Sufficient sentence

July 01, 2011

The victim of a sexual attack about this time last summer said of her attacker this week in a Harford County courtroom: "I hope he rots in jail for the rest of his life."

The he to whom she referred is Anthony Eugene Robinson, 46, of the 1200 block of West Jarrettsville Road in Forest Hill, and he was subsequently sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. to two consecutive life terms, the maximum allowed in this case.

Robinson had been convicted most recently in a case that involved him pushing the victim into his car and driving her to a secluded area before attacking her. Robinson also had been convicted of rape in 1996 and was on the sexual offenders registry at the time of the attack last summer.

And police say he had been a person of interest in a rape last summer in Edgewood reported a few days before the rape he was convicted of. He was never charged in the Edgewood case.

Even so, the two convictions provide more than ample evidence that Robinson is a menace to society and shouldn't be allowed to mingle with civilized people. Jail is where he belongs and he certainly does belong there for the rest of his life.

While the victim and sentencing judge in the case seem to strongly agree, it remains to be seen if a sentence modification deal or some other gyration of the court system will eventually put him back in society.

Let's hope that doesn't happen.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that courts in Maryland have been unreasonably lenient both in imposing sentences (though that wasn't a problem in this case) and also in following through with them. 

As a result, it probably won't be hard for Robinson's lawyers to track down a similar case wherein a twice convicted molester of some sort was granted a lesser sentence. Such is the way of the court system where the rulings in cases that came up before are often used as the measure of fairness for more recent cases.

Certainly, there is an element of fairness to the practice. Our court system wouldn't be credible if similar crimes resulted in a wide range of penalties for different people. Still, a measure of common sense must be used to ensure that a bad decision made years ago doesn't become the reason for making another bad decision in the future.

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