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25 Aug, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In April, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), working with the Motion Picture Association of America, arrested four men for possession of more than 5,000 allegedly pirated DVD movies and approximately $5,000 in reproduction equipment.

The arrests followed similar charges filed against two men on separate occasions of illegally recording showings of The Passion and The Alamo in Los Angeles theaters.

The six anonymous defendants could face felony jail sentences due to Hollywood's heightened angst against an indifferent, yet technologically advanced, consumer that thinks nothing of burning and downloading music illegally.

And so it came as somewhat of a surprise last week when Julie Nelson, a 28-year LAPD captain arrested last December and charged with selling pirated DVDs out of a friend's nail salon, pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges.

Her attorney successfully argued to the judge that Nelson's involvement in her boyfriend's bootleg operation was “very minor,” and “anecdotal,” and coupled with “an unblemished law enforcement career” probably warranted community service, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Had Nelson been convicted of a felony, she would have faced up to seven years in jail and the loss of her job and pension.

Instead, the 52-year-year-old captain is reportedly looking to retire with full benefits and a pension valued at about 90 percent of her current salary.

Blind justice? I doubt it.

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