State News

Black Seeks Assignment at Butner, Alcohol Treatment

Posted July 19, 2007 12:38 p.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2007 7:25 p.m. EDT

— Former House Speaker Jim Black asked a federal judge Thursday to recommend alcohol treatment for him while serving his upcoming prison sentence for accepting $25,000 in cash from chiropractors.

Black, 72, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, was sentenced last week to more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to one corruption-related count in February.

In a asking that Black serve his sentence at a federal prison in Butner, attorneys for Black wrote their client "would also ask the court to recommend alcohol treatment" while he is incarcerated.

Under the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, non-violent federal inmates who complete a substance abuse program while incarcerated are eligible to have up to a year taken off their sentence.

Earlier this week, Black's attorneys asked that Black be allowed to begin serving his 63-month sentence no sooner than Sept. 10. Black is supposed to report to prison July 30.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle hadn't ruled on either request Thursday.

Before sentencing, Boyle ordered Black to abstain from alcohol. No reason was given at the time.

In the fraud trial of former lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings last fall, Black testified that he never had more than a couple of drinks at a time.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons determines where inmates are placed, so even if Boyle approves Black's request to serve his sentence at Butner, he might be assigned to another prison.