Parole didn't cause this tragedy
By Rick Binetti
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.
| June 24, 2010; 6:43 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Maryland, Prince George's County
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