Thursday, January 12, 2006


Media Distorts 60 Day Rape Sentence

An abundance of outrage

It seems there is more to the story of the 60-day sentence for child rape. The Anchoress quotes from this link:
In his order upholding Hulett’s sentence, Cashman laid out in detail the actual facts in the case and the only options before him — items overlooked so far in press accounts.

In cases such as Hulett’s, wrote Cashman, the court is presented with a “sentencing dilemma.” It’s a choice “between two less-than-ideal options. One option enhances the long-term risk to public safety, due to the future release of a hardened, untreated sex offender. This person would endanger our children and grandchildren. In order to avoid that risk, the other option would be to impose a low-minimum on a lengthy incarcerate sentence.”

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.
It sure is. The WCAZX-TV report sensationalized the story, omitting the sound, logical elements of the Judge Cashman's legal rationale for the sentence. It was outrageously misleading; whether deliberate or not the reporter should be fired.

Judge Cashman clearly deserves opprobrium for his remarks about revenge and his attitude toward punnishing criminals. He deserves to be removed from the bench.

But the greatest outrage remains the sentence itself. Taking the judge at his word, that this was the most effectual sentence he could impose, the Vermont legislature seems to bear the bulk of the blame for creating this situation. It would seem public anger is best directed at them.

Diego adds: I might not have all the facts myself but as I understand it Hulett will walk the streets in 61 days. There is your outrage. I watched the initial report from O'Reilly and as I understand it Cashman's defense was that since Hulett could not receive treatment while in jail he would set him free so he could receive that treatment. Is Cashman required by law to set Hulett free to get treatment? I don't know that asnwer. If that is the case then there was indeed a lack of facts reported by the media. If that is not the case then I think the reports were accurate. I'm not impressed by any probation terms. Bottom line is that if Hulett is on the streets in 61 days as the result of Cashman's judgement then there is reason to fault Cashman. If there is something I missed here then I could agree with your notion of media (especially O'Reilly's) coverage. So far the "60 Day Sentence" headline remains credible in my mind but I could be informed otherwise.


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