DWI HIT PARADE: Repeat offender Arthur Edelen pleaded guilty to DUI vehicular homicide for killing Ernest Young III of Hughesville; delays of sentencing delays justice for family of victim
LA PLATA, MD. — Arthur C. Edelen, a serial criminal and DWI driver, who has entered a guilty plea for killing Ernest Young III, of Bryantown in a drunk driving homicide case stemming from a violent crash on Rt. 5 in 2016 is telling his friends that a deal has been cooked up with prosecutors and Judge Hayward West to assure he won’t do any jail time and will only be sentenced to three years’ probation. The sentencing has repeatedly been delayed with the latest day in court with the family of the victim anxious to see justice served resulted in Judge Hayward West jumping up from the bench and announcing he wasn’t going to listen to the victim impact statements due to his having grown up in Bryantown with his friends and associates all knowing the man who entered the guilty plea to DUI homicide. Judge West said another Judge could listen to the statements of the family. The family has had repeated delays in the case with those wishing to be heard having to reschedule their work and college classes several times in order for them to have their day in court and face the man who killed their family member, Ernest Young III.
Since Ernest Young was killed by Edelen, the family home was burglarized with many personal items important to his widow stolen during the burglary. The keys to the home were on the key ring to the motorcycle when the vehicle was hauled away by a towing service and the keys could not be recovered by the Maryland State Police from the private storage facility. Thus, a key to her home was missing at the time of the burglary.
The crime of burglary was a specialty of Edelen, who hung around a Bryantown store doing odd jobs and panhandling, not far from the Young residence.
Thus, in a span of a few short months, the Young family lost Ernest, lost their personal belongings in the burglary and with the loss of Ernest, also lost a significant part of the family income forcing his widow, a popular Charles County podiatrist to sell her home in a quick sale.
The social services and personnel of the States Attorney’s Office often speak of Edelen’s “story”, as a rational as to why he should get lenient treatment, and justifying his continued lenient treatment in criminal cases. Edelen had suffered severe burns as a youth. His criminal record reveals his many interactions with the courts and the outcomes. The family of Young points out that they have lost their husband, son, father, brother, and friend and can’t understand why his killer is out of jail since his arrest and is flaunting his pending free pass for taking the life of Ernest Young. The Young family believe they are being burned by the Judge and States Attorney.
“We have lived in Charles County for twenty-four years and raised our family here, what about us?” asked Dr. Alesia Madden-Young?
Charles County States Attorney Anthony Covington has told the family that the laws are weak regarding impaired drivers and he can’t do anything about it. Yet the States Attorney has wide discretion in charging impaired drivers and making plea deals as evidenced by a long list of DUI arrests and dozens of cases in which Covington gave easy plea deals, many with no time in jail and very low fines in 2016. While Covington is free to respond to this article, the record of his plea deals speaks for itself.
The family of the victim has learned that Edelen has been an informant for the Charles County Sheriff’s Department and uses the practice of dropping the dime, or ratting on other miscreants as a way of bargaining down his sentence when faced with jail time. Thus, if anyone who knows Edelen and has recently been jammed up with charges and can’t figure out how the cops knew about their criminal activities, Edelen just might have given them up in order to skate on his DUI homicide charge.
A longtime veteran observer of court cases and practices of law enforcement dealing with informants say that all defendants attempt to trade knowledge of crimes or alleged crimes of others for reducing their sentence. However, there is no chance that such actions would be allowed in the case of a murder or homicide by motor vehicle charge.
TIMELINE OF ARTHUR EDELEN CASE
- The timeline of flawed justice in Charles County, Maryland, in the case of Arthur Christopher Edelen, charged with killing Ernest Young III on March 24, 2016, and later indicted eight counts of vehicular homicide, manslaughter, and DUI.
- Dec. 8, 2016 – bail bond hearing (On Dec. 2, 2016, Circuit Court Judge Hayward J. West was assigned to the case and listed in the indictment. Judge Amy Janel Bragunier was listed on court records as presiding over the bail bond hearing held on Dec. 8, 2016.)
- Dec. 29, 2016 – Motion made by the defense attorney for discovery and inspection of documents related to the charges.
- March 24, 2017 – hearing on a motion – court records show Judge Hayward J. West presiding over the hearing.
