Judge Decides To Retain Authority In Murder Case

April 14, 1991|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Harford Circuit Court Judge Cypert O. Whitfill has denied a request by convicted killer Timothy S. Sherman to allow another judge to decide whether he should get a reduced sentence.

In the eight-page ruling issued Monday, Whitfill said allegations of misconduct made against him by Sherman's attorneys during previous court proceedings have not biased him against their client.

"Judging requires not only thick skin but also the ability to separate personal feelings from the decision-making process," Whitfill said. ". . . This judge will not impute to a party any personal feelings he may have for that party's attorney."

Whitfill sentenced Sherman to two consecutive life terms in prison following Sherman's conviction of two counts of murder in June 1988.

Sherman, now 21, was found guilty of shooting his parents, Elizabeth and Stevenson Sherman,while they slept in their home, north of Bel Air on Oct. 12, 1987.

Sherman's lawyers are his uncle, Stuart J. Robinson of Bel Air, andMichael Bromwich of Washington D.C.

They have alleged that Whitfill rushed the jurors into making a verdict by visiting the jury room during deliberations.

The attorneys also claim that Whitfill was living in Baltimore County at the time of Sherman's trial, making him ineligible to preside over the proceedings.

Robinson and Bromwich made the allegations during post-conviction proceedings in Baltimore County Circuit Court last October.

Their motion for a new trial was denied by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge, who found no evidence of misconduct by Whitfill.

During a hearing in Harford Circuit Court last month, Robinson and Bromwich argued that their allegations made it impossible for Whitfill to issue a fair ruling on Sherman's request for a modified sentence.

But Whitfill said in his rulingMonday that the judge who sentences a defendant is the only judge who can make a proper decision on a modification request of that sentence.

Sherman is not expected to formally pursue a modification of his sentence until his appeals are exhausted, Robinson said at the March hearing.

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