By most accounts, Judge Edward Cashman was once a reasonable, fair-minded, common-sense Vermont jurist.

Today, he epitomizes the black-robed high priests who are so familiarly out of touch with the will of their constituents and the laws of the land they are sworn to uphold.

You’ve heard of Cashman. He’s the judge who sentenced a child rapist to 60 days in prison because “anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul.”

Maybe it’s 23 years on the bench that corrodes one’s soul. Maybe that’s too long for any man. I don’t know. But it has certainly been too long for Cashman, who has doubly victimized a young rape victim.

Mark Hulett, 34, was convicted of repeatedly raping a little girl over a period of four years beginning when she was 7.

Cashman shocked even a nation conditioned to expect insanity from the bench by explaining he no longer believes in punishment and is more concerned about rehabilitation.

Someone needs to explain that a civil society appoints and elects judges not to rule out of anger or personal feelings, but according to the rule of duly enacted laws of the land.

Prosecutors in Vermont believed Hulett deserved eight to 20 years in prison. If you ask me, he deserves the death penalty. Stoning would be just. Hanging would be OK. Being drawn and quartered would not be too harsh. But I could certainly live with the prosecution’s recommendation.

Of course, there are calls for Cashman’s impeachment – and that would be deserved. There are other calls for his resignation. There are other efforts to restore justice in this particular case. But the Cashman-Hulett sentencing fiasco raises much bigger questions – questions I hope every American is asking today.

  • As a good and decent judge is being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee today over his fitness to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, how can we tolerate perversions of justice on a daily basis by clearly unfit jurists like Cashman?

  • When are we going to restore law and justice in this country by reining in the judiciary at all levels – local, state and federal?

  • Why is it that judges and justices who simply believe in the rule of law and yield to the will of the people are the jurists on the defensive in America?

Cashman said in a statement “the negative comments sting.”

“I am aware that the intensity of some public criticism may shorten my judicial career,” he said. “To change my decision now, however, simply because of some negative sentiment, would be wrong. I owe it to the judiciary and to my own conscience to maintain a stand that I believe is the best possible option in a very difficult situation.”

Not only does Cashman have no interest in enforcing the laws of his state, he also apparently wants to block others from doing so.

Last year, in another stunning ruling, he found a man accused of drunk driving not guilty because the University of Vermont police who arrested him were not answerable to the citizens of the jurisdiction in which the crime took place.

So James T. Curley-Egan, 20 at the time and a student at the university, arrested one block away from the campus, walked.

Traditionally, the university police patrolled the area near campus and worked with area police departments. The officers have the same police authority as any officer in the state. In 1991, the duly elected Legislature authorized the university to create a police department that would have all the powers of any police agency in the state.

Cashman is a walking, talking billboard for judicial activism, for judicial tyranny, for judicial madness.

But he is hardly alone.

Increasingly, the black-robed high priests of injustice are making a joke of our civil society.

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