Ten years after being robbed of his phone by two teens while out walking his dog—an experience Brandon Scott says he never spoke about publicly until this week—the council president on Monday asked a judge to give one of his assailants a break after reconciling with him personally and watching him grow behind bars.
The Sun covered Scott’s appeal in court on Monday, which, with other testimony from the man himself, Geron Golphin, and family members, convinced a judge to cut part of Golphin’s sentence and effectively make him eligible for parole in September.
Golphin was 16 when he and another teen robbed Scott. After being arrested and tried, he received a 15-year sentence with 12 years suspended. He was let out, but was arrested again in 2015 on drug charges in Baltimore County, violating his probation and earning a re-imposed 10-year sentence that he’s currently serving.
A judge yesterday reduced that sentence to six years, the newspaper reported, meaning Golphin has now served about half of his time. He’s up for parole soon and also has good behavior credits, which means his release “should be imminent,” the judge said.
The president of the Baltimore City Council expounded on the case in a Facebook post this morning, saying he was once angry at Golphin, “but I have long since forgiven him.” His one-time attacker has received his diploma and other certificates while behind bars, taken on a role as a mentor for other young men and met with the council president face-to-face to discuss their history, Scott said.
Scott said the whole experience has left him reconsidering how adult sentences are imposed on teens.
“Over the past ten years, we have changed immensely. I know how much I have grown since that event—how different I was at 25 to who I am today at 35,” Scott wrote. “Similarly, we cannot expect someone who committed a crime at 16 to be the same at 26.
“This experience has taught me that we must take a serious look at how we treat youth offenders. While Mr. Golphin should have been and was held accountable for his actions, we must recognize how young people who commit crimes are different than adults who do the same. Simply put, the brain of a 16-year-old boy is different than that of a 26-year-old man.”
Scott acknowledged his own experiences growing up in Park Heights and seeing poverty, as well as dead bodies and “everything else bad that too many Baltimoreans have to endure” around him.
“But for a strong family structure and opportunities given to me, I could have ended up in a similar place to Mr. Golphin.”
Scott pledged “to make sure he is successful upon his return to the community.”
He’s the second city lawmaker to come to bat for an assailant in a crime. Now-former Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector was assaulted and carjacked by two boys, ages 13 and 15, in December 2016 during her final week in office.
She wound up attending a court hearing for the pair, reaching out to the teens and their families after they pleaded guilty and became a mentor for both. One of the boys later told The Sun in an interview that Spector “gave me a chance” in the aftermath.
“I took that chance as an advantage and did what I had to do in school, outside of school, and stayed away from trouble. Period.”
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