NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 18, 2013

Catch-and-release felons place public in danger

More stories in recent days suggest that a lack of confidence in the ability of our justice system to protect the public is justified.

Last May, Anthony Fowler, 22, entered a Haverhill apartment and crawled into bed with Susan Lavoie, 53. When Lavoie woke to the feeling of hands groping and touching her, she was stunned by fear. Then she began to fight.

“I sat up and started screaming, ‘What are you doing,’ and ‘get out of here,’” she told a reporter. “And he’s laughing at me.”

Lavoie, who has terminal bone cancer, grabbed the metal cane she uses to help her walk and began whacking Fowler with it. Fowler would not get out of the bed and continued to laugh at her. Finally, he left when she threatened to call the police.

Fowler was arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 and released on $1,000 cash bail.

While awaiting trial on that charge, Fowler entered another person’s home. On Jan. 31, he entered a Haverhill home in the early morning hours, frightening the elderly woman who lived there. She told police she was in her bedroom when she heard a noise and went to investigate. She found Fowler trying to hide behind a refrigerator, saying he needed a place to stay for the night, police said.

Fowler was charged with unarmed burglary and ordered held without bail.

On Feb. 26, Fowler pleaded guilty in court on the indecent assault charge involving Lavoie. The assistant district attorney had sought 18 months incarceration but Judge Stephen Abany agreed with the defense request for two years probation. Fowler was ordered to pay a $50 per month probation fee, remain drug and alcohol free and was relieved of having to register as a sex offender.

The next day, Fowler appeared in court on the unarmed burglary charge, which was amended to breaking and entering in the nighttime. He pleaded guilty and Judge Patricia Dowling sentenced him to four months in the House of Correction, with credit for 28 days served.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans