Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scumbag Judge Richard McCormick Jr - Thumbs his nose at child safety

Thomas J. Rose - Internet Predator
Enabled by Scumbag Judge Richard McCormick Jr

The attorney general's office is irritated that the former sports editor of the Washington Observer-Reporter isn't going to jail following his conviction in an Internet sex sting in which he propositioned a 12-year-old who turned out to be an undercover agent.
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Richard McCormick Jr. yesterday re-sentenced Thomas J. Rose, 56, to probation, the same sentence he had imposed in January 2007.

Between then and now, the state Superior Court had ruled that the judge erred in setting aside a jury verdict of guilty and ordered the judge to sentence Mr. Rose again.

He did, but he handed down the identical sentence.

"He thumbed his nose at the law, the jury, the Superior Court and the safety of the children of Westmoreland County," said Kevin Harley, spokesman for the attorney general's office.
Mr. Harley said it was the first time in more than 225 cases brought by the attorney general's Child Predator Unit that a judge has taken that action.

Judge McCormick did not return a message. Neither did Mr. Rose's lawyer, Robert Brady, who had raised the argument at trial -- standard in most such cases -- that his client had been entrapped.

Mr. Rose was arrested in September 2005 after traveling from Washington County to a McDonald's in North Huntingdon to meet the agent, whom he believed from Internet chats was a 12-year-old girl.

At trial before Judge McCormick, a jury found Mr. Rose guilty of attempted unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a computer to facilitate that crime.

But the judge took some unusual steps in crafting what the prosecution and the jury said was a confusing verdict slip.

First, he allowed the jury to find Mr. Rose guilty of a lesser charge of attempting to lure a child for indecent assault instead of sexual intercourse. That ruling effectively downgraded the charge to a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Second, the verdict slip indicated that if the jury found Mr. Rose guilty of luring the child for indecent assault, and not for intercourse, then the jurors had to find him not guilty of the felony of using the computer to carry out that crime. To do otherwise, the judge reasoned, was inconsistent.

But the jury found Mr. Rose guilty of the felony, so the judge threw out that verdict.

After the trial, the prosecution complained about the "inappropriate" verdict slip and several jurors expressed frustration that the judge improperly used his authority to override their intent.
The Superior Court shared their concern. In October, the panel ruled that the judge made a mistake in setting aside the verdict and said there was enough evidence to show Mr. Rose's guilt.

"The Commonwealth presented ample proof that Rose used a computer to facilitate attempted unlawful contact with a minor, with the specific intent to commit a felony (sexual intercourse) with the 12-year-old girl," the judges wrote. "We conclude that the highly regarded trial court erred as a matter of law in setting aside the verdict on count 2."
The judges sent the case back to Judge McCormick for a new sentence, but nothing changed.

Mr. Rose had faced as much as five years in prison.

In addition to probation, Judge McCormick ordered him to continue a treatment program, have no unsupervised contact with children, stay off the Internet and register with state police as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

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