Saturday, October 4, 2014

Appeals court cuts 25 years off sentence for rapist dad (Maryland)

The usual f***ed up rapist daddy coddling. This rapist daddy is identified as DONALD R. TWIGG.

Maryland court cuts 25 years off child-rape sentence

By: Steve Lash Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer October 2, 2014

A man facing 40 years in prison for having raped his young daughter in the 1970s will have at least 25 years slashed from his sentence after a Maryland appeals court ruled his many sexual offenses against her must be merged into a single crime for sentencing purposes.

The Court of Special Appeals said the U.S. Constitution and Maryland’s common-law prohibition on “multiple punishments stemming from the same offense” barred the separate sentences for Donald R. Twigg’s crimes against his daughter, which were second-degree rape, third-degree sexual offense, incest and sexual child abuse.

Charles County Circuit Judge Robert C. Nalley had sentenced Twigg in 2011 to 40 years in prison, including 20 years for rape, 10 years for the sexual offense and 10 years for incest, along with a suspended 15-year sentence for abuse and five years’ probation, the intermediate appellate court stated in a reported 3-0 opinion.

In remanding the case to circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals said Twigg could be sentenced only on the underlying offense of sexual child abuse and for only up to 15 years in prison, because that was the maximum punishment for that crime when it was committed between 1974 and 1979.

At the time the crimes were committed, Maryland case law specifically required the merger of offenses, Judge Patrick L. Woodward wrote for the appellate court. The panel rejected the state’s argument that Twigg’s 40-year sentence was valid under a law passed more than a decade later.

“It is clear … that, had the trial judge been aware that a sentence could be imposed on only the sexual child abuse conviction, the imposition of a 15-year suspended sentence would have been highly unlikely.”

The court’s decision is “under review,” stated David Paulson, spokesman for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, in an email Thursday.

Assistant Public Defender Peter F. Rose, Twigg’s appellate attorney, did not return telephone messages seeking comment on the decision.

Twigg’s grown daughter, identified in court papers as Ms. M, testified at his 2011 jury trial that he had sexually abused her from age 7 to age 15 in the basement of the family’s home and in his van in nearby parking lots.

The jury convicted Twigg in August 2011. Nalley handed down his sentence on Oct. 17, 2011.

Twigg appealed, arguing that the separate and consecutive sentences were illegal.

Assistant Maryland Attorney General Sarah E. Pritzlaff countered that the General Assembly amended state law in 1990 to make clear that child sexual abuse is a separate offense from rape, assault and incest, allowing the crimes to be punished separately and consecutively.

But the Court of Special Appeals rejected that argument, saying the 1990 law created a new sentencing regime.

“Our review of the legislative history of the 1990 amendment … reveals no language evidencing the General Assembly’s intent to make the amendment apply retroactively,” Woodward wrote. “Nor is there anything in the record, or the legislative history, that supports the state’s contention that the purpose of the 1990 amendment to the child abuse statute was to clarify the General Assembly’s original intent rather than formulate a new intent.”

The court, however, rejected Rose’s argument that permitting a judge to increase Twigg’s suspended 15-year sentence for child sexual abuse would constitute an illegal enhanced punishment for the same crime.

“If the trial court should impose any period of incarceration on appellant for the sexual child abuse conviction, we do not view such sentence as an ‘increase’ in his previous sentence,” Woodward wrote.

“Here, when appellant’s sentences are viewed as a whole, appellant received 40 years of incarceration, followed by a 15-year suspended sentence and five years’ probation,” Woodward added. “To say that the imposition of any incarceration, even the maximum of 15 years, is an ‘increase’ over appellant’s previous 40-year sentence is to defy common sense.”

Woodward was joined in the opinion by judges Douglas R.M. Nazarian and retired Judge James P. Salmon, who was specially assigned to the panel.



Donald R. Twigg v. State of Maryland, CSA No. 1878, Sept. Term 2011. Reported. Opinion by Woodward, J. Argued April 4, 2013. Filed Oct. 1, 2014.


Did the trial court err in imposing separate sentences on defendant for second degree rape, third degree sexual offense, incest and sexual child abuse?


Yes; constitutional and common-law prohibitions on “multiple punishments stemming from the same offense” barred the separate sentences.


Peter F. Rose for appellant; Sarah E. Pritzlaff for appellee Read more: