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Mike Weinstein [[log in to unmask]] writes:

>"counseling" with a billyclub upside his head (either one) might have
>been effective.

I dunno, according to the article the guy was already borderline
retarded, with the mental capabilities more typical of the average 13 or
14 year old. I'm doubtful that more brain damage would reduce his
dangerousness. (Not that we need to feel sorry for him- the average
13-14 y.o. isn't a child molester or aggravated-rapist.)

>If the guy were selling herb, they'd probably lock him up for 20 years.

Pointing out yet another shortcoming of mandatory sentencing. With jails
& prisons filled up with non-violent gurd offenders serving mandatory
minimums, judges are often between rocks & hard places when figuring out
how to deal with the REALLY bad actors. (You simply can't assign 4
inmates to one bunk and rotate 'em 24 hours, since it's been ruled
unconstitutional.)

Marc Guido [[log in to unmask]] wrote:

>Why would Cashman have considered imposing life if he only locked up
the
>scum for 60 days?
>
>You're conveniently ignoring the fact that under VT's sentencing
guidelines >at the time, he could've locked up the offender for a heluva
lot longer >than 60 days. Cashman simply chose not to in favor of
getting the offender >counseling instead.

RONG! I'm not ignoring the sentencing options at all! IIRC, Cashman
wasn't allowed the option of firm-life imprisonment on a first offense
and expected to see an even more hardened embittered and dangerous
offender out on the street within 10-12 years if he gave him the max
allowable.  He also says publicly he was tempted to take that route
since it would be a decade reprieve, but claims to have weighed a very
high risk later against a moderately high risk now, but with a
court-mandated treatment and a trigger imposing an even heavier term
(than allowed for a first offense) if he refused treatment or screwed
up. 

It wasn't a mere "counseling instead of jail time", it was 10 years of
counseling and if he didn't show up he'd be going away forever.  He also
stated that in his opinion the offender would only get scarier and more
danger the longer he was in jail and untreated, ergo he gave him the
minimum 60 days. In effect, he DID give him the life sentence that he
wasn't allowed to (or as close as he could get), counterintuitive as
that might seem.  The odds that the he won't skip treatment triggering
the life sentence at some point in the next 10 years seem pretty low to
me, and if he STAYS in treatment for the rest of his life the hazard
will likely diminish (not as surely as capital punishment, of course.)

Cashman knows the VT systems better than you, me, Mike or 98% of the
politicians looking for his head on a platter. I hope he made the right
decision, even though the headline it produced is pretty jarring-
seemingly at odds with common sense. If you read his reasoning, his goal
was to minimize the danger to the public over time, not to help out this
poor moron of an offender. It looks to me as if he was stuck between a
bad option and a worse one, opting for the merely bad even if it was
politically less tenable.  

Reasonable people may disagree as to whether this was the right
decision, but us in the peanut-gallery just don't have the perspective
of how it works on-the ground in the VT legal system to make that call.
I'm happy to let judges do their jobs, but let the judicial review
processes weed out the bad ones rather than trying judges in the fear
mongering scandal sheet press.

So, are you applying for the job, counselor Guido?

Disclosure: While I know very little about how it works in VT, I have
some insight to the MA system. My brother-in-law is a pediatric
psychiatrist who gets to deal with some of the victims of these crimes,
as does my psychiatric clinical specialist spouse.  Another family
member has served on not one but two juries over the past 20 years on
related crimes (one involving a 16 y.o. and a high school teacher, the
other a 7 y.o. and a relative.) If you think I'm actually in favor of
keeping this guy on the street with mere finger-wagging after 60 days
you're not reading very carefully.

dana
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