« As heroin concerns grow, so do proposals to increase sentences | Main | Is it time for AARP to get active in policy debates over sentencing and prison reforms? »

March 31, 2014

Controversy long after du Pont heir got probation as punishment for raping his small daughter

As detailed in this lengthy local article from Delaware, headlined "Heir's sentence raises questions in child rape case," a high-profile child rape case from years ago is now generating new controversy because the low sentence imposed on the rapist just became public.  Here are the details: 

A judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he "will not fare well" in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.  

Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden's sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape.  Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.

Richards' 2009 rape case became public this month after attorneys for his ex-wife, Tracy, filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the abuse of his daughter. The fact that Jurden expressed concern that prison wasn't right for Richards came as a surprise to defense lawyers and prosecutors who consider her a tough sentencing judge. Several noted that prison officials can put inmates in protective custody if they are worried about their safety, noting that child abusers are sometimes targeted by other inmates.

"It's an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well," said Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O'Neill, whose office represents defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. "Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn't proven to be true in most circumstances." O'Neill said he and his deputies have often argued that a defendant was too ill or frail for prison, but he has never seen a judge cite it as a "reason not to send someone to jail."...

O'Neill said the way the Richards case was handled might cause the public to be skeptical about "how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system."  Richards, who is unemployed and supported by a trust fund, owns a 5,800-square-foot mansion in Greenville, Del., he bought for $1.8 million in 2005.  He also lists a home in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach, according to the state's sex abuse registry. His great-grandfather is du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont, and his father is Robert H. Richards III, a retired partner in the Richards Layton & Finger law firm....

The lawsuit filed by Richards' ex-wife accuses him of admitting to sexually abusing his infant son between 2005 and 2007, the same period when he abused his daughter starting when she was 3.  Police said they investigated allegations involving the boy in 2010 after his mother filed a complaint, but said they did not have sufficient evidence to justify charges. Investigators will take another look at the allegations included in the lawsuit, which are based on reports by probation officers.

State Attorney General Beau Biden's office had initially indicted Richards on two counts of second-degree rape of a child -- Class B violent felonies that carry a mandatory 10-year prison term for each count.  According to the arrest warrant filed by a New Castle County Police Detective JoAnna Burton in December 2007, the girl, then 5, told her grandmother, Donna Burg, that Richards sexually abused her.

Burg said the child reported that her father told her it was "our little secret" but said she didn't want "my daddy touching me anymore." Tracy Richards, who confronted her then-husband, told police he admitted abusing his daughter but said "it was an accident and he would never do it again," the warrant said.

Richards was free on $60,000 secured bail while awaiting trial on the charges that could have put him behind bars for years.  But in June 2008, just days before a scheduled trial, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak offered Richards a plea to a single count of fourth-degree rape, which carries no mandatory time, and he accepted, admitting in court that he abused his child.

"It was more than reasonable, an enlightened plea offer," Richards attorney Eugene J. Maurer Jr. said.  Fourth-degree rape is a Class C violent felony that by law can bring up to 15 years in prison, though guidelines suggest zero to 2 1/2 years in prison.

At Richards' February 2009 sentencing, Hrivnak recommended probation, Biden's chief deputy Ian R. McConnel said, adding that in retrospect he wished she would have sought prison time.  Hrivnak would not comment.... McConnel would not discuss the rationale behind the Richards' plea deal and Hrivnak's recommendation of probation for the fourth-degree rape conviction.

While judges have the latitude to sentence defendants within legal parameters, they are urged to follow more lenient guidelines established by the Delaware Sentencing Accountability Commission, a panel of judges and other top officials in the criminal justice system. The panel has a policy that prison should be reserved for violent offenders, including rapists.

Jurden gave Richards, who had no previous criminal record, an eight-year prison term, but suspended all the prison time for probation. "Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting," said the final line of her sentencing order. In Delaware's correctional system, Level 5 is prison....

Defense lawyer Joseph A. Hurley said it makes sense to him that the judge would be concerned about Richards' time in prison. "Sure, they have protective custody, but that is solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. We're not a third-world society," Hurley said. "Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison," Hurley said. "He's a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can't protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on."

