Claiming he no longer believes in punishment, a Vermont judge issued a 60-day sentence to a man who confessed to repeatedly raping a girl over a four-year period, beginning when she was 7 years old.
Judge Edward Cashman disagreed with prosecutors who thought Mark Hulett, 34, of Williston, Vt., deserved eight to 20 years in prison, reported WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vt.
Cashman said he’s more concerned now about rehabilitation.
“The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul,” Cashman told a packed Burlington courtroom made up mostly of people related to the victim.
Prior to the decision, Chittenden Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Andreson argued punishment “is a valid purpose.”
“The state recognizes that the court may not agree or subscribe to that method of sentencing but the state does,” she said, according to the Burlington TV station. “The state thinks that it is a very important factor for the court to consider.”
Cashman said he wants to make sure Hulett gets sex-offender treatment.
Under Department of Corrections classification, however, Hulett is considered a low-risk for re-offense, which means he doesn’t qualify for in-prison treatment.
Cashman, therefore, issued a 60-day sentence and ordered Hulett to complete sex-offender treatment when he gets out or face a possible life sentence.
The judge said that when he began 25 years ago, he handed down tough sentences but now believes “it accomplishes nothing of value.”
“It doesn’t make anything better; it costs us a lot of money; we create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger,” Cashman explained to the people in the court, WCAX reported.
Members of the victim’s family were outraged.
“I don’t like it,” the victim’s mother told the TV station, in tears. “He should pay for what he did to my baby and stop it here. She’s not even home with me and he can be home for all this time, and do what he did in my house.”