Save 75% - Only $49.99 for 1 full year! digitalPLUS subscription offer ends 12/1
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Teen accused of killing father unfairly treated

HomicideJustice System

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
    HomicideJustice System
    • Michael Brown resisted arrest and it cost him his life, period
      Michael Brown resisted arrest and it cost him his life, period

      It wasn't until I watched "Meet The Press" Sunday that I finally figured out why CNN has been camped in Ferguson, Mo., seemingly forever asking the same dumb questions night after night.

    • If criminals don't want their cellphones tracked they should stop committing crimes
      If criminals don't want their cellphones tracked they should stop committing crimes

      Regarding your recent editorial on the privacy issues raised by police tracking suspects through their cellphone numbers, I would gladly give up some of my personal privacy if law enforcement were allowed to locate and arrest criminals before they do me or my family harm ("The police are...

    • Bag ban casts Baltimore as 'Chump City'
      Bag ban casts Baltimore as 'Chump City'

      Nobody asked columnist Dan Rodricks about banning plastic bags, and nobody asked Baltimore retailers or shoppers either ("Nobody asked me, but City Council needs spine," Nov. 23).

    • Ehrlich's 'cult of anti-Obamaism'
      Ehrlich's 'cult of anti-Obamaism'

      Though I am 1960s retread boomer and unrepentant liberal who usually disagrees commentator Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., I read his column regularly. No surprise that he recently panned Obamacare — again — but what I never hear from Republicans is the Plan B, i.e., how we deal with the...

    • Let's just ban the bags
      Let's just ban the bags

      I have a problem with plastic bags and the bag tax issue ("Council passes body camera bill, plastic bag ban, but veto looms," Nov. 17). So much time and energy has been spent on this issue. When we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, there are so many daily issues, each much more...

    • 'Rain tax' not optional
      'Rain tax' not optional

      The recent sub-headline on the editorial regarding the "rain tax" was patently false ("The bogus 'rain tax' repeal," Nov. 23).