Vermont Judge Under Fire for Light Sentencing of a Child Rapist

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 10, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Judge Edward Cashman has come under fire for issuing a 60-day sentence for a repeat sexual offender. Cashman issued a statement in court documents filed today, defending his position to impose this sentence.

"The negative comments sting. I am aware that the intensity of some public criticism may shorten my judicial career. To change my decision now, however, simply because of some negative sentiment, would be wrong."

Joining us is a Vermont state legislator sponsoring a resolution to remove Judge Cashman from his judicial post, Representative Kurt Wright.

Representative, thank you for being with us.


COLMES: Do we remove a judge — look, I think it's a terrible decision. But do we remove a judge because we don't like one decision he makes?

WRIGHT: Alan, I think that we would have to be very careful on this. I don't think that we should. I think it has to be very rare circumstances for a legislature, the Vermont legislature, to intervene in a matter like this. I think this case rises to that level.

To have a judge sentence someone for such a heinous crime to a short sentence, 60 days potentially. And further, declare in court that he no longer believes in punishment.

I think the actual words that he said in court make it even worse. The fact that he stated, "I no longer believe in punishment."

Now, we aren't actually calling for impeachment, Alan. What we're calling for is the legislature to make a statement which rebukes the judge and calls for his resignation.

COLMES: Well, you want to get him out of office. But here's the problem. Look, I think it was a bad sentence. If he had a pattern of this and you can make a case. I worry about does every judge then have to look behind him or her, worry every time they make a decision that may not be politically popular? That's not the way a judge should think. Don't you agree?

WRIGHT: I agree. But I think again, that this sentence and what the judge said when he declared in court that "I no longer believe in punishment in regards to these type of cases," I think for me that warrants...

COLMES: Don't you need a pattern here?

WRIGHT: Well, there are people that think the judge has been drifting this way with some sentences for awhile now. And there are people that will tell you that. I think earlier in his career, from what I understand, he was called the hanging judge. But, I think that, from what I heard, he's been drifting this way for awhile.

And again, to utter the words, to declare in court that he no longer believes in punishment certainly tells that you that he has changed at some point here and no longer believes in handing out serious punishment. I think that he failed the victim in this case. He seriously failed...

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: He failed society. Wait a minute. This is no insignificant issue. This man admitted to repeatedly, over a four-year period of time, repeatedly raped this 7-year-old little girl. I mean and at sentencing he said that the court viewed the defendant as a dangerous man, and likely to engage in future crime unless he was given timely treatment.

So he's putting society, with his own words, in danger.

WRIGHT: And I think what some here are talking about is the treatment issue. But look, let's give a person like this, that commits this heinous of a crime, let's give them the maximum sentence. Because the one thing we know then, he's not going to be committing another crime like this, hurting another child...

HANNITY: I agree.

WRIGHT: ... for the number of years that he's locked up and behind prison.

HANNITY: But here's the more important issue, Representative. You've got to remove him. And it is your — I assume that — I have read that there's impeachment possibility out here. This is not about, you know, trying to get him to resign, because he clearly said he's not going to.

The legislature of Vermont must take affirmative steps to remove this man from office. Will you do that?

WRIGHT: Well, Sean, let me tell you this. First of all, we're going to try this attempt. And I'm already having trouble getting people to sign on.

HANNITY: And if it doesn't work?

WRIGHT: Well, let's go this route first. What I'm saying is I don't know how much will there's going to be in a heavily Democratically- controlled legislature here. Because I'm having trouble getting a number of Democrats to sign on to the — asking him to resign.

HANNITY: Then let the voters of Vermont know that they're letting — this guy is letting a rapist out in their midst, and he's circumventing the law, and he's ruling by judicial fiat and it's beyond outrageous.

WRIGHT: I absolutely agree. I mean, I think that any judge that hands down a sentence that is this just disgusting and then also declares in court that he no longer believes in punishment in these cases has, I think, disqualified himself from serving on the bench.

COLMES: There might be a balance of power issue. We thank you very much for being on the show tonight, sir.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

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