A former Shelby County resident was recently arrested by U.S. Marshals as part of a sex crimes task force operation in a neighboring state. The capture of one of Alabama's “most wanted” criminals was carried out with the help of the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force in Birmingham, Alabama, and with the cooperation of the Shelby County Sheriffs Office. The former Alabama resident and fugitive was captured in Louisiana on charges of second degree sodomy and second degree rape stemming from a case in Shelby County. The suspect, Jack Copeland, will be extradited back to Alabama to stand trial for these alleged sex crimes.
As an Alabama criminal defense lawyer based in Birmingham, I have represented many clients accused of criminal sexual behavior. Although the media tend to paint most sex crime suspects as guilty from the get-go, the law demands that everyone be treated as innocent until proven guilty. We've all heard of trial by the press, but in my world the only proper trial is one held in a court of law. Still, there is no getting around charges of second degree criminal sexual behavior.
Rape in the second degree is a Class B felony. For an adult such as Mr. Copeland, this is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is less than 16 years of age and more than 12 years old. It can also cover an instance of sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is unable to consent because of certain mental deficiencies.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Copeland was arrested in the afternoon of July 15 at an apartment complex in Lafayette, LA. The arrest was carried out by U.S. Marshals from the Western District of Louisiana's Fugitive Task Force in Lafayette. The 37-year-old is wanted here for sex crimes and in Florida for several felonies including possession of a controlled substance and domestic battery. He was booked U.S. Marshal Task Force Officers booked Copeland into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center where he will be extradited back to Alabama, then Florida to face his charges.
Alabama's Most Wanted Arrested by U.S. Marshals in Lafayette, USMarshals.gov, July 15, 2009