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Ex-Mayor Returned to Prison After Misleading BOP to Enter Drug Program

Ex-Mayor Returned to Prison After Misleading BOP to Enter Drug Program

by Brandon Sample

Bill C. Campbell, the former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, was returned to federal prison after it was discovered he had lied to gain entrance into the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). Successful completion of the RDAP results in a sentence reduction of up to one year.

Campbell, who was sentenced to 30 months for tax evasion, graduated from the RDAP on December 7, 2007. Shortly thereafter he was transferred to a halfway house. He was scheduled to be released four months early on June 23, 2008 for completing the RDAP, but was sent back to prison after federal prosecutors in Atlanta protested.

Throughout Campbell’s criminal trial, he consistently maintained that he did not suffer from a drug or alcohol abuse problem. According to Campbell’s Presentence Investigation Report (PSI), for example, he drank “alcoholic beverages in order to participate in toasts. He has not otherwise drank alcohol and just does not like the taste of it.” Campbell’s attorney had stated he had “no health or substance abuse problems.”

Nevertheless, shortly after entering prison, Campbell sought treatment for being a “champagne alcoholic.” Initially he was denied entrance to the RDAP. But after pleading for “help that the program would provide,” he was allowed to enter the program by Beth Weinman, the BOP’s National RDAP Coordinator.

To support his substance abuse claims, Campbell had submitted letters from two physicians – a cardiologist who later said his notes concerning Campbell’s treatment had been lost, and an anesthesiologist who was a former college classmate of Campbell’s.

Federal prosecutors sought reevaluation of Campbell’s eligibility for the RDAP, arguing that his newly-asserted alcohol problem was contrived. “Not a single witness gave the slightest indication in an interview or in testimony that Mr. Campbell had an alcohol abuse problem,” they stated.

Upon reexamination, the BOP found Campbell’s claims of substance abuse to be “practiced and less than genuine.” Accordingly, he was returned to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence without a reduction for completing the RDAP.

Campbell then filed a habeas petition, arguing that the BOP had exceeded its authority in rescinding his early release. A week later, though, he voluntarily dismissed the petition, and the federal judge unsealed records in the case. See: Campbell v. Bureau of Prisons, U.S.D.C. (S.D. Fla.), Case No. 1:08-cv-20636. Campbell was subsequently released from custody in October 2008 after completing his sentence.

According to a recent Forbes article, a number of white collar federal prisoners have availed themselves of early release by completing the RDAP despite not having documented substance abuse problems, including former ImClone CEO Samuel Waksal, who received a nine-month sentence reduction. Waksal was scheduled for early release on February 9, 2009.

Last year, approximately 18,000 federal prisoners were enrolled in the RDAP with another 7,000 on a waiting list.

Sources: Atlanta-Journal Constitution,

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