Judges double sentence of convicted child molester Former administrative law judge sought review of sentence, is 'devastated'

May 13, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

Marvin Lee Teal, in jail on child abuse charges and facing a five-year sentence for violating probation, asked a three-judge panel to reduce his time behind bars.

Instead, they doubled it.

In a rare decision, Teal, 48, a former state administrative law judge, has been ordered to serve 10 years in prison, after using a legal avenue that is the judicial system's equivalent of rolling the dice.

"I'm sure he's rather devastated," said Joseph Tauber, Teal's attorney, of the decision two weeks ago by three Howard County judges. "We were looking for treatment rather than confinement."

Tauber said Teal knew the risks of asking the panel to review the five-year sentence imposed by Howard Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. in November. Teal had to sign a waiver that showed he understood that the judges could decrease, increase or leave standing the sentence they were asked to examine.

"He thought it was worth a shot, and he felt we had a chance," Tauber said.

In their four-page opinion, the judges emphasized that Teal had been convicted twice of child abuse while on supervised probation for a 1995 Howard County child abuse conviction.

In the Howard case, Teal admitted molesting two boys in his Ellicott City apartment -- one of whom was his foster son. He received a 15-year sentence, all of which was suspended, and was placed on five years' supervised probation.

In June 1997, he was convicted of child abuse charges in Anne Arundel County and was ordered to serve 18 months in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center. In January, he pleaded guilty to a third-degree sexual offense in Baltimore and was sentenced to seven months.

"At the time of [the Howard] sentencing, Mr. Teal was an attorney who was serving as an administrative law judge and presumably knew and understood the terms and conditions of probation -- in fact, he signed the Order of Probation acknowledging same," the opinion states.

In November, Kane sentenced Teal to five years in prison for violating his probation in the Anne Arundel and Baltimore cases. Technically, Kane could have imposed the original sentence of 15 years.

The opinion from the three judges says that they are, in effect, ordering Teal to complete most of his original sentence.

"Following a review of the record in each case and a hearing being held, the panel unanimously concludes that Mr. Teal's sentence for his probation violation should be increased," the decision says.

Teal's attorneys have argued that he suffers from depression and needs comprehensive treatment for sexual offenders. At the violation-of-probation hearing, his attorney said that Teal has lost his friends, his house and his job as a judge for the state Office of Administrative Hearings, a post he had held since 1990.

In a letter to Kane after the hearing, Teal told the judge he was "devastated" by the sentence.

Pub Date: 5/13/98

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