The 64-year-old man who holds an unofficial world record for the longest police record ever, will come before a judge today with his friends and admirers hoping he won’t have to spend Christmas in the slammer.
Henry Earl spent Thanksgiving in jail — as he has for three of the past five years. In fact, the Lexington, Kentucky man has been arrested so man times that the news organizations who keep rack of such things can’t accurately count them anymore.
The Smoking Gun web site, which has been as diligent as possible in compiling Earl’s full arrest record, estimates his total at around 1,500, starting in 1970.
“There was a period where we couldn't access his arrests. We think he has likely passed 1,600, but decided to play it safe," Smoking Gun Editor William Bastone told CNN. "We have literally been following Henry Earl's arrest history for more than a decade. We even devoted a page to him in our last book. We have continued to monitor his arrests and the days he has been incarcerated as a result of those collars."
The site figures that Earl has spent a total in the ballpark of 6,000 days behind bars.
Almost all of his arrests have been related to his drinking. Public intoxication, disorderly conduct and similar alcohol-related charges dominate his massive arrest record.
"It's a weekly, if not every-two-or-three-days thing. He's never doing bad or illegal things purposely,” said Lexington Police Spokesperson Sherelle Roberts. “He's just so highly intoxicated that he's posing a danger to himself."
Earl has attempted to quit drinking before. He lasted five months in a recovery program in 2009 before slipping back into his usual ways. But friends hope — against all hope — that this year may finally see Earl on the road to recovery once and for all.
Ginny Ramsey, co-founder of Lexington's Catholic Action Center, who says he considers herself a friend of the perennially homeless Earl, says she hopes that he’ll finally get sick of spending winters mostly outdoors.
"I don't think it's going to take many more winters, and this one may be the one," Ramsey said.
Here’s a gallery of just a small selection of Earl’s mug shots.