Watch Out Vermont! Sean Hannity, New Yorker And College Drop-Out, Has Decided He Knows Better Than You What’s Best For Your State And Is Ready To Meddle With Your Legal System
Reported by Ellen - January 8, 2006
Sean Hannity, who never finished college and is not a Vermont resident, has come to the conclusion that a Vermont judge should be impeached over a criminal sentence Hannity didn’t like. He has vowed to do what he can to make that happen.
Friday night (1/6/06), Hannity & Colmes did a follow-up discussion about a 60-day sentence by a Vermont judge for a repeated child rapist.
Hannity opened the discussion by playing a clip of the judge in question, Judge Edward Cashman explaining his controversial decision by saying that retribution for the crime would not follow legislative directives, that it’s a waste of state money and doesn’t solve the problem. That was it for the “balance” from “fair and balanced” FOX News.
The sole guest was Vermont State Senator George Coppenrath, co-sponsor of a bill that would make a minimum sentence of 25 years mandatory for “aggravated sexual assault of a child younger than 12.”
Hannity started out by demanding to know whether the judge’s sentence was within the guidelines. Unfortunately for Hannity’s impeachment plans, Coppenrath said it was. “60 Days for Rapist!” appeared on the screen as he spoke.
But Hannity was not about to sacrifice his agenda for a little thing like a judge following the law. “Is there anything that can be done to the judge, considering his level of egregious incompetence in this case? Can he be impeached?”
Coppenrath said he was not calling for it (though others have) and thought that the judge’s total body of work should be looked at.
Full of Hanctimoniousness, Hannity was not deterred. “Is it possible, though? I would like to start it... Is there a procedure available to get this guy out of office?”
Coppenrath said he thought it was “more important for the people of Vermont” to pass the legislation than it was to impeach the judge.
Hannity, the new expert on Vermont law, decided he knew best. He declared that he was “all for (the legislation)… I’m glad you’re there. You’re taking some really important action and I want everybody in Vermont to support you but I don’t want this guy to get away with this. For this judge to do this is such an outrage and such an offense to this little girl and her family and to the rest of society, that he is incapable of being in a position of power like that. I’d like to know – maybe we can bring you back next week – what procedures can we implement to get that man out of office?”
Coppenrath said he’d look into it.
When it was Alan Colmes’ turn, he touched on some of the mitigating factors of the judge’s decision that Hannity ignored, such as the fact that the rapist did not qualify for treatment if he went to jail and that he had been deemed a low risk to re-offend. Unfortunately, Coppenrath didn’t seem to have enough information at hand to address those issues and time ran out.
Had FOX News bothered to follow its own “we report, you decide” dictum, they might have had a reporter from Vermont or an impartial legal analyst fill in for the viewers the facts that Hannity didn’t find necessary to consider. For example, according to The Burlington Free Press , the prosecutor had sought a sentence of eight years, the Corrections Department had only recommended a sentence of three years, so how long was the guy really going to go to jail anyway given the realities of parole? Nor was there any explanation about the circumstances of Vermont law that Colmes hinted at and the paper briefly mentioned when it reported, (Judge) “Cashman said the (60 day) sentence would allow (the rapist), who did not qualify for sex-offender treatment in prison, to receive treatment in the community while on probation. If he fails to follow instructions, he could face up to life in prison.”
And while Hannity was salivating at the prospect of putting people away for 25 years, the viewers never got this important piece of information (also in the Burlington Free Press) about why mandatory sentences may not be such a great way to protect victims.
Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex/Orleans, who is also Essex County state's attorney, said the prospect of mandatory sentences prompts more suspects to take their cases to trial, which presents greater risk that the offender will serve no time. Particularly with sex crimes, he said, there are often no witnesses. "It's sometimes a roll of the dice as to who they're going to believe. Does a prosecutor want to take a chance?"
Near the end of the segment, “60 Days For Rapist!” reappeared underneath a prompt on the screen to contact Vermont state representatives. It was pretty obvious what FOX News decided the viewers should report.