County sheriff, judge reach accord on sentencing to jail

Defendant to serve 4 years at the detention center

May 21, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County sheriff met yesterday with the judge who handed down a four-year jail term to a man convicted of automobile manslaughter and said he was satisfied that the circumstances justified a departure from the normal 18-month limit for the detention center.

Judge Daniel W. Moylan said he "reached a good understanding" with Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning in a morning meeting yesterday at the state police barracks in Frederick.

The defendant, Scott D. Broadfoot Sr., 25, of Parkville reported as ordered to the Carroll County Detention Center by 5 p.m. yesterday, to begin serving a four-year sentence with work-release imposed by Moylan, a retired Washington County judge who has been hearing cases in Carroll since the summer.

The judge said he was well-aware that jail terms usually are no more than 18 months, but felt "compelling reasons" justified his sentence for Broadfoot because co-defendant Mark E. Eppig also received a longer-than-normal jail sentence as part of a plea bargain.

Moylan said Tregoning "explained the nightmare it creates administratively for the detention center when judges don't follow the statute [limiting jail terms to 18 months], but he was also aware that this was an unusual and a special case -- in part because in this very case Mark Eppig had received the three-year sentence to the jail."

Moylan also noted that three of the nine jail inmates with sentences longer than 18 months also were convicted of automobile manslaughter.

He presided over the jury trial last month of Broadfoot and co-defendant Frederick H. Hensen Jr., who were convicted of automobile manslaughter and second-degree assault in the death of Mount Airy Middle School teacher Geraldine Lane "Geri" Wu of Westminster and the injury of her daughter Min-li Wu, 15.

Hensen, 22, of Westminster received a six-year sentence to the state Division of Correction -- primarily because of the 14 driving convictions on his record. None of the three had a previous criminal record, and drugs and alcohol did not figure in the fatal crash.

Wu was driving her daughter home from doing schoolwork in Finksburg about 9: 30 p.m. June 1 when Hensen, Broadfoot and Eppig raced down Route 140 from Westminster.

Eppig, 22, of Westminster was driving the vehicle that hit Mrs. Wu's car, and he pleaded guilty in October to the same charges that Broadfoot and Hensen were convicted of by the jury. Eppig received a three-year jail term on work-release December 2 -- five days before Tregoning took office.

The sheriff said yesterday that in January he had accepted an inmate with a two-year sentence, but immediately made his objections known to Carroll State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes. The jail is crowded, he said -- 187 in a facility built for 146. It costs about $20,000 a year plus medical expenses for each inmate, he said.

Barnes said he has issued two memorandums to his staff since then -- barring plea agreements for jail terms above the 18-month limit.

Moylan said he told the sheriff he supports that policy, "and he could expect full cooperation from me to see that the policy in the law is not exceeded."

"I think that my meeting with Judge Moylan was productive," Tregoning said. "It gave me the opportunity to explain the issues and to set a course of action for the future."

Pub Date: 5/21/99

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