Recently, Vermont State District Judge Edward Cashman caused a national public outcry when he made the decision to sentence Mark Hullet, 34, of Williston, for sixty days in prison after repeatedly sexually assaulting and raping a young girl for around four years.
Cashman’s decision is such a controversy and is in the national headlines due to the fact that Hullet’s sentence should have ranged anywhere from eight to 20 years, not 60 days. The reason for this short sentence was that Cashman was more concerned with Hullet’s receiving treatment for his behavior instead of being punished for it.
In the past, Cashman had been known for giving out harsh sentences, but as of recently has put more of a focus on rehabilitation and treatment instead of revenge and punishment. However, Cashman’s own philosophy regarding justice is not in agreement with the general publics’.
Numerous phone calls and e-mails have been received by the governor’s office and the Statehouse. Meanwhile, newspapers have been expressing outrage toward Cashman as well.
There has been an increase in the number of people calling for Cashman to resign immediately. Cashman however, has not let the public’s disapproval of his decision affect him.
“I am aware that the intensity of some public criticism may shorten my judicial career,” he wrote in a memorandum this week. “To change my decision now, however, simply because of some negative sentiment, would be wrong.”
Many people feel that Cashman’s decision has now made Chittenden County unsafe for children and a “haven for sexual predators.”
Since making the decision, petitions to remove Cashman have been created. One petition, which can be found at http://www.petitiononline.com/gocash/petition.html, has 2237 signatures and counting.
According to the Zogby International Poll, 92 percent of voters disagreed with Cashman’s decision of handing out Hullet a 60 day sentence.
On Thursday, January 26th, a hearing was scheduled for Cashman to hear arguments on whether or not he should reconsider Hullet’s sentence.
At this hearing, Cashman decided to extend Hullet’s sentence from anywhere to 3 to 10 years due to the result of the Corrections Department making it possible for Level A sex offenders, such as Hullet, to receive treatment behind bars.