By Eric Beasley
Editor’s Note: A free tip for my biggest fans in Rockville, you and your associates are missing two security patches for Safari. I’d highly recommend you update your web browser. Outdated software is the easiest way for hackers to gain access to your systems.
Our first case is 10-K-10-047631, State of Maryland v. Jonathan Bonita. Mr. Bonita was charged with sexual abuse of a minor and sex offense second degree. At the age of 16, Mr. Bonita performed sex acts on a four year old child.
Second degree sexual offense is a crime punishable by life in prison, which gives the courts the ability to try a 16 or 17 year old as an adult for the crime. The defendant petitioned to have the case moved to juvenile court. Judge Edward Dyer denied the request.
Mr. Bonita plead guilty on June 15th, 2010. A week later at sentencing, Judge Theresa Adams sentenced Mr. Bonita to 20 years in prison with all but 18 months suspended. That’s fancy legal talk for an 18 month jail sentence. Below are the court records from the sentencing hearing, in which Judge Adams presided.
Mr. Bonita was released early, only serving 15 months out of his 18 month sentence. Below is a portion of a report from the Division of Parole and Probation which is included in the case file.
I wish that rehabilitation worked for pedophiles, that I could end my article right here.
During his probation, Mr. Bonita had continued unsupervised contact with minors. A reasonable term of probation for a pedophile is to not be alone with children, I think we can all agree to that. Below is a portion of a report from the Division of Parole and Probation which is included in the case file.
For violating his probation, Judge Adams yet again sentenced him to 20 years in jail, with all but 18 months suspended. It’s like a song stuck on repeat…
So there are a few issues here to dissect:
Mr. Bonita was tried as an adult due to the severity of his crimes. This is also a crime which has a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, as long as the State informs the defendant that they are pursuing such a sentence. Those records were not within the case file, however the notification is only required in writing and not necessarily in a manner which would be captured in the case file. Judge Theresa Adams handed down a sentence 90% less than the mandatory minimum sentence.
After violating probation, Judge Theresa Adams handed down another minimal sentence for violating probation. Most of the probation violations were nitpicky and minor, in my humble and no-pun-intended opinion. They included some missed phone calls and traveling into VA and WV without previous authorization. What concerns me is the unsupervised contact with minor children, ranging in age from 1 to 16 years.
The entire point of offering a suspended sentence is to entice reform. It’s the courts way of saying “This really bad thing could happen to you if you screw up again.” What’s the point of a suspended sentence if it is not going to be enforced upon violating probation?
I would also like to note that there are other issues at play here, such as prison reform and rehabilitation. However, those issues have to be remedied by changing state law. Perhaps we should legalize marijuana and free up all that money for counselors, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, and vocational experts?
The role of this series of articles is not to tell you what to think. That’s not our job. It is our job to present you with the facts concerning our elected officials, so that you can make an informed decision in the ballot box. Judges are elected, do not allow a black robe and bench to stymie you from reviewing their actions under the same scrutiny as we do any other elected representative. I urge you to answer these questions for yourself:
- Do you believe that a 16 year old who performs sexual acts on a four year child and is being tried as adult should also be sentenced as an adult, to include the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in jail without parole?
- Do you believe that a 16 year old who performs sexual acts on a four year old child should be sentenced to 18 months in jail?
- Do you believe that he should only spend 15 months in jail?
- Do you believe that the same individual violating probation indicates that his original sentence should have been harsher?
- Do you believe that Judge Theresa Adams made the appropriate choice for sentencing?
- Do you believe that Judge Theresa Adams should continue to sentence criminals in this manner?
Children cannot vote. But you can.