Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Teen accused of killing father unfairly treated

It would be refreshing if one of our esteemed Maryland criminal defense attorneys qualified to win or obtain a proper sentence would step in and replace the court-appointed public defender representing Robert Richardson III, the Bel Air 17-year-old who allegedly killed his father one year ago.

While the average reader of this paper would not have reason to know it, this state contains far fewer than 20 attorneys whom a person with means would hire to defend a case such as this — one that requires the expert testimony of a top forensic psychiatrist (of which this state has maybe three), national experts on patricide (of which there are only two), and the help of a very good investigator. Presently, this kid is not only getting none of that, but it appears he has been kept virtually isolated (which maybe is a good thing) for more than 12 months and deprived of proper visitations with his attorney.

This writer casts no rock at the Maryland Public Defender's Office nor their hard-working assistant public defenders, but the alleged crime at issue in this case is very rare, largely misunderstood and subject to great prejudice by society and those in the criminal justice industry. But a large stone should be cast at our state bar members, few of whom meet their pro bono requirements in full (The Sun should report on that someday), for letting this case lie for a year with no prominent attorney stepping up. Without such help, the alleged killer, who is also a victim, has zero chance. When the alleged killer's community — a law and order community no less — is holding a rally for this poor kid who is wildly in over his head, that should tell a prospective top lawyer something. Guilt may not be at issue in this case, but mitigation is.

Justice could be very obtainable, especially if this case can be returned to a juvenile court where it belongs.

William C. Bond, Baltimore

The writer was adjudicated a delinquent as a juvenile in the death of his father in Ohio in 1981. He served his sentence at the Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hospital and later wrote a book about his experience.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Here's why you should care about torture
      Here's why you should care about torture

      In his letter to the editor, Mark Wilson ("Who cares what the CIA does to terrorists?" Dec. 21) asks whether he is living in the "Twilight Zone" because he sees nothing wrong with torturing people to get so-called information from them. Perhaps he is. He fails to grasp that the people in...

    • Self-styled patriots silent on N. Korea threats
      Self-styled patriots silent on N. Korea threats

      Sony Pictures Entertainment has canceled the release of its satiric film, "The Interview," as a result of major U.S. movie chains' refusal to screen it because of terrorist threats from North Korea.

    • Mikulski stood up for Md. health care
      Mikulski stood up for Md. health care

      The spending bill recently approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama includes provisions important to Marylanders ("For better or worse, spending bill passes," Dec. 15). Thanks to the hard work of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, federal...

    • The Hippodrome's unwelcome 'gift'
      The Hippodrome's unwelcome 'gift'

      Christmas came early this year for the Hippodrome's "loyal subscribers." But it wasn't the nice side of Christmas, it was the Grinch that came to visit ("Hippodrome feels the heat from reseating process," Dec. 19).

    • How Republicans are ruining America
      How Republicans are ruining America

      On the national level, the cost of citizens not voting is quickly becoming apparent. Economically, the seeds of the next recession have been sown by the Republican weakening of financial controls so once again the greedy of Wall Street can gamble on dangerous financial derivatives with...

    • Addressing the impact of violence
      Addressing the impact of violence

      Andrea McDaniels' excellent series on the trauma associated with violence and The Sun's editorial both mention Promise Heights, the cradle to college effort to help children, parents, schools and communities address the aftermath of early trauma ("Advocates aim to save Baltimore children from...