BATON ROUGE — A Baton Rouge judge recently allowed a man convicted of child molestation to be released from prison so he could care for his ailing mother.
Earl Coleman, 49, was convicted of aggravated rape after molesting an 8-year-old girl in 2012. Judge Trudy White, who presided over the case, was asked by prosecutors to set Coleman's bond at $500,000. Instead, she set it at $10,000.
Coleman posted bond and now resides down the street from his victim. According to WAFB News, the victim's mother is outraged by the judge's decision. Abuse advocate groups such as the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch are also in disagreement with White's actions.
“This decision is unconscionable and it further contributes to the perception that some judges appear to have more compassion and concern for convicted criminals than they do for victims,” Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, told the Louisiana Record.
Coleman was asked to be released so he could care for his sick mother, who is currently in the hospital.
White has yet to comment on the matter.
“Whether this perception is accurate or not, reputations matter," Landry said. "Judges are expected to maintain independence and impartiality so they can render objective judgments. When a judge’s conduct is so profoundly destructive, those core tenants are compromised and public confidence in the judiciary is undermined.”
Generally, a criminal convicted of such a crime is held in jail until sentencing. Coleman, who is facing life in prison, is not due for sentencing until June 1.
“Indeed, there is a growing consensus that our justice system does not serve victims well," Landry said. "This case clearly illustrates why.”