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Friday, February 03, 2006
Smear My Rear

This article labors mightily to convince us that the Vermont judge who sentenced a child rapist to 60 days in prison was smeared by the media.

So, let's take a hard look at whether the perp could have gotten out in 60 days:

While it did make clear that Cashman’s sentence “could incarcerate Hulett for the rest of his life if he fails to obtain counseling or otherwise follow instructions,” it made it seem like it was certain that the defendant would be freed in 60 days. There was no mention of the fact that the maximum portion of the incarcerative sentence was 10 years.

Well, of course the crucial question is what the defendant had to do in order to be free in 60 days. It's not spelled out, but this certainly indicates it was not a lot:

The defendant pled guilty to three crimes pursuant to an agreement that gave him the chance to withdraw his plea if he was sentenced to more than 90 days to serve.

So it pretty much sounds like everybody agreed that this was a 60-day sentence. Given what the defendant apparently admitted to doing to that young girl (six years old when the perp started abusing her) it seems like a ridiculously light sentence.

Of particular interest to me in this story is that the writer apparently did not watch O'Reilly and Hannity & Colmes; instead he relies on blogger accounts of what happened on those shows.

The national media firestorm soon began. The Hannity & Colmes show on Fox on the evening of Jan. 5 carried an account which repeated the mistakes from the WCAX story. “Keep an eye on Hannity’s programs . . . he has been all over this since last night,” a blogger wrote the next morning. “He just had a Vermont state rep on his show tonight, and point-blank asked how we could get this judge removed from the bench.”

Also, get this bit:

As far as the judge’s position on “punishment,” the Joyce account was likewise wrong. What Judge Cashman actually said was “I keep telling prosecutors, and they won’t hear me, that punishment is not enough.” The judge said that he had “started out as a just deserts sentencer,” but he had “discovered it [retribution] accomplishes nothing of value … doesn’t make anything better, . . . and costs us a lot of money.” He now realized a sentence must “solve a problem” so that “people are better off after the sentencing than they were before.”

What people? The perp? The victim? Society?
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