Term reduced, but spitter still must serve 6 years

October 15, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A Pasadena man sentenced to six years in prison for spitting on a restaurant manager last fall had his term sharply reduced yesterday on one of two charges against him, but he still must serve the full term.

Jeffrey Bernard Anderson, 31, of the 600 block of Ross Drive in Pasadena, was sentenced in August to concurrent six-year terms for trespassing at the Sunset Restaurant in Glen Burnie and for spitting on Michael Fratantuono, the manager.

Yesterday, Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth cut the term for trespassing from six years to 60 days. But he let stand the sentence on the assault charge for spitting.

The judge imposed the original sentence because he was angered by Anderson's failure to seek work and his string of petty offenses, which the judge said amounted to serving a life in jail "30 days at a time."

Robert H. Waldman, Anderson's lawyers, conceded that his client has a record of convictions for battery, malicious destruction of property and other offenses dating back to his youth but said none of the charges was serious.

Mr. Waldman said he also will ask for a three-judge panel to review Anderson's sentence because it exceeds sentencing guidelines, which suggest a term between three months and two years.

The state's attorney's office asked for the reduction of the trespassing sentence yesterday because it exceeded the state's legal maximum of three months.

Anderson's conviction last July stemmed from an incident at the Sunset, in the 600 block of Greenway S.E., on Oct. 21, 1991.

Mr. Fratantuono caught Anderson and a friend drinking behind the restaurant at about 8 p.m. and ordered them off the premises. When they returned two hours later and tried to buy more beer, Mr. Fratantuono refused and ordered them to leave.

The men argued, and Anderson spit in Mr. Fratantuono's face.

In his application for a sentence review, Mr. Waldman said Anderson was diagnosed five years ago as having schizophrenia and said his sister has offered to take him in.

"The punishment meted out in this case is not commensurate with the crime; nor does Mr. Anderson's background warrant such severity," Mr. Waldman wrote.

The sentence is a disservice, he argued, because it requires "the expenditure of $15,000 a year for several years to imprison a spitter."

But Mr. Fratantuono said yesterday that he was injured and that he still thinks about the incident.

He said he is gratified that the court has kept Anderson in prison.

"The public doesn't understand that this guy had been causing problems for years before this, had never gotten any significant jail time. And the judge basically said, 'That's it, your time is up,'" he said.

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