Judge Duckett's Sentence Too SoftAnne Arundel Circuit...


July 18, 1993

Judge Duckett's Sentence Too Soft

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr. decided to spare convicted murderer Michael Clay Bryson Sr. from Maryland's gas chamber even though he stated, "I find your crime to be horrible, one of the worst crimes, quite frankly, I've ever experienced."

The Sun article of June 5 goes on to state that Judge Duckett did not even sentence him to life in prison without parole but instead softened the jury's findings, by dropping two counts of felony murder, theft and battery and sentencing him only on the first-degree murder and armed robbery counts. By doing so, Judge Duckett estimated that the convicted murderer would only serve a minimum of 30 years before he is eligible for parole.

The judge also gave the murderer some friendly advice: "While you're in the pen, go back to school and get an education. There will come a time when you'll be released and based on your demeanor, I believe that you can make a contribution" -- this compassionate advice to a vile murderer who solved the problem of his victim recognizing him by shooting him in the face with a shotgun. A human life for slightly more than a $100 stolen from the cash register.

I have some advice for Judge Duckett. President Harry Truman first gave it. "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." More specifically, if you can't protect the citizens of our state by performing the full range of your judicial duties, which include sentencing convicted murderers to death, step aside, retire and let the governor appoint someone who will.

Thomas J. Rostkowski


Meade Salute

She stands behind her desk, phone in one hand, a transcript in the other, checking the clock and calendar, with one student in a conference, and with another waiting in a long line outside her office.

Most people would buckle under such chaos and pressure, but this is an all-too-familiar scene for Anne Schult, a guidance counselor at Meade Senior High School.

Ms. Schult has been a counselor for seven years now and each year, new challenges seem to arise for her. However, the odd thing about her is that in the absence of challenges, she seems to create new ones. This year's senior class activities are proof.

In the junior year, she formed PSAT prep classes twice a week for four weeks, something of which very few other schools can speak. . . .

Ms. Schult was the scholarship coordinator, establishing monthly bulletins so all students and parents would be informed. . . .

Recently, she was responsible for perhaps Meade's most successful awards ceremony. . . .

The list goes on and on with so many other miscellaneous items, like her visits to classes to remind us of our obligations and deadlines, and her always wise advice, her guidance and support with information not always in the "guidance counselor manual," her endearing optimism in dealing with senioritis-ridden seniors and her countless hours beyond the call of duty for graduation. But there is more. Her involvement goes beyond the senior class. . . .

It is impossible to say exactly what we mean, so we have only two words for Ms. Schult: Thank you.

Chris Kwak


The following letter was submitted on behalf of the Meade Senior Class of 1993.

A Reply To Middlebrooks

I would like to respond to the recent letter from County Councilman Ed Middlebrooks, concerning his criticism of me regarding the budget funding for the Andover Middle School project.

. . . I do not enjoy this type of public dialogue. However, since Mr. Middlebrooks sees fit to play fast and loose with the truth, I feel compelled to use the phrase that the news commentator Paul Harvey might use: "Now for the rest of the story."

When I ran for the election in 1990, one of my top priorities was to obtain funding for the badly needed North County High School. Coupled with this, I realized the need to get the funds to renovate the Andover complex to bring the building up to current standards. . . .

I have been working with the citizens from North County who have been concerned with the North County Equity School program. I advised those citizens to write letters to the school board and the county executive asking that priority be given to the North County High project. Coupled with this, I worked along with the county executive and the school board to find ways to fund this project.

Mr. Middlebrooks calls this "good old boy politics." I call it doing what is right and justifiable, and doing so in an affordable way. As a result of all of this work and cooperation, I am pleased to report that the North County funding has been obtained and the complex will open in September, as scheduled.

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