The arrest of Cyril Williams in the death of Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown calls for an urgent investigation into the practices of the Maryland Parole Commission, former Maryland corrrections department official Hal Riedl writes in the Washington Post. Riedl accuses the state of expediting parole for potentially violent offenders. Williams was sentenced in 2006 for possession with intent to distribute a “large amount” of drugs — 50 grams of crack. He got five years, with another five years suspended, and three years probation upon release. Charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault and using a handgun in a violent crime, in a different case, were dropped.
That October, Williams was back court for a 5-year sentence in another drug case. Yet Williams was paroled on July 23, 2008, having served 23 months of real time for his third major felony conviction. How did that happen? By law, Williams was entitled to five days good-conduct time for every month to which he was sentenced. If this hadn’t been the case, Williams might still have been in custody when Brown was killed. Despite tough talk from Gov. Martin O’Malley, this policy of accelerated parole has actually been ratcheted up on his watch. There are many Cyril Williamses out there waiting to explode, and there are many more lining up to be released, Riedl maintains.