Though lots of reactions to this story are possible, I cannot help but highlight that a story which might seem like an example of a sentencing judge being surprisingly lenient proves to really be a story of prosecutors being surprisingly lenient through plea bargaining and sentencing recommendations. Without a lot more information about the evidence in the case, I am disinclined to robustly criticize either the prosecutors or the judge for how this du Pont heir was treated. But I am inclined to encourage everyone to appreciate how this story reveals yet again how prosecutorial charging, bargaining and sentencing decisions are never subject to transparency or formal review, while judicial sentencing decisions have to be made in open court, on the record, and can in some cases be appealed.

March 31, 2014 at 09:13 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Controversy long after du Pont heir got probation as punishment for raping his small daughter:


Yet another example...as if we needed one...that the wealthy live under a different set of laws than the rest of us hoi poloi. Is it any wonder why there is such a popular revulsion against the "1%"?

This prosecutor should be sent to the unemployment line, along with the one who botched Charlie Sheen's prosecution.

The defense attorney is right about one thing, though...Richards would have gotten his ass kicked in prison for his "accidental" rape of his own daughter. How pathetic is it that hardened criminals have a better sense of moral outrage against this than the prosecutor, defense attorney, or judge?

Posted by: Res ipsa | Mar 31, 2014 9:31:47 AM

I had a brief time interning at the Delaware Public Defender. My first reaction was surprise at the conviction being for 4th degree Rape. IIRC, rape of someone that young should have been a mandatory life without parole. In spite of that, his status and privilege (not just his wealth, but being a DuPont) seemed to have earned him a discount. While I can't entirely blame the Prosecution (they still had no reason to expect the Judge to go to the bottom end of possible sentence even after they dropped it so much), it does seem they dropped it too far under the circumstances.

This is a good case for the reasons why Mandatory Minimums could promote progressive goals (I'd argue they generally don't, though, and are more about assaultive retributivism and chilling jury trials). I bet everyone at the Public Defender's Office wishes they could make the same argument for each of their clients but none of them will get the same treatment. Uniformity of sentences that don't factor in privilege is a goal of the criminal justice system. Sentences like this that would only happen in these rare circumstances bother me quite a bit. It's why I generally favor reduced mandatory minimums, but I can't say some jail time for rape of a three year old is inappropriate.

Posted by: Erik M | Mar 31, 2014 9:42:48 AM

Res Ipsa asked: "Is it any wonder why there is such a popular revulsion against the "1%"?"

Yeah, the scope and force of this "revulsion" is amazing. Just yesterday, exactly 0 one percenters were strung up and executed in US public squares.

Oh, the humanity...

Doug, your comparison of "transparency between prosecutorial charging/plea decisions and a judge's sentence is absurd.

In one instance, both sides sign an agreement and in the other the decision is thrust upon the defendant/state.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 31, 2014 10:46:34 AM

Actually, I think this story illustrates the opposite of what Doug says. First, the prosecutorial decision has become public here, and the Elected official in charge of that office may well pay a price at the polls come reelection time -- - form of electoral pressure that Doug (and many of the rest of us) would not like to see imposed on judges. Second, the judge's decision was not in any way public and reviewed -- rather, it was kept secret until finally revealed by the (justifiably outraged) mother.

So fault the prosecutor all you want, but at least the prosecutor's chief official is accountable in the end.

Posted by: Analysis | Mar 31, 2014 10:56:06 AM

Just curious, Doug.

What "sentencing decisions" do prosecutors make?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 31, 2014 11:58:39 AM

Glad folks are engaging the issue of how to assess the work of both the prosecutors and the judge in this case which, it seems, involved a surprisingly low sentence for a seemingly very serious crime. Let me explain further how I see the case:

1. The Delaware legislature (and thus presumably the people of Delaware) has decided a 10-year mandatory minimum prison term to be the minimum just and effective term for the kind of serious rape crime this du Pont heir committed. Whether that is a sound judgment could be debated on the philosophical merits (some may think the MM should be longer or shorter), but that is the democratically legitimate determination set out in Delaware law.

2. For reasons that are now opaque and perhaps can never be known, Delaware prosecutors decided they were unwilling or unable to prove to a jury BRD that this defendant committed 2d-degree child rape; they decided to offer/allow a plea to a lesser charge with no MM and a max of 15 years (and a guideline range of zero to 2.5 year). This critical plea decision, Tarls, is key prosecutorial sentencing decision #1, which altered the lawful sentencing range from 10-25 years to 0-15 years. (Indeed, looking closely at Del law, the MM may have been 25 years because of the age of the child, which makes this bargaining/sentencing decision even more questionable and more in need of explanation/justification.)

