We received this comment, which we edited for this post. The full comment is under Monday’s post by the Captain.:
30 years for 2 checks.
I want to call your attention to a case that recently was before Judge Patrick Cavanaugh, a Circuit Judge in Baltimore County, Maryland. Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Andrew to 30 years in prison for writing two bad checks. Yes, you read that right. Before I discuss the case, I want to say that I am asking for five minutes of your time, and very minimal action which may save a young man 30 years of his life. Andrew Maurice Fisher is a poor 24 year old young black man in Baltimore. ..
Here are the relevant facts: Andrew has absolutely NO PRIOR CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS. He is, by all accounts a good, fun-loving kid. He doesn’t touch drugs or get in trouble. He is especially close with his family and helped to raise his younger brother who is, in large part thanks to Andrew, the first member of their family to attend college. There had been a rash of burglaries in the apartment complex where Andrew and his family live. The landlord mentioned to Andrew that they needed to install a security system, and Andrew, hoping to make a few bucks, volunteered to take on the project. The two checks written to the security company for equipment were not valid. Admittedly, we are talking about a lot of money…close to $20,000.
Andrew either messed up, or made a bad decision, but that is the extent of it. No one was hurt, maimed, violated, etc. In the midst of an otherwise wonderful life, this can in no way justify a lengthy prison sentence, no less one of 30 years. Andrew, wanting to make amends for the situation pled guilty to the charge. The Judge then launched him. He gave him the maximum amount of time on both counts consecutive to one another. At sentencing our wonderfully Just Judge made a comment that if Andrew could pay the money, he would let him out of jail. In other words, if he were wealthy, he would not be in prison. This is the basis of an ongoing appeal. 30 years for 2 checks.
Here is some perspective. In Florida, where I practice, the maximum sentence one can get for rape with penetration is 15 years…and Florida is known as a State with fairly draconian sentencing laws. This injustice must be resolved.So, what can you do?First off, quick e-mails to the Governor of Maryland, who is fairly progressive, are a good start. Here is the link: EMAIL
I would ask everyone who receives this e-mail to at least do that. He is the only person with pardon and commutation power in Maryland, and enough e-mails may prompt him to review the case.
Rumpole says: The individual who left this as a comment appears to be a lawyer in Florida and did not leave an email address. We invite him or her to do so, so we can get more information.
However, this is an injustice that needs to be fixed.
We have constantly commented on the inhumanity of Judges and Prosecutors who toss around decades in jail as if it doesn’t mean much at all to spend time in prison. Prison should exist for violent offenders and violent repeat offenders. We cannot afford to warehouse everyone the Legislature believes should be in prison. Until the law changes we are forced to deal with these outrages on a case by case basis. This appears to be a case worthy of our time.
KUDOS TO JANET RENO
As the Herald reported yesterday, citizen Janet Reno, former State Attorney, former Attorney General of the United States, reported for Jury duty in our Justice Building on Monday morning. Just a guess, but how many other former presidential cabinet members ever report to jury duty as opposed to “pulling strings” to get out of it? None. But then, Janet Reno is not like most other politicians.
Once again, by her simple dignity, she has made us proud.
Thank You Janet, for being who you are.
See You In Court, where Ms. Reno could serve on our jury any time.
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, AND THE POPE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM