Once More Unto the Breach Dear Friends
Yesterday’s Washington Times editorialized about Maryland’s need to tighten its child sex offender laws. My colleague Brian Griffiths touched on it here. The passage of Jessica’s Law last year was a significant milestone, but clearly, it was not enough. The case of Richard Marks is illustrative of why we need to treat sex offenders differently than other types of criminals. Senator Nancy Jacobs is already prepping a bill to take away “good behavior” or dimuniton credits for sex offenders. Apparently, Marks was a model prisoner and prison officials released him nine years early from a 25 year no parole sentence. Dimunition is parole by another name.
As a veteran of last year’s Jessica’s Law campaign, I can tell you that it will take the same intense citizen effort to roll Joe Vallario, Brian Frosh, the trial lawyers who control the General Assembly. The trial lawyers and the criminal friendly progressives in the General Assembly will only do the right thing if they are constantly bombarded by sustained public pressure for fear of loosing their elected position.
I vividly remember the March 2007 testimony on behalf of Jessica’s law. I recounted the details of the campaign, especially Democrat obstructionism here. I was especially proud of my wife for her display of courage in testifying and telling her story to a room of complete strangers. The other thing I distinctly remember was the outright indifference to sheer hostility toward the bill and the snide attitude many of the Democratic committee members showed to those who testified. Two committee members Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City) and Todd Schuler (D Baltimore County) were so upset at having to listen to testimony that they essentially asked, “what will it take you people to go away.”
One would expect Governor O’Malley to get behind the end of dimunition credits for child sex offenders. Don’t hold your breath, because O’Malley’s Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is a on the record opponent of Jessica’s Law and worked alongside Vallario to kill it 2006.
Ladies and Gentleman, if you want truth in sentencing for child sex offenders, if you want 25 years to mean 25 years then it is time to battle the same foes we defeated last year. We know the winning strategy; we must again muster the will to fight.