Free Julius Henson

I fully concur in all of the points made in the recent opinion piece by Larry S. Gibson of the University of Maryland School of Law ("Henson shouldn't go to jail," June 16).

Whatever one believes about the law and this prosecution, we must recognize the injustice and disparity of the sentencing. Paul Schurick and Julius Henson were charged with the same offenses arising from the same incident. After being convicted of two felonies and two misdemeanors, Mr. Schurick was sentenced to 30 days home detention. After Mr. Henson was acquitted by a jury of both felonies and convicted of only one misdemeanor, Judge Brown sentenced him to 60 days in jail and then denied him bail pending appeal. A more egregious example of sentencing disparity is hard to imagine.

Equally disturbing is the explanation by the state prosecutor as to why he asked that Mr. Henson be imprisoned — because Mr. Henson had continued to assert that his conviction was in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What a frightening message that sends about a citizen's right to raise constitutional issues!

I urge Judge Emanuel Brown to bring a halt to this grave injustice and order Mr. Henson's immediate release from jail.

Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 45 in the Maryland Senate.

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