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November 3, 2013

Should we worry early parole might cut 750 years off sex offender's prison term?

The question in the title of this post is my tongue-in-check response to this local West Virginia sentencing story sent my way by a helpful reader. The piece is headlined "County man sentenced to 250 -- 1,000 years," and here are the details:

A Marion County man was sentenced to 250 -- 1,000 years in prison Friday for 10 counts of sexual abuse and 10 counts of sexual assault, all involving a minor.  Matthew Monroe Cottingham, 28, of Fairmont, was sentenced by Marion Circuit Judge David R. Janes.

Cottingham was sentenced to 25 to 100 years for each of 10 counts of sexual assault on a minor and 10 to 25 years for each of 10 counts of sexual assault by a parent, guardian or custodian. He will serve the sentences for sexual assault consecutively and the sentences for sexual abuse concurrently, said Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson....

“The sentences of 25-100 years are indeterminate,” Wilson said. “He would have to do 25 years on each count before he’d be eligible for parole.”

Cottingham had been first arrested in late July 2012 by Fairmont police. According to criminal complaints, he forcibly had sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl. The girl allegedly told her mother the next day, and statements by the victim and physical evidence observed at Fairmont General Hospital were reportedly consistent with the allegations....

Child Protective Services continued to investigate the incident since the initial arrest.  A second child, a 9-year-old girl, alleged that Cottingham had perpetrated “several sexual assaults ... dating back years prior to his arrest to CPS officials.”

November 3, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

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Comments

We should worry whenever parole is granted:
"66% of all parolees in California returned to prison within three years,
27% for a new criminal conviction…"

Maybe they should have been serving their sentence for those three years,
so saving all-of-the-victims from these ex-convicts-soon-to-be re-convicts.

Posted by: Adamakis | Nov 4, 2013 9:35:14 AM

talk about more showboating from an asswhipe politician....ie lawyer!

first we have this part!

"A Marion County man was sentenced to 250 -- 1,000 years in prison Friday for 10 counts of sexual abuse and 10 counts of sexual assault, all involving a minor. Matthew Monroe Cottingham, 28, of Fairmont, was sentenced by Marion Circuit Judge David R. Janes."

This type of sentnece is just criminnal stupidity and should bring the immediate execution of anyone stupid enough to issue one!

then there is this!

"Cottingham was sentenced to 25 to 100 years for each of 10 counts of sexual assault on a minor and 10 to 25 years for each of 10 counts of sexual assault by a parent, guardian or custodian. He will serve the sentences for sexual assault consecutively and the sentences for sexual abuse concurrently,


A simple sentence of "25 to life" would have covered it all and not made the govt look anymore retarded than it is already.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 4, 2013 12:00:40 PM

This subject has already been spoken about here, here and here.

Such sentences serve only to bring ridicule upon law and courts issuing such sentences instead to give natural life sentences.

@Rodsmith

I would rather lock this "father" in a cell whose keys have been thrown in the Mariana Trench.

Posted by: visitor | Nov 4, 2013 12:37:34 PM

Rod Smith,

Given that these crimes (event when taken together) evidently do not offer the possibility of a sentence of natural life I do not necessarily see the sentence imposed here as being ridiculous.

What I do see being ridiculous is not having the option of simply imposing a sentence of natural life after the offender has reached some total minimum sentence. Sentences like this are much more a folly of state legislatures than the judges following the law.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 4, 2013 4:05:12 PM

Sentences like this make a mockery of the criminal justice system.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Nov 4, 2013 6:45:37 PM

“Such sentences serve only to bring ridicule upon law and courts issuing such sentences instead to give natural life sentences.
@Rodsmith”

reply: "Mr. Smith there is reason why they don’t give natural life sentences. The U.S. as a member of the United Nations and because the U.S. is a signatory on numerous international treaties regarding the incarceration of its citizens, has to report internationally the number of all citizens given a life sentence each year. Just like the treaty we signed where we promised not to give juveniles life sentences except in extremely rare circumstances. The way our nation worked around this problem was to begin the current wave of trying juveniles as adults so the US doesn’t have to reveal to the world it is the largest incarcerator of juveniles on the planet with regard to life sentences. This is all done to RIG the numbers we promised to report to the world. What a country!!!"

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | Nov 4, 2013 8:51:00 PM

lol try again Soronel. you must have missed this part!

"Cottingham was sentenced to 25 to 100 years for each of 10 counts of sexual assault on a minor"

Sorry but in my eyes once the judge issued the first 25 to 100 years. Anything else is nothing but idiotic showboating!

but i do agree with most of this!

"What I do see being ridiculous is not having the option of simply imposing a sentence of natural life after the offender has reached some total minimum sentence. Sentences like this are much more a folly of state legislatures than the judges following the law."

I agree like i said once the first count called for 25 to life at that point it was time for the judge to just announce it as "I now sentnece you to 25 to life!" end of sentence!

as for the last part. True the fuckups in the legislature do write the laws. But last time i looked it was the judges who were in charge of saying it's a legal and good one!

a simple well i could give the individual 20 25 to 100 year sentences as you idiots in the legislature want. But i'm going to go with one that makes more damn sense! 25 to life!

call them on their stupidity!

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 4, 2013 9:47:01 PM

nice try concerned citizen but our govt is in violation of so many of those treaties it's not even funny. They have been ignoring the world court for decades! Unless it benefits them of course!

plus the 25 to 100 year sentnece for just 1 of the courts is an effctive LIFE sentnece for most people!

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 4, 2013 9:50:39 PM

There is always a chance that a crime like this just gets a slap on the wrist after while for good behavior. If this guy had time to do all of this then maybe he should have gotten the death penalty for such a sick and twisted crime. It is one thing to commit a crime, but it is definitely another issue when young children are involved.

Posted by: NECOACH | Nov 6, 2013 12:15:24 AM

Necoach where you been the last 10-15 years. Most states now have a mandatory min you have to do of a sentence. Here in Florida it's 85% You can earn all the goodtime you want but nothing but the first 15% counts. Florida no longer has parole except for old inmates who's sentences predate the new laws even those are usually the 25 to life ones who can try...notice I said try and get it after like 15 years.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 9, 2013 10:34:18 AM

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