04 May 2007

Tragedy in the Making

A 13 year veteran prosecutor "resigns" her job:
In November, [the defendant] entered a plea to abduction with intent to defile -- carrying a 20-year minimum sentence -- and unlawful wounding, and Fay [the prosecutor] agreed to dismiss the rape and sodomy charges. But when [the defendant] later learned that the abduction charge would require him to register as a sex offender, he balked.

[The defendant]'s attorney, Bobby B. Stafford, said he called Fay, and both lawyers acknowledged they had not known of the registration requirement. Fay agreed to reduce the abduction charge to simple abduction, with a range of zero to 10 years and no registration requirement.

The lawyers and [the defendant] quietly returned to court March 14 to revise [the defendant]'s pleas. A transcript of that hearing shows that neither the lawyers nor Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Stanley P. Klein asked whether the victim had been consulted on the change in pleas. The victim was not there and said she had not been consulted. State law requires judges to ask prosecutors whether the victim has been consulted, but only if the victim makes a written request. The victim said she was never told to make such a request.

Two days later, the victim and her boyfriend, a Maryland police officer, appeared for Marriott's sentencing. Although the minister faced a maximum of 17 years, Klein sentenced him to 16 months.

The victim was stunned. When she later learned that Fay had agreed to reduce [the defendant]'s charges, she was outraged. Fay said she had fully informed the victim of the situation. The victim, her boyfriend and the investigating officer, Detective Edward Vaughan, said Fay was mistaken.

After meeting with Fay and Vaughan, Fairfax Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said he believed the victim and Vaughan. He said Fay's actions were "an embarrassment to our office and a disgrace." Morrogh then took Fay off all felony cases.

Washington Post
As I do the guidelines abduction with intent to defile and unlawful wounding have a recommended sentencing range of 3 years 2 months to 9 years 5 months with a mid-point of 6 years 3 months. Abduction with unlawful wounding carries a guideline recommendation of probation. Neither of those figure in whatever prior record the defendant may have had.

I don't know the actual facts and circumstances around this case. It seems that the prosecutor agreed to the reduction only to remove the registration requirement and assumed that the abduction to defile guidelines would be used or that the difference would not be substantial (I'll admit I was surprised at a probation recommendation).

I'm really surprised that the judge imposed a sentence so low. If the facts, as they can be proven, are as bad as laid out in the article I would expect a judge to give far more time than this (Virginia sentencing guidelines are entirely discretionary).

Something's out of kilter here.


Anonymous said...
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Ken Lammers said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please restrain comments to actual comments on the post.

Thank You,