A former state administrative law judge yesterday lost his latest bid for a shorter prison term.
Marvin L. Teal, convicted of child abuse in Howard County five years ago, argued in October that a three-judge panel took the unusual step of doubling his sentence from five to 10 years in 1998 because his lawyer hadn't done a good job on his behalf.
But yesterday, Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, the only one of Howard County's five Circuit Court judges who had not imposed sentence on Teal, said that the former Ellicott City resident's claims held no merit.
Although Teal, 50, said his lawyer at the time, Joseph Tauber, never subpoenaed witnesses or documents to show that he deserved a shorter - and not longer - sentence, Sweeney noted that much of the information Teal said was lacking was presented to the panel during the hearing.
"The fact of the matter is that the review panel increased ... [Teal's] sentence because he committed child abuse while he was on probation for that very offense," Sweeney wrote.
Sweeney also noted that Teal knew the risks of a three-judge panel review; the panel had three options: decrease the sentence, increase it or leave it the same.
Despite that, Teal "still wished to proceed," Sweeney said, noting Teal's history as a lawyer and administrative law judge.
Although Sweeney could not impose a new sentence in the case, the judge could have struck down the panel's decision, effectively reducing Teal's sentence by half.
Teal can petition the Court of Special Appeals to take a look at the latest decision. His public defender, John Sheer, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Sweeney's decision was the latest loss for Teal, who admitted in 1995 to molesting two boys - a foster son and a boy he met through a Big Brothers program.
He initially was given a suspended sentence and supervised probation in those cases. But two years later, Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. imposed a five-year prison term after Teal violated his probation by molesting a third boy in Anne Arundel County, an offense for which he also received jail time.
Teal appealed to the three-judge panel and received the 10-year term.