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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:33 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Vermont is in need of fair sentencing

Ralph Page is a problem. The 35-year-old Vermont man has two drunk driving convictions and now faces charges of theft and assaulting his girlfriend.

He’s a typical low-level offender who shuffles around causing trouble and clogging up the justice system.

On Jan. 17, Page ambled into Judge Patricia Zimmerman’s courtroom to answer charges that he punched a woman in the face. Apparently, Page did not like hearing the charges against him and screamed out, “This is f---ing bull----.” That annoyed Judge Zimmerman, who promptly found Page in contempt of court and sentenced him to 60 days in a Vermont jail.

Nothing wrong with that, but listen to this: That 60-day sentence is the same amount of jail time another Vermont judge, Edward Cashman, awarded 34-year-old Mark Hulett. It is here where the Vermont justice system collapses. Incredibly, Hulett pleaded guilty to a variety of felony sexual assault charges against a 6-year-old girl. Over a period of four years, Hulett, a friend of the girl’s mother, confessed to raping the child in her own home. It was a methodical and brutal series of actions on Hulett’s part, and it has devastated an innocent little girl.

When it came time to sentence Hulett, Judge Cashman suspended all but 60 days of a potential life prison stretch, because Cashman wanted Hulett to get “treatment.” At sentencing the judge said: “I keep telling prosecutors, and they won’t hear me, that punishment is not enough.”

If Hulett had committed the same crime in Florida, he would now be serving 25-to-life in the penitentiary because that state has enacted mandatory minimum sentences for felony battery on children. But Vermont has no such minimums. So Mark Hulett, child rapist, is due to walk free on March 4.

Judge Cashman’s sympathies are with the rapist, and he did not even try to hide that fact. Because of Cashman’s outrageous sentence, you would think Vermonters would be calling for his gavel and robe.

You would think. But you’d be wrong.

Most of the state’s liberal newspapers are supporting Cashman. The far-left Brattleboro Reformer editorialized: “Lengthy jail terms, without rehabilitation will not accomplish anything.”

Really? How about keeping child rapists away from children? Doesn’t a lengthy prison term accomplish that?