By the way, Kevin Geddings is out of prison

A couple of weeks back, on a Saturday, while I was sitting in an auditorium at the Swearingen engineering center learning cool stuff about the Web at ConvergeSE, I got a DM from a Twitter friend letting me know that Kevin Geddings was getting out of prison up in North Carolina.

My source, who is apparently a good friend of Geddings, was thrilled. She felt like his conviction had been bogus. I didn’t comment on that, but I found it interesting to know that he was out. I almost blogged about it while I was sitting there, but I decided I’d better wait until I could confirm it.

But I was busy with other things, and it slipped out of my mind… then it struck me today — I hadn’t heard any more about it. So I got back to my source, and she said there hadn’t been much. A blog mention or two. Something on Charlotte broadcast media. Actually, I see that there was a wire story on, although I missed it if it was in the paper. An excerpt:

RALEIGH, N.C. — A judge on Tuesday ordered a former North Carolina lottery commissioner convicted of five counts of the honest services law released from a Georgia prison.

U.S. District Judge James Dever III said Kevin Geddings should be set free as he seeks to have his 2006 conviction vacated. The decision came just hours after prosecutors said Geddings should be released.

Geddings was found guilty of honest services mail fraud for not disclosing his financial ties to a company that was expected to bid for North Carolina’s lottery business. In May 2007, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison. The U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down parts of that law. It ruled that criminal convictions are only valid in cases if bribes or kickbacks are involved, and not merely conflicts of interest.

Obviously there’s a word or two missing in that lede, but I don’t know enough about the case to fill in the missing words. I didn’t really follow Kevin’s career after he left SC.

So he’s out? Fine. Whatever the merits of his conviction — and I have no opinion on that — we don’t need to be filling prison beds with non-violent offenders.

Not that Kevin wasn’t a menace to society in his own way. A menace to South Carolina, anyway. Kevin Geddings is the guy who advised Jim Hodges — who had been one of my favorite lawmakers when he was in the House — as he ran on a platform of establishing a state lottery, financing the campaign with video poker contributions. Since we opposed both of those things — and had always respected Jim Hodges because he was such an articulate opponent of those things — this turn of events caused us to oppose his candidacy. Then, after he won the election and we were looking forward to supporting the positive things Jim wanted to do (and there were positive things, despite the lottery stuff), Geddings advised him to have nothing to do with us. I’m not sure whether that was because of our position against the lottery, or just because Geddings didn’t want the governor paying any attention to anyone’s opinions but Kevin’s. Or maybe it was because when I had lunch with Geddings early on and explained to him that I didn’t have a Jim Hodges problem, I had a problem with Kevin Geddings and the influence that he had on the governor.

Anyway, the governor followed that advice. If you think there was distance between Mark Sanford and the editorial board in recent years, you’re forgetting the poisonous relationship we had with that office during the Hodges years.

Well, all that’s behind us. When Jim and I see each other now, we get along just fine. But the warming of our relationship didn’t happen until Kevin Geddings was out of the picture.

So anyway, now that he’s out of prison, I wish Kevin Geddings well in the future — as long as he stays out of SC politics.