(Crossposted on Maryland Politics)
It was reported yesterday that an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court assigned NO jail time to a man who pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. The defendant stabbed his victim as the result of an argument over who was next in line to buy a crab cake in a carry-out restaurant in Linthicum.
The judge, Michele D. Jaklitsch, suspended the convict's sentence because he agreed to pay the victim $25,000, explaining
"I think that it is important for the victim to get his money rather than wait seven to 10 years when he gets out."
This was not the civil trial--it was the criminal trial for the defendants offenses against the people of the State of Maryland! Hogwash!!
The way to deter criminal behavior is to provide a disincentive to commit the crime. Where is that disincentive? The message has been sent: don't worry about what crime you commit, you can just buy your way out. Somebody send the memo to Paris Hilton!
Maryland is becoming known for its ridiculous sentences to criminals. If we can't even properly punish violent offenders and sex criminals, what chance do our other laws have of being enforced?
In Virginia you go to jail for reckless driving--in Maryland you can buy your way out of stabbing someone for a crab cake. Geez, this post pretty much wrote itself.