Edward Cashman

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Judge Edward J. Cashman, born in 1943, is a former state district court judge in the State of Vermont. Judge Cashman, a Vietnam veteran and Catholic of Irish descent,[1] was appointed to the bench in 1982 by Republican Governor Richard A. Snelling.[2] "Cashman worked for the attorney general's office, the Chittenden County clerk, served on the state Public Service Board and worked in private practice before becoming state's attorney in Grand Isle County in 1978.".[2] In September 2006, Judge Cashman announced his pending retirement upon completion of his term in March 2007.[3] Judge Cashman did retain his part-time employment with Johnson State College,[4] teaching a course on constitutional law.[5] In addition, Judge Cashman is an adjunct professor at Champlain College[6] in Burlington, VT, where he teaches two criminal law courses.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Cashman was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He attended Boston College, where he also served in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps for the United States Army. Cashman married Gail Sylvester, also a student at Boston College and the daughter of Vermont Supreme Court justice Harold Sylvester. Cashman completed his legal training at American University and then served during the Vietnam War as a media relations officer for a year beginning in 1970.

Following his military service Cashman moved to Vermont and began a career in public service, including working for various public agencies and as an elected state's attorney (prosecutor) for Grand Isle County, Vermont. He joined the judiciary in 1982 upon his appointment by then-governor Richard A. Snelling to the district court.[8]

After retiring from the bench in early 2007, Cashman taught classes at Champlain College and Johnson State College in Vermont and he continues to teach one course per semester at Champlain. He also volunteers at the Burlington Dismas House, a non-profit organization (sometimes known as a halfway house) which provides a bridge between prison and full release for inmates completing their sentence.[8]

Sentencing controversy[edit]

Judge Cashman was criticized in January 2006 for sentencing Mark Hulett, who pleaded guilty to child molestation, to 60 days to 10 years in prison plus a suspended sentence of three years to life that would take effect if the conditions of the initial sentence were violated. The victim, a girl who was six years old at the time the assaults began, was repeatedly molested for four years. Her parents were friends with Hulett, a frequent house guest. Hulett often shared a bed with the victim.[9] According to Cashman, the Department of Correction rules at the time defined Hulett as "low risk to reoffend" which made him ineligible for sex offender treatment while in prison. The sentence required Hulett to spend 60 days in prison, and then allowed him to receive sex offender treatment upon his release. The proposal was key to convincing Hulett to plead guilty and avoid a trial, but also provided for a life sentence if Hulett failed to complete treatment, violated any terms of his release or re-offended.[8] Following a media reaction and attention from state political leaders, the state Department of Corrections offered to treat Hulett in prison and revise its policy on providing treatment to low risk inmates, and Judge Cashman changed Hulett's sentence to 3–10 years.[8]

Media reaction[edit]

WCAX-TV news opened the story on January 4: "There was outrage today when a Vermont judge handed out a 60-day jail sentence to a child rapist. The judge said he no longer believes in punishment and is more concerned about rehabilitation. Brian Joyce was at the sentencing hearing. He's live in the newsroom with more. Kristin, Prosecutors argued that confessed child-rapist Mark Hulett deserved at least eight years behind bars for repeatedly raping a little girl countless times starting when she was seven. But Judge Edward Cashman disagreed -- saying he has learned that punishment just does not work."[10] Cashman later claimed that he never said that he didn't believe in punishment or that punishment doesn't work; in an interview with Seven Days (newspaper) he claims the original quote was that "punishment is not enough." [8]

Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly kept the issue on the national stage on his television show and in his column.[11] He accused national and regional media of ignoring the story.[11] The case is also discussed in O'Reilly's book Culture Warrior.[citation needed]


Cashman reported receiving death threats and hate mail, and received a temporary protection detail from the Vermont State Police. By September 2006, Cashman wrote to the Vermont Supreme Court that he would retire at the end of his term and not seek re-appointment.[8]

Mark Hulett was released from prison on the morning of January 26, 2011 after serving five years of his sentence. He served more than his minimum sentence because he was unable to find housing that could meet the conditions of his release. Hulett will remain under electronic monitoring by a GPS-tracking bracelet until June 2012 and have his computer usage tracked by the Department of Corrections.[12] Hulett will be required to be registered with the state as a sex offender.[10][13]


  1. ^ Cashman, Edward (1997-09-28). "Message posted to Irishlaw.org". Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  2. ^ a b Graff, Christopher (2006-01-11). "Judge Edward Cashman is best known for his pro-law stands". AP. Archived from the original on January 15, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  3. ^ Gram, David (2006-09-02). "Judge Cashman says he'll retire from bench". AP. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  4. ^ JSC [Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont] (2008a). "Johnson State College Humanities Department Faculty List". Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  5. ^ JSC (2008b). "Johnson State College Course Bulletin Spring 2008" (PDF). p. 15. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  6. ^ CC [Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont] (2012a). "Champlain College Division of Education & Human Studies Faculty List". Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  7. ^ CC [Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont] (2012b). "Champlain College Criminal Law CRJ 120-01 & 120-02". Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Davis, Mark. "Life Sentence: Former Judge Ed Cashman Finally Defends Himself". Seven Days. Retrieved 2017-03-08. 
  9. ^ Ring, Wilson (2006-01-10). "Judge Cashman defends his decision to impose 60 day sentence". AP. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  10. ^ a b WCAX (2006-01-04). "Rapist's Prison Sentence Triggers Outrage". WCAX-TV. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  11. ^ a b O'Reilly, Bill (2006-02-02). "Darfur vs. Vermont". Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  12. ^ Thurston, Jack (2011-01-26). "Notorious Vt. Sex Offender Mark Hulett Released". WCAX-TV. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  13. ^ 13 V.S.A. § 5407 [Vermont Statutes Annotated] (1996-09-01). "Sex offender's responsibility to report". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 

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