April 1, 2016 2:16 pm ET
Schellenberger’s deals equal gross miscarriage of justice for Fletcher
Source: Victimizing the Victim
Note: The correct time off the trial is 9 am on the third floor of the Circuit Court in front of Judge Ensor.
Truth be told, I hate to keep using the photo of Mr. Fletcher as he was being treated for his injuries after almost being stomped to death by a gang of thugs out in front of his home.
However, despite my discomfort, I will use the photo because it embodies the case—it began with this, and it ends with this.
You see, folks, this story is one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice that I have ever observed. Mr. Fletcher came out of his home after a large group of juveniles from the troubled Baltimore Community High School were fighting on top of his beloved truck.
Mr. Fletcher asked the group not to damage his property, and the juveniles turned on him in a frenzied attack. Also, they took video as they beat and stomped Mr. Fletcher nearly to death. Finally, while Mr. Fletcher was on the ground, they went through his pockets.
The police did their job by quickly making seven arrests, with charges ranging from attempted murder to robbery. Initially, all of the suspects were charged as adults.
But that is the beginning of Mr. Fletcher’s nightmare as a victim of Baltimore County’s so-called “criminal” justice system.
Excuse my language, but how in the hell can you send an attempted murder case back to the juvenile court when the defendant admitted that he leaped off the ground and jumped on the victim’s head while said victim was unconscious and near death?
That, folks, is why Baltimore County is facing the same problems the city is. Our State’s Attorney’s Office is one big plea deal factory, and nobody is being held accountable.
However, it gets worse.
Not long ago, as I was serving jury duty, one of the court employees read some stats to the jury pool. I was shocked. I did the numbers in my head and thought this is a joke. At the time, the number of cases actually tried was somewhere around 2%.
Over the next couple of days, I called the court to verify my numbers. However, in typical fashion, as soon as I said why I was asking, the court employees not only clammed up but slammed the door shut. I guess they thought all the potential jurors were mindless and would not notice what a joke the system had become.
Needless to say, my fellow potential jurors and I sat there the rest of the day and twiddled our thumbs.
Mr. Fletcher, though, is not twiddling his thumbs. He is in the process of undergoing more surgery and selling his beloved home of 50 years because of being victimized. And, by my count, he has been victimized twice.
I sent an e-mail to Mr. Shellenberger’s office and asked him why he would plea bargain the remaining four cases, even after knowing that Mr. Fletcher wanted his day in court.
The SA’s response was, shall we say, a little inept; to be even blunter, a fifth-grader could have come up with a better answer. Nonetheless, you can read the answer for yourself.
First my e-mail:
“Dear Mr. Shellenberger:
(For the record)
I am seeking comment before publishing my article regarding your offices move to offer plea deals to the remaining suspects in the Fletcher case, despite the fact that he objected to the move.
This is based on my interview with Mr. Fletcher.
This e-mail may clear up any inconsistencies that might exist.
I will publish my column on Monday at the close of the business day.
“Mr. Beehler: [sic]
As you are aware, all of these cases started in adult court despite the fact that all but one was a juvenile. A Judge moved three of the cases back to juvenile court. Each of those juveniles was found responsible and committed to a juvenile facility.
In the four cases remaining in adult court, we met with Mr. Fletcher and informed him that we will be allowing them to plead guilty to a felony, recommending jail time. Based upon what they did that day, their record, and Maryland sentencing guidelines, guilty pleas are good because Mr. Fletcher does not have to be cross examined by four defense attorneys. Also, with a guilty plea, there is no appeal and the case is over.
Mr. Fletcher and his wife will be able to tell the judge how this case has affected them and continues to affect them before sentencing.
While I know Mr. Fletcher does not agree with this decision, we believe it is the best course of action.
for Baltimore County” [sic]
I interviewed Mr. Fletcher, and he was not afraid to testify; in fact, he wanted to testify. It’s funny that he wasn’t even asked about what he wanted to do.
In fact, Mr. Fletcher told me that he asked for a copy of the video from Ms. Fuller, who promised to send it to him.
Unfortunately, Mr. Fletcher received what I usually get when I ask for something—NOTHING.
Now, regarding this reply from Mr. Shellenberger, you’ll love this one.
First the sentence:
“Mr. Fletcher and his wife will be able to tell the judge how this case has affected them and continues to affect them before sentencing.”
The main words missing here are “plea deal made between the SA Office and the defendant’s lawyers.” The judge is not likely to ignore that deal.
Although plea bargaining allows the criminal justice system to conserve resources, it is controversial. Some commentators believe that it is inappropriate in that it allows defendants to get off too easily.
In closing, following the egregious miscarriage of justice by an inept SA, I can only say that Baltimore County needs more people like the Fletchers—people who are willing to stand up for what is right and just. However, despite the propaganda being spread, the truth of the matter is that the corrupt system is driving the Fletchers away.
Mr. Fletcher and his wife will suffer the rest of their lives, and all Mr. Fletcher wanted was his day in court. However, only injustice was served in this case.
Mr. Fletcher will need your support on April 20, at 9 am, third floor at the Towson Circuit Court. If you can make we’ll see you there.
It is very sad indeed, and our State’s Attorney seems fine with victimizing yet another victim.
(From the movie Spotlight: Journalists hold those in power accountable)