Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison, unlike Tayna McDowell, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison for enrolling her son in a school district using a fraudulent address. So the meme goes. A bit of digging ads some context.

Tanya McDowell arrested in Bridgeport on drug charges

The 33-year-old woman, who is facing larceny charges for enrolling her son in Norwalk public schools while living in Bridgeport, was alone as she stood handcuffed before Judge Howard Owens to face multiple drug charges. Her entourage and her lawyer, who escorted her to court in Norwalk and Stamford, were absent.

Police said McDowell sold crack cocaine and marijuana to an undercover police officer on two occasions outside her Dover Street home. They said she even interrupted her 6-year-old son’s birthday to sell the drugs. She was arrested in court Monday morning.

That McDowell was selling drugs outside of a school is relevant, but of course outrage has no time for context.

Yes, Twitter’s hero had drugs outside of a school:

Several weeks later, she was arrested for selling drugs to Norwalk undercover officers on five occasions in Norwalk and Bridgeport.

When she was picked up on the drug charges, police found her in front of Brookside Elementary School holding 30 small bags of marijuana and 23 small bags of crack cocaine, prosecutor Tiffany Lockshier said during her sentencing hearing.

At the sentencing hearing, here is what the judge said:

[Judge] Iannotti retorted Tuesday that the Norwalk case had nothing to do with why McDowell was before him.

“This case is about the convictions for the sale of narcotics to an undercover police officer,” the judge said. “I think you understand that because that is really the essence of what has gotten you into the predicament you find yourself today.”

On the two counts of sale of narcotics, the judge then sentenced her to 12 years, suspended after she serves five years and followed by five years probation.

The sentence is to run concurrently with a five-year sentence she received in the Norwalk case.

McDowell pled guilty to the larceny charges involving lying about her address as part of package deal with prosecutors.

There were three cases pending against McDowell:

  • S20N-CR11-0128870-S (larceny)
  • F02B-CR11-0258104-S (sale of illegal drugs)
  • F02B-CR11-0258105-S (sale of illegal drugs)

McDowell pled guilty to all three cases, and received the following:

  • Sentenced: 12 Years Jail, Execution Suspended After 5 Years, Probation 5 Years

 

While the Twitter outrage mob can be forgiven for not bothering to do any research, you’d expect better of Snopes.

Snopes rates as true this claim, “Was a Woman Sentenced to Five Years for Sending Her Son to a Better School?

Snopes used to be an official fact-checking partner of Facebook’s. Under this program, a Facebook page could be suspended if Snopes concluded that the page had posted fake news.

Snopes leaves out this relevant context of the prison sentence:

The Bridgeport mother charged with illegally enrolling her son in a Norwalk school has agreed to a plea deal. Tanya McDowell was arrested last year on larceny charges for using a false address to send her son to Brookside Elementary.

She was later arrested on drug charges in Bridgeport and Norwalk.

Her lawyer tells News 12 Connecticut that McDowell, who was facing 40 years, agreed to a plea deal and will spend five years in prison to cover all the charges.

Read that last paragraph again, “Her lawyer tells News 12 Connecticut that McDowell, who was facing 40 years, agreed to a plea deal and will spend five years in prison to cover all the charges.”

During the sentencing hearing, the judge said:

“This case is about the convictions for the sale of narcotics to an undercover police officer,” the judge said. “I think you understand that because that is really the essence of what has gotten you into the predicament you find yourself today.” On the two counts of sale of narcotics, the judge then sentenced her to 12 years, suspended after she serves five years and followed by five years probation.

Tanya McDowell was not sentenced to prison for 5 years for lying about her address. She was sentenced to five years in prison as part of a package deal involving her lying about living in a school district and also being a drug dealer.

Non-lawyers can be forgiven for not knowing that the drug charges greatly raised any potential sentence in the larceny case. Snopes should have some lawyers fact-check their articles for them, at least when the legal system is involved.

P.S. In a case actually similar to Felicity Huffman’s, the woman was sentenced to 10 days in county jail.

Ohio Mom Kelley Williams-Bolar Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District

She was sentenced last week to 10 days in county jail and put on three years of probation. She will also be required to perform community service, the Beacon Journal reported.

