I imagine there were a few people shaking their heads this morning when they read about the punishment – or lack thereof – that was handed out to State Sen. R.C. Soles (See: news article). Yesterday Sen. Soles pled guilty in a Columbus County Courthouse to a misdemeanor assault with a weapon charge and paid a $1,000 fine. The incident in question took place last August when Soles fired on an intruder, Kyle Blackburn who had broken into his Tabor City home. Blackburn also happened to be a former client of Soles and — at the time of the incident — had been recently released from jail. Yeah, I know it sounds like a bad script from one of those TV movie channels. Unfortunately, it’s true.
So much for the work of those folks who served on the grand jury in January and indicted Sen. Soles on a felony assault charge. Soles’ plea means he will face no other penalties. Had Soles been convicted of a felony, he faced losing his senate seat, prison time and his law license. Sen.Soles is the longest serving member of the North Carolina legislature, having first been elected to the General Assembly in 1968. He is also Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. I wonder if a few of the ties Sen. Soles developed over the past four decades came in handy in resolving his troubles. Anybody who thinks an average citizen would have been treated the same way, let me know.