--Richard E. Vatz
Maryland's generally liberal ethic has always extended to its criminal justice system.
How do Marylanders react when felonious actors are rewarded with verdicts exculpating them from responsibility from horrible acts?
Mostly with a yawn; after all, very few Marylanders will ever experience violence for which the perpetrator will, pace judges who sympathize with criminals and psychiatrists who mystify juries and courts with their psychojargon, serve no time in prison and/or will gain early freedom.
Latest case in point (credit The Baltimore Sun's Andrea F. Siegel for the following factual basis and quotes): A Crofton teenager, David B. Raszewski, has his 50-year sentence for raping a 7-year-old cut to 20 years -- and it may effectively be cut in half again to allow him parole before he is 30.
Why? Try to understand the rationale:
The premeditated outrage -- including Raszewski's enticing the little girl to his house and then raping her, followed by his trying to bribe her to ensure her silence -- was mostly forgiven by three Anne Arundel County judges who should be impeached for such a dereliction of duty.
What did the judges cite as mitigating factors? The rapist's youth, lack of prior record (want to bet whether he has committed similar atrocities before?), and post-arrest diagnosis of "atypical autism." "Atypical" is added to psychiatric diagnoses to make them compatible with their lack of correspondence to accepted behavioral symptomatology. Moreover, there is no evidence that this heinous act was uncontrollable or that Raszewski didn't know what he was doing (not even alleged by the defense). The judges, including Paul F. Harris and Pamela L. North, wrote that the attacker had "a fantastical view of sexuality." Ergo, what? Largely excuse those who rape children unless they have a well-adjusted view of sexuality?
The family of the victim and the victim are apoplectic and forever scared and scarred. Ten years until the criminal is free -- how reassuring. How sensitive the judges must be toward the permanent terror experienced by a little girl just starting life.
After release Raszewski will receive "therapy and psychiatric care." Show Marylanders the evidence that such coddling results in a cessation of sexual assault. There is no such compelling case that can be made.
This is yet another case of psychiatric/judicial get-out-of-jail early cards.
It can happen only when a state's population and legislative representatives condone it by inaction.
Professor Vatz has written for decades on psychiatry and criminality
Thursday, May 26, 2011
--Richard E. Vatz