Friday, January 13, 2006

More than meets the eye in Vermont sentencing outrage.

After skating around Google for awhile and reading some of what has been written about Vermont's Judge Cashman's sentencing of a "child rapist" to 60 days in jail, I am beginning to pick up some hints that all is not what it seems to be relative to this case. I sent an email to Judge Cashman this morning, excerpted below, and am awaiting a reply. If I hear from him, I'll let you know.

The furor over your sentencing of Mark Hulett has been almost 100% in opposition to same. From "the worst judge in America", courtesy of Bill O'Reilly, to many comments and descriptions that are not reprintable, there are thousands of news reports, comments and editorials screaming around the blogosphere, newspapers, radio and TV, all of which are in virulent opposition to your decision and to you, personally.

After doing some research into the case - not an easy thing here in Mexico - I think that I may be able to provide a defense for you, if it is, indeed, warranted. What I would like from you is your personal response to some questions that I have and I will print that/those response(s) in my blog.

Here is what I understand as of the writing of this missive.
1. The victim was not, as has been widely reported, raped numerous times over many years. The sex crimes involved genital touching or oral-genital contact on four occasions over 5 years. Is this correct? In other words, "rape", at least insofar as Bill Clinton understands it, depending upon what the meaning if is is, did not occur.

2. It is being widely reported that, at the original sentencing, you said that you no longer believed in punishment. I can find no quotes from your sentencing pronouncement to this effect. What I believe you were doing was addressing the victim's family and you were talking about "anger", not punishment. Is this correct?

3. My research reveals that the convicted is mentally impaired. I believe that you stated that he had the mind of a 12 year-old and still does not understand that he committed a crime. Is this correct?

4. My research further reveals that Vermont state evaluators reported to you that Mr. Hulett posed some kind of low-level danger to society and, therefore, was not eligble for mental treatment or counseling while incarcerated. Is this correct?

5. Further, he could only receive "community treatment" after completing his sentence. What is "community treatment" up there in Vermont?

6. I believe that, after wading through millions of words from dozens of sources, all of which are diametrically opposed to your decision, that you based your decision on what you felt was most beneficial to the community. You said, according to my research, that you disagreed with the state evaluation and felt that Mr. Hulett did, indeed, represent an immediate threat to the community. Therefore, he requires immediate therapy. The only way for him to get this therapy is to complete his sentence. So, you had no choice but to render a short sentence in order to get him into treatment more quickly. Is this correct?

7. It is being reported that the victim's family allowed Mr. Hulett, a 34 year-old man, to sleep with their 6 year-old daughter. Did you address this with the parents at any time during the trial or at the sentencing?

I would be pleased at your response and I will print that/those response(s) in my blog. That does not mean that I will agree with them and I will so state. If I do agree with them I will also so state. At the very least, you will have the opportunity to explain the what's, why's and wherefore's that led to your sentencing decision. I will not edit nor otherwise remove parts of your response(s) although I will highlight any parts that I feel merit that.

I understand that there are some statutory restrictions placed upon your ability to comment on the sentencing - something like 7 days, I believe. Nevertheless, this is an opportunity for you to explain your position and decision without fear of creative editing, things taken out of context (for I will print every word that you send me exactly as it is sent), or the coloring in of my particular political and social positions on crime and punishment in these United States, except insofar as I may comment on your response. I don't get paid for this so your response(s) have no commercial value to me.

Please consider my offer carefully and respond in some manner that you feel most appropriate.

Mark in Mexico
While awaiting Judge Cashman's possible response, you might want to hash this over. From the Burlington Free Press
If someone with diabetes were imprisoned, they would be treated in the prison setting. Diabetes does not go away. It escalates; it takes a great deal of medical resources: daily monitoring, medication, and medical attention. But people can learn to manage it and pursue a normal life. They can never let down their vigilance or there will be serious consequences for them, their family and the community. Sex offenders deserve and require the same treatment paradigm. It will serve them, their families and the community, as well.

Judge Cashman deserves high praise for calling the game on this situation. The Department of Human Services and Corrections also deserve praise for rethinking the "no treatment issue." Everyone can win.
UPDATE: Hmmm. Curiouser and curiouser. From The Anchoress:
The fact is, Cashman sentenced Hulett to up to 10 years on the first count, three years to life on the second count and two to five years on the third count. He will be on probation and under state supervision until the day he dies! If he screws up or refuses treatment, he’ll be behind bars for a long, long time. Hulett’s release conditions prohibit him from any alcohol or drug use, or even living in an apartment complex that has children. He cannot have friends who have kids, go to a bar or possess or view pornography, among other restrictions. One violation would put him back in the slammer.

Calling this “a 60-day sentence for raping a child,” as O’Reilly and Wilton have done, is a gross distortion of what happened.
Other opinions less than 24 hours old:
GA Mongrel, Brain Droppings - who put me onto The Anchoress, House of the Rising Sun, In a Word, aTypical Joe, Rambix and the Red Star, Lost in Lima, Ohio

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