3. I complain about a lack of transparency or formal review because this bargaining/sentencing decision ensure this du Pont heir would get a reduced punishment, and we cannot ever know how or why it was made. Did the prosecutors fear the defendant would not be convicted? Why? Did the prosecutors think a 10-year MM (or 25-year MM) would be too harsh after a likely conviction? Why? Did the prosecutors want to curry favor with the powerful du Pont family? Did the prosecutors want to curry favor with the lawyers representing the defendant? The world will never know because it seems very unlikely the prosecutors will explain this plea decision, and I do not believe anyone can ever legally seek formal or even informal discovery of any documents or persons involved in this decision.

4. Had the prosecutors taken the plea to the lesser charge but then advocated for a stat-max sentence of 15 years (or even a top-of-the-guideline sentence of 2.5 years), I am sure this defendant would have gotten some serious prison time (kind of like what happened in Montana Killer Bride case -- prosecutors take plea to lesser charge to ensure conviction, then advocate for max LWOP sentence). But here we get the next critical sentencing decision by prosecutors, Tarls: they advocate to the sentencing judge for a probation. Again, unanswered question abound about this curious sentencing judgment. Did prosecutors genuinely conclude probation was a fair and effective sentence on the facts as known them? Why? Did the prosecutors want to curry favor with the powerful du Pont family? Did the prosecutors want to curry favor with the lawyers representing the defendant? I trust all agree this was a VERY questionable/suspect sentencing advocacy position adopted by prosecutors, and I am eager to know a whole lot more about how and why it was reached --- in part to see if there might be some special 1%er rape rule (still) in the State's Attorneys Office.

5. Interestingly, and only when all the suspect prosecutorial decision-making finally gets revealed half a decade later --- and I strongly suspect prosecutors played a big role in keeping all this sealed until now --- a spokesperson says "in retrospect [the state] wished [the prosecutor] would have sought prison time [but now] would not discuss the rationale behind the Richards' plea deal and Hrivnak's recommendation of probation for the fourth-degree rape conviction." How convenient! In other words, when prosecutors finally get their hands caught in the 1%-bargaing/sentencing-leniency-for-child-rape-cookie-jar, they are now quick to say, "oops we got got that case (VERY?) wrong," but still we will never tell you how or why we made this significant sentencing mistake (and we hope the Bill Otis and Tarls types focus all sorts of blame on the sentencing judge, not us, if they dislike the outcome here that resulted from our mistakes).

6. The point made by Tarls about the plea agreement helps highlight why I have a hard time faulting the sentencing judge here: both the defendant AND state prosecutors told the sentencing judge that probation is a fair and just outcome here (and, of course, this is a legal sentence because -- and only because -- prosecutors accepted a plea to a lesser rape charge). And yet, even after prosecutors sought this lenient sentence, the judge still explain on the record why she selected the sentence. Moreover, she technically imposed an eight-year prison term, but then suspended all the prison time for probation based on the view that the defendant "will not fare well in Level 5 setting." (Based on this reporting, it is unclear if this actually was a tougher sentence than prosecutors sought, but it is clear is that the judge gave a reason that could be assessed and reviewed by the public and others. Also, we know this judge's sentencing reputation because, unlike most of the line prosecutors hidden behind the curtain of their office, every sentencing decision made by this judge is on the record.)

7. Though I do not know all the specifics of appellate review of sentences in Delaware, in the federal system a sentence like this would be subject to appeal for reasonableness. But, of course, whenever prosecutors are the real culprits deciding to give a defendant some major (and misguided? unfair? corrupt?) sentencing break, the prosecutors are very unlikely to seek an appeal. (This is one of many reasons I support CJ standing for victims: if victims had an independent right to appeal, the mom here or an appointed guardian for the abused child might have sought review of the probation sentence. But, of course, because prosecutorial sentencing decisions are hidden and not subject to any review, even victim standing would not be able to undo (or even understand) all the sentencing breaks given to defendant by prosecutors).

