Commentary by Howard Melamed June 7,2008:
Last week, John Sommerer a previous mayor of Coral Springs was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison and given a 30 probation period, after pleading “No-Contest”. He was able to have the 1/2 year that he was behind bars taken off the sentence. The question we all have in our mind is “Was Justice Served?”
I have received several emails indicating that Sommerer received a light sentence considering that it was a 5 year old that he may have molested. I say, “MAY HAVE” because a “no contest” plea does not necessarily mean that he is admitting to it. The 60 year old will probably be out of jail within 18 months since he will obviously make parole. No doubt he will move to another part of the world, far away from Coral Springs.
The father of the victim stated that he did not want his 5 year old to have to go to court and go through the proceedings. This would be devastating for the prosecution since not having the cooperation of the victim could place a doubt in some of the jury’s minds. The evidence from the Police and eye witnesses would be offered, but perhaps the prosecuting attorney felt that it was not 100 percent solid.
When this case started, and Sommerer was arrested, I called the police and asked them if this was a real case, or one in which was based on some shaky evidence. They told me that it was solid and Sommerer was a pedophile. Was this a rush to judgment in the same manner as the case of Anthony Colvert ( click here) who was wrongly accused of murder by the police? How can anyone be sure?
As well without a trial, and no evidence actually presented before a jury can anyone be certain as to what happened?
However, in the case of a probable pedophile, we cannot be naive to think that nothing happened. There had to be some evidence.
Without a full trial, there is no way that justice was served in this case. Our community which at one time had in its trust Mayor Sommerer will not know if he was really guilt or really innocent.
What I do know is that a 5 year old will now experience physiological problems in her life which is a lot longer than the 18 months that Sommerer will serve in jail.
If we are looking for any justice in a case like this, then we may never find it. Too many question will remain unanswered. The father of the victim was pleased with the Judgment so that his daughter may now put it behind her. However, can the community do the same?