La Plata, MD – The problem with most defendants who appear in Charles County Circuit Court pleading for leniency is that in most cases the court has already given them a break on previous charges, but then they do something to violate their parole. They often find the judge isn’t so willing to give them a break the second time.

Such was the case of Marcus Antonio Butler, 30 of Waldorf, who faced Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier for sentencing Tuesday, Oct. 7 for a Jan. 17, 2014 robbery and second-degree assault charge where he stole the victim’s cell phone and later sold it at an AT&T store at St. Charles Town Centerl.

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany L. Campbell told the court that Butler had prior offenses and that sentencing guidelines recommended three to eight years with a minimum of 18 months.

“As much as I would like to object, there is clearly a violation,” Butler’s attorney, Johanna Bogan stated. “There is no way around it. Mr. Butler has an extensive record of criminal activity.”

“Yeah, what’s with the number of trespasses?” Bragunier asked.

Butler explained that at one time he was hanging around with the wrong crowd and the company that owned the apartment complex where his mother lived deemed the complex off limits to him because of the company he was keeping.

“They barred me from coming on the property, but the only way I could see my daughter was to go there,” Butler explained. “Every time I went on the property they had me arrested. My life would have been so much better if I hadn’t tried to be with the ‘in’ crowd,” he said.

“To his credit, Mr. Butler has been very candid from the outset,” Bogan said. “He knows he was wrong. He has accepted responsibility for his actions. He is showing signs of self-awareness. The recent death of his grandmother has caused him to re-evaluate his life. He is trying to stay out of trouble. He has stopped smoking marijuana.”

“I’m struggling to find a basis for going below the guidelines [on sentencing],” Bragunier told Butler. “You have served 256 days and I am going to give you credit for that time served. On Count Three, Second-Degree Assault, I’m going to give you 10 years and suspend all but 18 months to be served at the Charles County Detention Center.”

Bragunier said his sentence would be consecutive to his remaining time from his previous conviction, almost 300 days worth, and five years of supervised probation.

She did authorize work release but insisted that he enroll in a jail-based treatment program and submit to urinalysis.

Contact Joseph Norris at