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Former prison guard pleads guilty to smuggling phones, cigarettes

'Treasonous' act gets probation, fine

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 2:21 PM
Last updated Friday, Aug 30, 2013 12:53 AM
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A judge agreed to give a former prison guard who smuggled in cellphones and cigarettes a probated sentence Thursday, but he included a scathing lecture and promised to send her to prison for any misstep in the next five years.

Melissa L. Brown, 34, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to the charge of trading with inmates.

According to Assistant District Attorney Pierce Blitch, Brown was charged after a Jan. 16 search of all Augusta Medical Prison employees. A drug dog alerted authorities to tobacco in Brown’s vehicle, and a search revealed receipts for large purchases of cellphones and tobacco products. Brown admitted she took cash from an inmate for about a month to smuggle in the items, Blitch said.

Brown, a wife and mother, helps take care of her disabled mother and handles her grandmother’s affairs, her family said. Defense attorney Charles Lyons has known Brown since she was a high school senior who interned at his law office. He told the judge that he gave Brown, who was fired from her job, an oral beating for bringing in the contraband.

Judge Daniel J. Craig told Brown that what she did endangered other prison guards. Inmates now know they can manipulate employees to continue with their own crimes. What she did was a treasonous deed that might have indirectly led to the death of a prison guard this year, Craig said.

No circumstance, no financial hardship, justifies such a crime, Craig said.

Craig sentenced Brown to five years on probation under the First Offender Act. She must pay a $3,000 fine within the first year and perform 300 hours of community service within the first two years. He also ordered her to have no contact with any prison inmate.

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ragingbull 08/29/13 - 05:56 pm
So if she gets through the

So if she gets through the five years and keeps her nose clean,(no pun intended), she will not have a criminal record, since she was sentenced under First Offender Status. My gut feeling says if she were given the opportunity she would do it again.

corgimom 08/29/13 - 09:08 pm
I'm wondering if she was

I'm wondering if she was romantically involved or knew the inmate.

oldredneckman96 08/29/13 - 09:10 pm
cellphones and cigarettes

Please tell me that the criminals that Brown smuggled these items to will have real time added to their sentences. We must fix the Federal laws that stop our prisons from finding and stopping cell phones. As for any other contraband, keep one empty cell, and every day play musical cells with it and all the others making the prisoners make the move in a grocery sack. Make the moves random and toss the cells everyday during the move.

willie Lee
willie Lee 08/29/13 - 11:22 pm

The first guard sells contraband and gets 30 months probation as a first offender, this one gets probation and a fine as a fist offender. Both guards selling things to the inmates. One attorney tries to bribe public officials and gets a fine. another attorney plies a teen ager for certain favors and gets probation. Another local attorney, not in the political loop GIVES his own client cigarettes, pays many thousands of dollars as a fine, gets over 10 years probation, and gets disbarred. Now if you can't SMELL THE FISH in this one then you need a case of nasal spray.

jimmymac 08/30/13 - 08:32 am

Another case of a judge and prosecutor letting someone have a "do over". I wonder how many people have spent time in jail because they didn't have a soft judge and prosecutor handling their case? What this woman did warranted jail time so the next smuggler will see it as a warning not to do the same.

rmwhitley 08/30/13 - 09:33 am
She has to

pay a $3,000.00 fine within a year, has no job apparently and handles her grandmother's "affairs"? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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