- April 6, 2017 – conference on the status of the case – court records show that Judge Hayward J. West presiding over the hearing.
- April 26, 2017 – plea hearing – court records show that Judge Erik H. Nyce presided over the hearing.
- July 18, 2017 – sentencing hearing – court records show that Judge Hayward J. West presiding over the hearing.
- Sept. 12, 2017 – sentencing hearing – court records show that Judge Hayward J. West presided. The reason given the family of the deceased Ernest Young III was that a rape trial had caused the delay in the sentencing.
- Nov. 2, 2017 – sentencing hearing – court records show that the hearing has been canceled once again and reset for Nov. 14, 2017. – Judge Hayward J. West ordered the delay.
- Nov. 14, 2017 – sentencing hearing.
Judge Hayward J. West was admitted to the bar in 2004 and appointed as a Circuit Court Judge on April 3, 2014, in the final year of the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley after only ten years as a lawyer. High on the list of his accomplishments listed in the Maryland Manual are his experience as an assistant coach with the Thomas Stone Wrestling Club, a Sunday School teacher, a board member at Jude House, and serving as a flag football coach. As a practicing attorney with a Waldorf firm, he worked in defending criminals as well as family law.
Judge West had ample opportunities to recuse himself from the case long before leaving the courtroom in September of 2017 and refusing to listen to the victim impact statement. Judge West showed no empathy for the victims – yet he is assigned the duty of presiding over the sentencing of Edelen. A request has been made to Judge West with a phone call to his secretary, for an interview and to clarify if he has recused himself from the sentencing or only from listening to the victim impact statements. On balance, one source said that Judge West is a straight shooter and might have had a good reason for refusing to sit on the impact and sentencing of Edelen, perhaps on information not known to him earlier, which has now caused him to recuse himself. If and when Judge West replies with an explanation, any such reply will be updated to this article.
HUGHESVILLE, MD. — UPDATE: The Charles County Circuit Court Grand Jury indicted Arthur Christopher Edelen on eight counts of vehicular homicide, manslaughter, and DUI on Dec. 2, 2016.
Edelen was jailed on a bench warrant issued by a Circuit Court Judge on Dec. 2, 2016, which was served on Dec. 7, 2016 and released on a $5,000 bond – a very low amount for homicide.
Edelen was jailed on a bench warrant issued by Circuit Court Judge Hayward J. West on Dec. 2, 2016, which was served on Dec. 7th. After posting a bond of $5,000, Edelen was released from jail. Monte D. Montgomery has filed an appearance as the defense attorney for Edelen. Charles County States Attorney Tony Covington is responsible for the prosecution of Edelen for snuffing out the life of Ernest Young III, of Hughesville and will be assisted by Constance B. Kopelman, one of his assistant states attorneys for Circuit Court.
A criminal jury trial is scheduled for Charles County Circuit Court on April 24, 2017.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: A repeat offender DUI driver who got easy treatment for his last DUI now faces new DUI charges along with possible vehicular homicide charges for the death of a Hughesville resident. Typically, the Maryland State Police will consult with the Charles County States Attorney for charges to be brought pending receipt of blood alcohol tests on the part of the driver who failed to yield the right of way and caused the fatal crash.
Ernest Young III, who police say was operating his motorcycle southbound on Rt. 5 on March 24, 2016, at 9:04 pm, and was struck by Arthur Christopher Edelen, of 4745 Duffield Road, White Plains, Md., who police say pulled out onto Rt. 5 into his path causing the motorcycle to strike his van. Young was taken to Prince Georges Shock Trauma where he died two days later from injuries received in the crash. Maryland State Police reported alcohol impairment on the part of the driver who hit him, Arthur Edelen, was suspected. Court records show Edelen has a prior DUI conviction.
Maryland State Police Trooper Two Medevac helicopter flew Young to PG Trauma from the scene.
The Maryland State Police Trooper Two Medevac helicopter flew Young to PG Trauma from the scene.
Maryland Court records show that Edelen was charged by the Maryland State Police on Nov. 22, 2009, with DUI while operating on Laurel Grove Road in a 1996 Lincoln. Appearing in St. Mary’s County District Court on March 25, 2010, Edelen was given a plea deal by St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz. The deal with a Probation Before Judgement, called for 30 days in jail with all 30 days suspended and a fine of $192.50. Records show that the fine was not paid, and his license was suspended on June 25, 2016.
