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Criminal Law


year. Yet he received a longer period of incarceration for the second degree assault, only a fraction of what he could have received under the statute. Te second degree assault conviction is treated a catchall here used to make the sentence “more appropriate” to the type of conduct being punished. Te gambit of sexual offense maximums should be increased so that the “simple assault” crime is not used in this way.


Sexual Offense – A Brief View In contrast to the statutes regarding assault, the statutes


regarding sexual offenses provides a more detailed and organized method for dealing with these types of crimes, rather that providing a broad ten year maximum for every type of sexual offense under the sun. Fourth degree sexual offense, for example, is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a one year maximum jail sentence and/or a $1,000 fine for a first offense. Tird degree sexual offense is considered a felony subject


to a maximum imprisonment not exceeding 10 years. Second degree sexual offense is also considered a felony subject to a maximum imprisonment not exceeding 20 years. However, the statute for second degree sexual offense goes even further to narrow the punishment applicable to this crime


and imposes a mandatory minimum for those who commit this crime involving a victim under the age of 13. In that case, the defendant (if notified properly by the State) is subject to a mandatory sentence of between 15 years and life in prison. Lastly, sexual offense in the first degree allows for many


variables to modify the possible sentences that a defendant can receive. A person who violates this law is guilty of a felony and upon conviction subject to imprisonment not exceeding life. If one is found guilty of this offense while also committing child kidnapping or has committed certain previous offenses, then one is subject to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Also, the mandatory minimum is applicable here as well, provided that the State notifies the defendant properly and if the victim is less than 13 years of age. Te various gradient sentencing provisions illuminate


how detailed the sentencing procedures can be for a sexual offense. It is highly fact specific and gives strong guidance as to how and when certain mandatory minimums and maximums must be employed. Tis legislative care and attention should also be applied to the assault statutes to reduce the risk of disproportionate sentences. In fact, Maryland is moving toward higher maximum sentences for those in violation of sexual offense crimes. Te


Trial Reporter / Summer 2011 37


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