8. Last but not least, Analysis, I favor judges subject to the same electorial accountability as prosecutors: I would generally like to see merit selection of both judges and prosecutors followed by up/down retention elections. (Perhaps prosecutors would go before voters every 3 years, trial judges every 6, appeals judges every 12.) You are right that the judge here surely played a role in keep this quiet, but I suspect only because prosecutors wanted to keep it all quiet. Moreover, once the facts finally came out we can still see and assess how and why the sentencing judge gave this du Pont heir a break because it is on an official court record. But I suspect will all be waiting for a Godot that will never come if we want some substantive explanation or real accountability concerning the (many unknown) prosecutors who helped decide to let this defendant plead to a lesser rape charge AND recommended probation at sentencing.

KEY POINT/TAKEAWAY: I am not trying to defend on the substantive merits the judge's sentencing decision in this case. (As I said before, I would need to learn a lot more specifics before weighing in on the merits with specificity.) Rather, I am trying to highlight only that the judge's sentencing decision was only legally possible (and only practically likely) because prosecutors made two MUCH more suspect and MUCH less transparent/reviewable sentencing decisions before the judge even arrived at the sentencing hearing.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 31, 2014 12:07:48 PM

Looks like the judge actually made probation pretty lengthy (8 years, far above the guidelines of 0 - 2.5 years prison). But still I can see the bind the prosecution was in as well. State sex cases tend to have actual victims unlike most federal sex cases, and that means if you go through to trial, that little girl will be cross examined by a razor sharp defense attorney. At 5 or 6 years old, we know how that would go.

I'm unclear, was this his first offense? One prosecutor couldn't make a statement due to the defendant being a client to her while on probation? That's a little strange.

"State Prosecutor Kathleen M. Jennings could not discuss the case ...because she had represented Richards while he was on probation"

As to the sentence, if he was a first time offender, the inpatient treatment followed by full out lengthy probation I think might let him get help rather than stitches he'd get inside. If he was not a first time offender... Well, probation is likely not enough.

Posted by: Skeptical | Mar 31, 2014 1:33:08 PM


The Prosecution is not going to pay a price at the polls for this. It's Joe Biden's son. What are the odds of him losing his job? Second, if this happened in 2009, shouldn't this have been more transparent if the voters are to actually decide?

Posted by: Erik M | Mar 31, 2014 2:05:19 PM

When I read the article, I confess I was about to convert to Bill Otis's view on the need for mandatory minimums. But, I see Prof. Berman's explanation and then went to the loacal news article. As it turns out, it was indeed the prosecutor, who for reasons known only to the prosecutor, agreed to drop the mandatory 10 year crime--and settle for a 4th degree rape; and to take a favorable position at sentencing. Clearly must have been serious problems of proof, and generally a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But is it always? The negative publicity to the prosecutor's office will be enormous.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Mar 31, 2014 3:43:29 PM


Most of the media attention has been aimed at the judge. That's just plain bad reporting, but makes for a great headline.

Posted by: Skeptical | Mar 31, 2014 4:24:06 PM

Siding with the child is always a gut reaction and instict in a case like this. As it always should be.

But when the reaction is explosive, something is amiss. Take the DemocraticUndergound.com reaction: Judge said du Pont heir 'will not fare well' in prison - gives him probation for rape of 3 yr old. A reaction with this much outrage suggests a lack of sufficent transparancy. While I don't claim to have the experience or knowledge to be a lawyer, I can Google, and thought there must be more to this story. There is another article in USA Today that could shed some light on it.

Du Pont heir accused of raping 2nd child in lawsuit.

Tracy Richards is scheduled to appear at a news conference about the case with her lawyers at their downtown office later Tuesday. She is represented by the Jacobs & Crumplar law firm that sued the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington over sex abuse by priests and with other lawyers won a $77.4 million settlement for victims.

It concludes like this:

That September, his probation officer informed Superior Court that during the polygraph, "the possibility of sexual contact'' with his son "came to light,'' according to the officer's progress report, filed with the lawsuit.

In a 2012 progress report, another probation officer reminded the court that "there are concerns about Mr. Richards' past offenses concerning his son.''

The proven abuse of his daughter and alleged assault of his son has caused his children "long-term injuries,'' the lawsuit filed Tuesday said, perhaps including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual dysfunction and shame.

His daughter also has "repressed memories of some instances of the abuse she suffered," and if the son was abused, the same is true with him, the suit said.

With medical treatment, the lawsuit said, those memories will likely "begin to surface."

