(Host) Vermont District Court Judge Edward Cashman says he’s convinced that his controversial sentence for child molester Mark Hulett was a sound one.
Earlier this year, Cashman was widely criticized by those who felt the sentence was too lenient.
VPR’s Steve Zind reports.
(Zind) Cashman says lack of accurate information drove the public anger over his sentence, which was widely reported as simply a 60-day prison term for Hulett.
Speaking Wednesday on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Cashman said the sentence he passed down included rigorous conditions designed to protect the public from Hulett, while assuring he would receive sex offender treatment.
(Cashman) “That was a good sentence. I’ve never gone through a sexual assault sentence without some negative blow back. It is such a strong emotional event. So when I got into that one and the heat started to come on that, you always go back and rethink it, ‘did I do it right?’ And I said, ‘I understand the system, I understand the sentence, this is the best sentence for everybody involved, I’m happy with it.’ My job at that point was just to stick with it and do not let myself get into a situation where it appears that a sentencing judge in Vermont can be swayed by angry public opinion. This would have defeated the whole purpose of the judiciary.”
(Zind) As a result of Cashman’s sentencing decision, the Vermont Department of Corrections altered its policy on treatment of people deemed low risk sexual offenders.
But Cashman says he did not set out to change the system.
Cashman plans to retire this spring after 25 years on the bench.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.