On July 25, 2012, Edelen was arrested for driving while suspended by St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Deputy Jean Vezzosi. In St. Mary’s County District Court on Oct. 10, 2012, St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz gave another Probation Before Judgement plea deal to Edelen with 10 days in jail and all 10 days suspended, along with a fine of $85.
Arrested for fourth-degree burglary by Charles County Sheriff’s Officer Dorrell Savoy on March 20, 2011, Edelen hired private attorney Cara Rockhill to arrange a plea deal with Charles County States Attorney Anthony Covington. The deal on July 27, 2011, resulted in the theft and burglary charges being placed on the Stet Docket with no time and no fine.
Charged with possession of drugs on Jan. 19, 2007 by Charles County Officer Joseph Piazza, Edelen entered a guilty plea in a deal with the Charles County States Attorney on June 12, 2007. The deal provided for 6 months in jail with all the time suspended and a fine of $150, along with two years of probation.
Young is survived by his devoted wife, Dr. Alesia Madden-Young; loving children, Lantrese, and Ernest B. Young; mother, Polly Young; siblings, Gwendolyn Bell-McNeil, Sharon Walker, Ernestine Young and Anthony Bell; a host of other relatives and friends. Family and friends attended a service Saturday, April 2, 2016, at Calvary Gospel Church in Waldorf, Md. OBITUARY
List of Whacky Charles County Judges
Some Charles County Judges have a history of demonstrating unusual and quirky behavior in the courtroom.
Charles County Administrative District Court Judge Larry R. Holtz resigned from the bench after he attempted to order two judges who served under him in the District Court Circuit to give his mistress a free pass on a DUI charge and had assigned the woman, a Waldorf hairdresser, to do community service in his courtroom. Holtz was later given a federal appointment in administrative law during the administration of President Bill Clinton, who perhaps admired his judicial pluck.
Circuit Court Judge Robert Nalley was reprimanded for letting the air out of the tire of a cleaning lady’s auto after she parked in a reserved parking spot close to the courthouse when she arrived at work each day at 4 pm. As she worked until midnight, with no one around when she left work, her taking a space at the end of the court work hours was not an inconvenience to anyone except the Judge’s haughty sense of entitlement.
Judge Nalley continued to sit on the bench until he ordered a bailiff to taser a defendant to make him stop talking as he represented himself in a case. After that, in 2014, Nalley was ordered off the bench by the Judicial Disabilities Commission and censored by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Judge Nalley was prosecuted in Federal Court for the act of ordering the man incapacitated by the stun gun. U.S. Magistrate Judge William Connelly sentenced former Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley, of La Plata, Maryland on March 31, 2016, to one year of probation for deprivation of rights under color of law for ordering a deputy sheriff to activate a stun-cuff worn by a pro se criminal defendant during a pre-trial court proceeding. As a condition of his probation, Nalley must attend anger management classes. Magistrate Judge Connelly also ordered Nalley to pay a fine of $5,000.
From 1988 to September 2014, Nalley served as a judge of the Circuit Court for Charles County, Maryland. According to his guilty plea, on July 23, 2014, Nalley presided over the jury selection for the victim, who was representing himself in a criminal proceeding in Charles County court. Before the proceedings began, a deputy sheriff informed Nalley that the victim was wearing a stun-cuff. Nalley was aware that when activated, the stun-cuff would administer an electrical shock to the victim, thereby incapacitating him and causing him pain.
Several minutes after the proceedings began, Nalley asked the victim whether he had any questions for the potential jurors. The victim repeatedly ignored Nalley and instead read from a prepared statement, objecting to Nalley’s authority to preside over the proceedings, while standing calmly behind a table in the courtroom. The victim did not make any aggressive movements, did not attempt to flee the courtroom, and did not pose a threat to himself or to any other person at any point during the proceedings. Nalley twice ordered the victim to stop reading his statement, but the victim continued to speak.
According to his plea agreement, Nalley then ordered the deputy sheriff to activate the stun-cuff, which administered an electric shock to the victim for approximately five seconds. The electric shock caused the victim to fall to the ground and scream in pain. Nalley then recessed the proceedings.