Former attorney pleads to distribution, contraband

Published 10:56 pm Friday, November 1, 2019

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A former attorney who posed as an attorney for an inmate in the Covington County Jail in 2017 and brought prison contraband to the inmate pleaded guilty this week.

Wanda Rabren, 59, pled guilty to distribution of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband III before Circuit Judge Lex Short and was sentenced to five years imprisonment and six months imprisonment, respectively.

On October 10, 2017, Rabren went to the Covington County Jail and informed corrections officers that she was the attorney of former Andalusia real estate developer Gary Carpenter Little, 62, and that she needed to meet with him in that capacity. Rabren was formerly an Andalusia attorney, although her license to practice law in Alabama had been suspended prior to October 2017. Little was incarcerated for charges of Negotiating a Worthless Instrument. During the meeting, Rabren gave Little a notepad in which she had hidden suboxone strips, an opioid and controlled substance. Little had agreed to take the notepad to Rabren’s son, Jacob Rabren, who was also being held in the Covington County Jail. Corrections Officers were able to intercept the notepad and recover the narcotics.

Rabren, Little, and Rabren’s son, Jacob Rabren, were all charged in this matter. Little pled guilty to Promoting Prison Contraband II, as well as the worthless check charges, and was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Jacob Rabren is currently awaiting trial.

District Attorney Walt Merrell, who prosecuted the cases, had this to say: “Under the Sentencing Reform Act, Distribution of a Controlled Substance is considered a non-violent offense, for which a defendant with no prior felony convictions must receive probation, unless an aggravating factor exists which allows the defendant to be sentenced outside the mandates of the Act. In this instance, Wanda Rabren was the ringleader of these crimes, and she involved multiple participants to carry out her scheme. That fact allowed me to get outside the sentencing standards so that both she and Little would have to serve jail time. Jail is where they needed to be. Upon being admitted to practice law, a lawyer takes an oath to uphold the law and, unfortunately, Mrs. Rabren broke that oath.”

Merrell added, “Thank you to Drug Task Force Commander Mark Odom as well as the entire Drug Task Force for their swift action and solid investigation. I also appreciate the awareness of the Covington County Corrections Officers. The work of these officers led to the arrests of the defendants in these cases, and they needed to be arrested and they deserved to be prosecuted — regardless of who they are or their former positions.”

Little, who pled guilty earlier this year, has already served the entirety of his sentence and has been released.