March 27, 2015 5:09 am ET
Deputy Sergeant Weiss pays $2,000 restitution to victim in exchange for case going to inactive docket. Vontran and Hartsock seek jury trial
Source: Give Me a Plea Deal, Stat-STET!
One down, two to go in the faulty eviction/burglary case. And the first round went pretty much as expected.
But when did I expect today’s outcome? Honestly, I became certain of it last night, when the victim did no return my phone call. It was then that I realized the case had finally settled (as in “settlement”) to the point that everyone was satisfied.
The distance between the two sides was (as it usually is in these cases) money. This almost sounds like a civil matter, but don’t underestimate the key role that restitution plays in how the State proceeds in criminal matters.
I left the hearing on the Government Center in Towson early to witness the action, and I drove to the Essex District Courthouse expecting things to go calmly and smoothly.
Allow me to take a detour here for a moment. When I walked into the courthouse, it was like going back in time. Many of the court bailiffs are retired police officers with whom I used to work. A lifetime went by as I shook some hands with former colleagues.
OK, now back to the story.
I headed to Courtroom 3 when I noticed Sheriff Fisher standing in the hallway with Sgt. Weiss, as well as numerous other people. Everyone looked pretty confident, which confirmed my suspicions even more.
I took my seat and heard the whisperings from the County State’s Attorney, who was explaining to those around her what was going to happen. They even brought in a judge from Harford County to give absolutely no appearance of favoritism.
Anticipation was high when the defendants and lawyers entered the courtroom. Sgt. Weiss’ case was first, and it didn’t take long for him to utter a couple of “Yes sir” responses to the judge and his attorney before he accepted his fate. In exchange for paying the victim $2,000 in restitution and keeping his distance from her, Sgt. Weiss had his case placed on the STET (inactive) docket.
But while round one lacked drama, rounds two and three seemed like they could get interesting.
When it came time for Mr. Vontran and Ms. Alexandra Hartsock to “face the music,” so to speak, they pulled a rather shocking move in my opinion—they prayed a jury trial, which is scheduled to take place on June 5.
For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out, folks. Maybe there is something in those constable reports the County failed to turn over in response to my PIA.
Could it be the trump card? The smoking gun? We shall see.
The final question I have is, why was the Sheriff there at all? Was it to make sure justice was served, or STETed?
At least now Sgt. Weiss can return to duty. Oh, wait—that’s right—he never left.