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Case Of NC Chief’s Daughter Raises Key Issue About Probation

Case Of NC Chief’s Daughter Raises Key Issue About Probation

Michael Harvey, center, is escorted after an appearance in Niagara County Court in Lockport, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.

The Charlott Observer

September 22, 2010

CHARLOTT, NC – Michael Neal Harvey was not just on probation, he was on two probations. In theory, that can send you to prison if you break the law or the conditions of your probation. Among his probation conditions were requirements not to use or possess illegal drugs or controlled substances, and to “complete all treatment.”

So the question most everyone wants to know is why wasn’t Harvey already in prison? Instead, police accuse him of murdering Valerie Hamilton, 23, whose body was found Saturday in a storage unit on Monroe Road. The daughter of Concord Police Chief Merl Hamilton and a well-loved teacher at a Charlotte swimming school, she was seen leaving a Charlotte tavern just after midnight last Wednesday with a man police believe was Harvey.

We can’t say why Harvey was not already locked up. N.C. Department of Correction spokeswoman Pamela Walker said Harvey’s probation officer was meeting often with him and even saw him twice last Thursday, including once at Harvey’s house. But the probation officer apparently did not seek to have Harvey incarcerated after he was charged in March with possessing drug paraphernalia, a gun, counterfeit heroin and breaking into a car. Nor did judges send him to prison after several earlier probation violations.

Harvey, 34, was arrested Monday in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and on Tuesday told reporters he didn’t kill Hamilton: “She OD’d in her sleep,” he said, “Did you hear that? She OD’d in her sleep.”

Later Tuesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said early autopsy results found no physical trauma on Hamilton’s body. The police statement said detectives “found evidence of drug usage” but didn’t say by whom. It said “witnesses indicate although alive, she appeared to need immediate medical attention. The suspect did not seek professional medical attention for Ms. Hamilton after being prompted by several independent witnesses to do so.”

Regardless of how Hamilton died, her death is a tragedy for all who knew and loved her. And regardless of how she died, Harvey is in deep trouble – and not only with the justice system. Friends and family say he’s a heroin addict. Court documents say he smoked marijuana daily from age 12 to 28, began cocaine at 13 and at 18 started using heroin. His 2008 rehab didn’t work.

Although his criminal record is long, with the exception of a 1996 rape conviction for which he served four years, his arrests are of the sort typical of addicts: drug and gun possession, stealing, DWI, driving without a license, etc.

And there you have one of the thorniest dilemmas facing our justice system. Is it better to punish an addict or send him into treatment. What if rehab doesn’t work? When do you give up on a probationer and incarcerate him? Should you lock up everyone for comparatively minor crimes stemming from addiction? If so, how can you afford to build and run the prisons? It costs N.C. taxpayers an average $26,955 a year to keep an inmate. In the past year, budget cuts forced seven prisons to close.

Looking at his record and Hamilton’s death, it’s easy to conclude Harvey should not have been free, addicted and committing crimes. He now is in extraordinary trouble because a young woman appears to have died in his company under still-mysterious circumstances.

But the bigger question that should haunt us all is how many other Michael Harveys are there, and what do you do about them?


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  • 1211120858_max50

    FreezeP

    over 2 years ago

    1456 Comments

    people need to stop making excuses for criminals. this scum should have been in prison and not out roaming the streets.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jaylo

    over 2 years ago

    2 Comments

    I know Mike very well have known him since elementary school. He is NOT a murderer!!!! as far as his supposed rape in 96 don't believe everything you read. It was mutual and then the b++ch changed her story. Anyway I know he would be unable to hurt anyone let alone murder someone. Yes it is a shame that he has a problem with drugs but you don't have to automatically convict him cause he has a drug problem. I also think others involved with this story had some drug problems too, its just a tragedy what happened and Mike panicked as I would of too I'm sure.

  • Funny_pictures_56616_max50

    DarkBlue

    almost 4 years ago

    4880 Comments

    Top Cat....... " Unforgiven " .....Clint Eastwood ?

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    nrp5hgwedf

    almost 4 years ago

    0 Comments

    Harvey should not have been free period! I don't care about the cost when we compare what this scumbag did in the past and violations on his conditions should have been enough for getting him off our streets away from the public...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    Very sad and strange news.

  • Funny_pictures_56616_max50

    DarkBlue

    almost 4 years ago

    4880 Comments

    Die !!!

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    almost 4 years ago

    50890 Comments

    Bump sniper635

  • Battering-ram-full_max50

    OlSkoolBlu89

    almost 4 years ago

    2484 Comments

    bump sniper635

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50

    Blueblood1974

    almost 4 years ago

    5204 Comments

    lethal injection would end up the problem in the UNited states with relapsing by sex offenders.

  • Ribbon_max50

    mkiprotection

    almost 4 years ago

    2384 Comments

    Bump again.....

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    almost 4 years ago

    14636 Comments

    Bump sniper635, there comes a point in time........

  • Bayou_032_max50

    UNIT111D

    almost 4 years ago

    478 Comments

    bump sniper635

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50

    rhood

    almost 4 years ago

    23592 Comments

    In the case of this lowlife, the justice system has failed the good citizens of North Carolina and the victim.

  • 04-10-08_1552_max50

    sniper635

    almost 4 years ago

    824 Comments

    It's an easy question to answer, but nobody wants to hear the answer, much less carry out the sentence.

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