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Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 06/24/2010

Parole didn't cause this tragedy

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Rick Binetti
Towson

In a June 20 Local Opinions commentary, “A tragic reminder of Maryland’s broken parole system,” former Maryland Division of Correction employee Hal Riedl offered a misleading account of how much time Cyril Cornelius Williams, the suspect in the June 11 murder of State Trooper Wesley Brown, spent in prison, even speculating that the suspect might have still been in prison at the time of the shooting if he had not been paroled.

In the majority of criminal cases where a defendant waits in jail during a trial because he wasn’t given bail by a judge or can’t afford it, the courts will begin a sentence from the date the offender was first incarcerated for the crime. In other words, the time served before a guilty verdict counts against the offender’s sentence. Thus Mr. Williams began his sentence almost eight months earlier than when he actually entered Maryland’s Division of Correction in August 2006. Mr. Riedl’s premise would lead people to believe that he began serving his sentence in August 2006.

Based on Maryland state law, which dictates what types of, and how many, diminution credits inmates are entitled to while serving time, the accused perpetrator of this horrible crime was due to be released in November 2009. Mr. Williams would have been out of prison regardless of whether he had been paroled.

And while this does not change the tragedy of Trooper Brown’s death, unfortunately Mr. Riedl told only part of the story. His speculation was ill advised and counterproductive.

The writer is director of communications for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | June 24, 2010; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, Prince George's County  
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Comments

Let's compare and contrast sentences in Maryland and say Virginia.
In Md. for an Armed Robbery the sentence (IF convicted) might be 18 months to 3 years due to very lax sentencing. Upon conviction the criminal is almost immediately eligible for release if he had been jail pre-conviction.
Why?
'Good Time' credits, early Parole and Dept. of Corrections Social 'Workers' being snowed by the criminal.

In Virginia the same criminal would get 20 years with NO Parole.

So indeed Maryland Corrections are not ENTIRELY responsible for the early release of the criminal that WAS released by them but they certainly played their part in the total joke that is called 'Maryland Justice'.

So when one lives in a State or Commonwealth controlled by liberal Democrats this is what you get.

Posted by: Etek | June 27, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

When he was paroled on July 23,2008, Cyril Williams was serving two separate five-year sentences. Although they were concurrent, they were not coterminous. The latter five years began on August 17, 2006, as my commentary clearly stated. By law Mr. Williams was entitled to deduction of a minimum of ten months of real calendar time on this latter sentence. Thus his latest possible release date, regardless of parole, would have been October 17, 2010.

As I stated in my commentary, "allowance must be made for additional credits that he would have earned" during the 23 months of real time that Mr. Williams actually served on his second five-year sentence. Mr. Binetti is now telling us that at the time Mr. Williams went home on parole, his mandatory release date, if he had not made
parole, was November 2009.

This disclosure in itself should give us pause. Due to the generous extra credits that the Maryland Division of Correction allows for reasons other than good behavior, Mr. Williams would have gone home, even if he had never made parole, according to Mr. Binetti, having served 39 months of real time on his second five-year sentence.

My commentary's two main thrusts remain undisturbed. One, that Cyril Williams was approved for parole and released after serving less than half of his full sentence. Two, that there are other major drug sellers and violent offenders, like Mr. Williams, who have been set free by an accelerated parole project that was initiated after Martin O'Malley became governor. Mr. Binetti sets forth nothing to contradict these points. They remain facts, not "speculation."

In offering this to the Post, I hoped that Mr. O'Malley would immediately look into the Parole Commission practices that so gravely invite new crimes and new victims.
My repeated efforts to reach Matthew Gallagher, Mr. O'Malley's chief of staff, have produced no response. Mr. O'Malley appears to have chosen to react to my information as a public relations problem, rather than to respond to it as a public safety emergency.

Posted by: halriedl | June 27, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Indeed.

Politics before policy is the norm in Maryland. Mr. O'Malley's evident refusal to implement the capital punishment procedures that the law requires shows voters just how much he respects the rule of law. It is subordinate to his own views.

The law and a jury issues a punishment of death, affirmed by appeals courts; O'Malley refuses.

The law (jury and judge) issue sentences of incarceration; O'Malley and his ilk truncate them.

The pattern is not accidental.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | June 29, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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