This is an extreamly important topic and our host went to great trouble to argue his points, but I ask, in terms of transparency, was the prosecution stuck between a rock and a hard place politically?

Having done some research into flase confessions in the last couple of years, I also wonder if Richards might be the type open to interrogation suggestions that can lead to false confessions. I'm not saying I know the truth one way or the other and would agree the protection of the little girl has to come first, but still, there is more than transparancy to ponder. For the sake of argument, let's say the prosecutiion knew this was possibly a case of a child being coaxed and a dubious confession but has no way of knowing for sure either way, what is a prosecutor to do? Probably side with child; and getting someone on the sex offender registry is polictially important.

So how could more transparancy help?

Posted by: George | Mar 31, 2014 5:14:59 PM

If the guy did time in adult general population he might get anally raped. Inmates will target a child rapist or a punk looking person like Tsarboy or Justin Bieber. When the kids grow up they could get even by shooting the perp. Maybe his money is getting him favors with the Judge.

Posted by: Liberty1stl | Mar 31, 2014 5:23:15 PM

Actually at the state level, this kind of sentence is typical. It's not just for the 1%. I have a friend who was caught up in a sting operation several years ago. He spent 18 months in federal prison and had to go to therapy with contact offenders when he got out. He said that 7 of the offenders in his group had done no prison time at all for a contact offense. He said they talked about the horrendous things they did to their victims, but these guys never saw the inside of a jail cell. There is something wrong with that. While these guys see no time, there are thousands in prison for 20 years for images on a computer.

Another thing this tells you is that the registry didn't work for his daughter. He was a family member not on the registry. It fits all of the empirical data that is currently out there.

Posted by: JillSmith | Mar 31, 2014 6:06:37 PM

I haven't the time to keep up with this very long and interesting thread, but a couple of things did stand out.

The first is that virtually every word criticizes the judge and the prosecutor. The defendant, who did this awful thing, and the defense lawyer, who gushingly urged this abomination of a sentence, come in for zero criticism.

The second is the mind-bending hypocrisy of the defense side. How many hundred times have I read on this site comments from Doug and the defense bar that the prosecutor is a heartless thug who simply turns a deaf ear to any exceptional circumstances about the defendant, charges to the hilt, and then demands the as-ever "draconian" sentence?

Today, we hear the exact opposite argument, but the same conclusion: that the prosecutor is a cretin and morally tone deaf. And why is he these things? Because he listened to the defense lawyer's presentation about why the case should be charged and sentenced as it was.

So when defense counsel sells a load of baloney to the prosecutor, it's not counsel's fault for peddling the baloney, it's the prosecutor's fault for being enough of a fool to believe it.

This latter part may well be true; I don't know but it sure looks bad. But "hypocritical" falls far short of the correct word for the defense lawyers who do their "zealous" best to convince the prosecutor of exactly the kind of stuff that (apparently) went on here, then turn on a dime, in anonymous commentary, to scorch the prosecutor for believing them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 31, 2014 6:37:25 PM

Michael R. Levine --

"When I read the article, I confess I was about to convert to Bill Otis's view on the need for mandatory minimums."

There's hope for me after all!

P.S. There is still a need for MM's. There is also a need for prosecutors who aren't complete fools. And there is a need for this judge to resign tomorrow morning.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 31, 2014 6:43:59 PM

Powerful, well connected people get lighter sentences because other rich or politically powerful people interviene publically or privately stepped in to shape things.

For example, let's take Bill Otis. During the proceedings surrounding Scooter Libbey, Bill rushed to Mr. Libbey's defense (who was Vice President Cheney's advisor before he was convicted and disbarred for the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.


The Judge was taken so much with the papandering of political lawyers stepping in for Libbey, it was remarked upon in the opinion:

"It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics' willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of this nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it."

Bill Otis: Harsh sentencing for drugs and the poor is fine, just don't mess with his establishment Republican friends.

Posted by: Skeptical | Mar 31, 2014 7:55:34 PM

"I'm not saying I know the truth one way or the other and would agree the
protection of the little girl has to come first,"

George, the TRUTH always comes first, not feelings or political expediency.
Just so long as no further harm is possible, and potential past harms are beginning to be healed in an un-biased manner.

