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Abuse of Discretion

If you want to understand sentencing guidelines, “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimums, etc., you need look no farther than two cases in Maryland.

First, in Baltimore County a couple of geniuses broke into Victory Villa Elementary School and poured an industrial strength drain cleaner on a playground slide and used a paint brush to spread the substance on handlebars, etc. of other playground equipment. Three year old Payton Potochney suffered second and third degree burns on his legs and back and has undergone skin grafts to repair the damage. Circuit Court Judge Mickey J. Norman ordered that the two cretins, aged 16 and 17, be tried as juveniles for scarring a three year old child for life.

Second, in Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Katherine D. Savage dismissed the case against a man accused of repeatedly raping a 7-year-old relative because his right to a speedy trial was violated. That the violation was largely the making of his own attorney didn’t seem to matter very much and that the grounds for the violation (the inability to find an interpreter when the defendant had graduated from high school and attended community college in Montgomery County) was to ridiculous to be believed.

For every bleat about the lack of judicial discretion there are a half dozen stories of addlepated judges ruling against reason and the good of society that has caused legislators to strip that discretion from them.






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