And the point of sentencing guidelines is what exactly?

From The Free Lance–Star:

A Spotsylvania County man was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for the repeated molestation of his 15-year-old daughter.

He pleaded guilty last fall to incest, sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties of the girl after his wife, the girl’s stepmother, hid video cameras in the family’s home after suspecting abuse.

[…]

[Defense Attorney Eugene] Frost asked the judge for a five-year sentence. The sentencing guidelines called for a midpoint of a 19-year active sentence.

But Beck deviated to a much lesser sentence than that recommended in the guidelines.

The total sentence given to the man was five years for each of the indecent liberties charges, life in prison for the sodomy and 20 years for both the incest and aggravated sexual battery.

Beck though, suspended all but two years on each conviction.

He also ordered that part of the time the man spends in jail be at a facility that offers sex-offender rehabilitation.

What exactly is the point of having sentencing guidelines when the judge essentially ignores them, especially when it’s for a crime like this?

Hopefully the next time Judge Beck is up for reappointment someone at the General Assembly remembers this and gives him hell for it.

2 Comments

  1. Although this case that you cite, appears to be egregious, we do not know all of the factors that the judge took into consideration.

    The judge is not on the bench, merely to apply a cookie cutter approach to our justice system. Judges are supposed to apply the law, while taking into account the myriad facts that are part of the case.

    “Judicial guidelines” should never be used to take away the core function of our judges. We as citizens want a judiciary that is capable and willing to apply all of the evidence presented in a case in order to develop a fair, just verdict and, if the citizen who is charged is judged to be guilty, a suitable sentence that takes into account the many issues, including admission of guilt, remorse, potential for rehabilitation, along with present and past contributions to society.

    In this specific case, the fact that Judge Beck did not closely adhere to the supposed guideline, merely confirms that the judge is willing to make decisions based on what was heard in the case and not willing to merely resort to following the generic guidelines.

    Virginia’s judicial appointment procedure gives us a better result than what is had by most other states, who either elect or have governor appointment of judges. However, Virginia does need a much more aggressive judicial review process. Judges who are contemptuous towards the citizens who appear before them, or who fail to take necessary steps to hear all of the facts of a case for the sake of expediency, do great harm to our People and to the integrity of our justice system. The Assembly must act to provide for a better procedure for reviewing the performance of our judges. The prompt removal of judges who do not live up to our high standards of fairness and competence, must be dismissed.

  2. Cindy says:

    Why don’t you send a copy of this over to Morbid at Dreamin Demon… We love to bad mouth reluctant judges and and we firmly believe that child molestors can’t be fixed!!!!

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