The Marc Steiner Show

Doug Colbert on Criminal Justice Reform

CEM is thrilled that Doug Colbert, a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland, has weighed in with his response to the articles that former Assistant State’s Attorney Page Croyder has been publishing on the CEM website. Check out his article, and Page’s response, by clicking here.

If you have comments on these pieces, please leave them on the page with the pieces, not this page.

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. Page is not talking about “preventive detention” for unconvicted criminals. Her whole point is the extraordinary mildness with which violent offenders with long records are treated in the Baltimore City courts. Typically judges will “discount” past crimes in order to get a plea to a new one, so that all of them can be bundled into one tidy sentence. This practice rewards repeat offenders for repeating, rather than the opposite…On Judge Braverman’s bail for an accused murder: does Doug really think that we know how to calibrate bail so exquisitely to the quality of the evidence against the accused?…If Doug wants to bring “race and class” into the discussion, he ought to remember that the chief victims under discussion are low-income blacks, the most vulnerable citizens of our community. The thugs rarely go up to Roland Park to do their thing..Doug’s nice conscience winds up defending the worst blacks against the weakest and the most law-abiding…Does Doug really believe that judges should be above criticism and public accountability? He defends the likes of Miller and Braverman because they happen to agree with him. But the shoe slips easily onto the other foot; is he prepared to be ruled by a Supreme Court majority headed by Justice Scalia? And after all this high-mindedness about incarcerating the unconvicted, Doug ascribes Page’s motives to a wish to run for state’s attorney or for the Circuit Court again. “Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished!” But this is a canard unworthy of Doug. If Page had either ambition, the way to achieve it is not to take on so relentlessly the city’s political and legal establishment. I would urge Doug to listen very hard to what she’s saying. It’s all about public integrity.

  2. I take issue with Colbert’s criticism of Page Croyder.  She has described judicial behavior that is SHOCKINGLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE to people like myself in the general public– residents who must live in neighborhoods beset with crime and all its side effects. 

    I had always thought that probation was a kind of "second chance"– a way for a judge to give someone their freedom on the condition that they don’t "get into trouble" again. For such small-minded people like myself, this would mean that if somebody who was on probation "got in trouble" (eg something as slight as, say, GETTING ARRESTED), the deal is off, and the prep goes back to serve the original sentence– modulo rational judicial consideration of course.

    Colbert’s response to Croyder consists of a weak complaint about judges not being able to discuss public commentary of their cases. Fine. Then please professor, explain to us simple folk WHY the defendant with three felony drug convictions, two robberies and a handgun violation should be allowed to violate probation for ROBBERY after absconding supervision and NOT PAYING RESTITUTION to the victim??? Oh– and all this after being arrested for drug dealing (to pay back the robbery victim, per chance?). Go ahead. Tell us. You have access to the information, professor. Tell us what on Earth Judge Miller was thinking to allow this? How is this justice?

    Page has the right idea. Lets start to look at what the judges are doing. The mayor and the police have gotten more than enough spotlight. Dealing with crime requires effort from all parties involved. It seems that the police and the politicians get the lion share of the complaints, perhaps they deserve it, but maybe its time to hold judges responsible for their actions. Maybe our votes in the booth for these people should be based on more than the alphabetical order of their names.


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