Of all the comments on this topic, only JillSmith's has any substance for the condition of the majority of defendents charged with "sex crimes". This perpetrator is a potential REAL sex-offender, and not similar to the many imaginary stereotypes that are frequently presented here. He should have done some real hard time, if guilt is acknowledged or proven, if anyone does.

Posted by: albeed | Mar 31, 2014 9:37:12 PM

Skeptical --

You're just like this article. You spend years bellowing that sentences are too harsh, and that first-time, non-violent offenders should not be sent to jail.

So what happens? When I see an atypical case (and no sensate person could doubt that the Libby case is atypical) and agree that, in the circumstances of that particular case, the things you've been saying have merit, and that this 57 year-old first-time, non-violent offender does not belong in jail, what do you do?

Attack me!!

P.S. I do not know Mr. Libby, have never met him, and have never been contacted either by anyone in his behalf or by the White House on that case.

I'm sorry you resent my success as an attorney. But I fail to see where your resentment gets you anything. Just tearing me down, which your increasingly personal and substance-empty posts seek to do, will not build you up.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 31, 2014 9:38:45 PM

Skeptical--the prosecution of Libby was one of those Washington farces. Libby didn't out Plame--Richard Armitage did. And the so-called privileged can the victims of appalling injustice, e.g., the Duke lacrosse players.

I suspect this particular injustice was partially a result of lingering doubt on the part of the judge. To the extent the charges are true, this is an appallingly short sentence for an awful crime.

I have a question--why do all the people who rail against a sentence like this fail to say a peep about appallingly short sentences handed down in cases like the Long Beach Halloween hate crime?

ANyone got an answer to that?

Posted by: federalist | Mar 31, 2014 9:51:50 PM

@Bill, I'm not defending the defendant's conduct he pled guilty to, I thought it went without saying. I felt at least some jail time was appropriate and I think we're all in agreement that his sentence was too low based on the conduct. But that's why there's an adversarial system. We expect those who seek higher punishments to seek them. Obviously, the defendant himself isn't going to want a higher punishment. Likewise, while I do think a Prosecutor has two hats to wear, the prosecutor is expected to seek something on the high range of acceptable punishment with the assumption that the defense attorney will balance that out to create a full picture. That's why I can't fault the defense attorney for doing his job in the system we have but I am confused by the Prosecutor's actions which, barring serious issues of proof, seems to have not been doing his job appropriately.

Posted by: Erik M | Mar 31, 2014 10:20:52 PM

Erik M --

"Bill, I'm not defending the defendant's conduct he pled guilty to, I thought it went without saying."

It goes without saying for you, yes. But you have a good deal more sense than the numerous defendant-is-victimized banshees who comment here.

"I am confused by the Prosecutor's actions which, barring serious issues of proof, seems to have not been doing his job appropriately."

I could scarcely agree more. The problem is with the qualifier, "barring serious issues of proof." We simply don't know whether there were such issues.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 31, 2014 10:40:54 PM

federalist --

"I have a question--why do all the people who rail against a sentence like this fail to say a peep about appallingly short sentences handed down in cases like the Long Beach Halloween hate crime?"

Good luck on getting an answer.

Of course you might get a response, it just won't be an answer. Increasingly, the pro-defendant side just disappears when they either don't have an answer, or know that the answer will expose them as unhinged.

Either that, or they just yelp that any conservative is a Malevolent, Evil, Really Bad, One Percent-type White Male.

This is what passes for "argument." I have noticed that next to no one wants to take you on as a legal analyst -- not that I blame them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 31, 2014 10:49:35 PM

I have to agree the guy is slime and will probably always be slime.

but this caught my eye!

"That September, his probation officer informed Superior Court that during the polygraph, "the possibility of sexual contact'' with his son "came to light,'' according to the officer's progress report, filed with the lawsuit."

sounds like a 5th amendment violation to me at a minimum.

especially this part!

"the possibility of sexual contact'' with his son "came to light"

what good is possibility! hell there's a possibility most politicians are NOT crooks and HAVE a brain but I wouldn't put any money on it!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 31, 2014 11:28:38 PM

If there were serious issues of proof, the Attorney General should say so. Because, in that situation, it was a strategic choice to take the bird in the hand. In that case, I can't fault any of the players involved (although, barring an agreement for a sentence recommendation, the Prosecution's recommendation of Probation still can't be solely explained through that reason).

Posted by: Erik M | Apr 1, 2014 7:30:16 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB