- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

Vermont Judge Edward Cashman is a mockery of our judicial system. In sentencing a confessed child rapist to just 60 days in jail recently, because punishment “accomplishes nothing of value,” he has abdicated his judicial responsibility. State prosecutors formally asked him yesterday to reconsider his decision, but so far the judge has refused.

Should he continue to do so, Vermont legislators should follow all means necessary in removing him from the bench.

Unfortunately, neither Judge Cashman’s resignation nor his impeachment will help the little girl whom Mark Hulett raped over a four-year period. Nor will it help her family, who one day will have to explain to her what happened. What is she to think knowing that her rapist walks free? These are the questions Judge Cashman should have considered when sentencing Hulett. Instead, the judge seems more concerned about giving the rest of us a lesson in tolerance and anger management. “The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything,” he said during last week’s sentencing. “It just corrodes your soul.”

Public reaction to the sentencing has been predictably fierce. The judge made Knave of the Week in this space last week for his unconscionable sentencing. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly this week urged all Americans to voice their soul-corroding anger at the Vermont government.

Mr. O’Reilly also took issue with some Vermont newspapers that have amazingly come to Judge Cashman’s defense. The Rutland Herald, for instance, editorialized on Thursday that Judge Cashman “issued a sentence precisely to protect children.” It calls impeachment an “excessive response,” despite admitting that a 60-day sentence was “too light.” The Bennington Banner thinks critics like Mr. O’Reilly and Gov. Jim Douglas are “grandstanding” and “opportunistic,” while explaining to the rest of us dotards that “things aren’t that simple.” This from editorial boards that nonetheless think that “child sexual abuse is one of the most destructive outrages our system must deal with” (Rutland Herald) and “a profoundly vicious and damaging act” (Bennington Banner).

We wonder if, after Hulett serves his 60-day sentence, those same editors would let their own children spend a leisurely afternoon in his presence. If the answer is no, then they should probably re-evaluate their defense of Judge Cashman.

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