UPDATE: In response to my reporting, Snopes has issued this following update:

[UPDATE 09/19/19]: This story has been updated and returned to a “mixture” rating to better reflect the claim that McDowell was sentenced to 5 years in the school larceny case, but that the sentence included drug and prostitution charges, as well.

 


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to watch Hoaxed Movie, an expose into fake news.

15 Replies to “This Felicity Huffman and Tanya McDowell Meme You’ve Been Sharing is Fake News”

  1. Snopes rates this as part true, part false. You should really do YOUR research before posting.

    Also, she WAS sentenced to 5 years for sending her kid to the wrong school, as well as some lesser charges. The drug charge came later, and was a separate case. She as sentenced to 5 years in jail, to run concurrently with her 5 years for the school charge.

    Know conservatives hate facts, but try a little harder.

      1. But she still was sentenced to five years for the school violation…to run concurrently…why don’t you have a problem with that fact and Hoffman only getting 14 days… I am not a bleeding heart…was a law enforcement officer for nearly 30 years…if you do the crime, you should do the time…but what I am sick of is poor people (of any race) getting slammed while wealthy people (of any race) getting slaps on the wrist…lady justice has a blindfold full of holes in this system of justice.

        1. I was a cop for 29 years in the most famous Police Department in the world. I’d love to know where you worked that you can’t do your own research and somehow you feel aggrieved by this. It wasn’t like she was already sentenced for the larceny and then sentenced for the two narcotics charges separately. She was arrested for the larceny/theft of funds and was out on bond. She hadn’t been sentenced yet for the theft charge. She was then arrested for the two narcotics offenses while she was out on bond. The three offenses were pending when she took a plea deal offered by the prosecution and AGREED to by her and her lawyer. She got five years when she could have gotten a lot more. That’s what plea deals are for. The prosecution doesn’t have to fight it out in court and the defendant gets a better deal than if she had fought and lost. She knew she’d lose because the facts of the cases were very clear. She got off easy because even she knew that if it went to trial she’d get a higher sentence. She made statements and was quoted saying she knew she would have lost. If you were a cop that went to court you’d know that judges give out harsh penalties to all races and preside over plea deals involving all races. If you were a cop that arrested people you’d know that cases are dismissed/tossed for all kinds of reasons (sometimes by the investigators way before they get to the courthouse) and NONE of them have to do with race. You can find a better hero than this POS.

  2. Why did The View let SONNY HOSTIN lie about Tanya McDowell on national television. She never mentioned the drug or prostitution charges that actually cause Tanya McDowell to be incarcerated.

  3. All this shit is just silly man….. owed 30k for “stolen education”.. and sending your kid to a different school lands you jail time for YEARS??! Lmfao. And fuck those drug charges this system is meant to oppress people of color so when people have to resort to selling drugs for money and sending kids to better district to better their lives due to the unfairness of this fucked up society especially for those living in poverty aka the hood, then it’s a crime but let a white persona do it and they get a slap on the wrist basically ….. you have white people doing the most and people of color just tryna survive in a system that set up to make them fail is the issue. White man arrested for child pornography and pedophilia gets months probation a person of color doing the same thing they get 90 years in prison … stop tryna gaslight people into thinking we’re crazy for saying this shit is really unequal the evidence is indisputable. United my ass this country represents bullshit. Needs to be exposed everyday until people wake up.

    1. Ignoring several crimes to justify your argument that the other crime was unfairly enforced is just silly. You need to wake up to the weakness of your argument.

    2. Some of your comment is true, but “people of color” (your words) have more opportunities than I do as white female. They are considered a “minority”, therefore have more opportunities opened up for them. It may be hard to get out of “the hood” but it’s not impossible, Many woman (and men) “of color” have done it. Oprah Winfrey is one of them. Selling drugs is the easy way out. Why send your kid to a school where he can get a “better education” (nothing wrong with that in itself) but set the bad example that selling drugs is the better way to make money to support yourself, rather than teach hard work and belief in yourself is the way to go.

  4. You included this: “The sentence is to run concurrently with a five-year sentence she received in the Norwalk case.” The fact that it runs concurrently with another sentence does not mean she didn’t receive it.

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