would never be able to get out from under the shadow of what their father has done. What a sick, twisted world we are living in. Unbelieveable. Really.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      I am working on a new hubpage about how to fix the criminal justice system, and my research is a real eye-opener.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Illinois has a “Truth in Sentencing” system, essentially replacing parole with incarceration periods set by the sentencing judge. As a result, Illinois no longer has a parole board where a victim’s family could speak.

    • profile image

      Don Costello 7 years ago

      When was his parole hearing? Didn't the victims family attend the hearing?

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Thank you for your comment. It's not right. Our justice system is broken; there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions, it's just maddening. I don't hear much about "the power that be" trying to fix it either.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      My goodness. This is just not right. I appreciate your excellent reportage. Thank you.