Criminal Justice

Lawyer Gets 60 Days in Fatal Horse Neglect Case

Sentenced last year in state district court to six days in jail for fatally neglecting a horse and, the judge said, showing no remorse, a Maryland lawyer and his wife made things worse for themselves by appealing.

Now Hilton and Donna Silver have been sentenced to 60 and 30 days, respectively, by Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas Bollinger Sr. He called the photos of three emaciated horses (two survived) at their home the worst he has seen in 22 years on the bench, reports the Daily Record.

Although Hilton Silver read an apology to the court in what the article describes as an “emotionless monotone,” the judge apparently wasn’t impressed.

“They need to accept what they did, pay the piper and move on,” Bollinger said, adding “Society just can’t condone this.”

He is allowing the couple to serve their jail terms at different times, so that one parent can be at home with their teenage daughter. In addition to the jail time, he is requiring them to reimburse the county for some $16,000 in care costs for the two surviving horses since they were seized in March 2009. Because Hilton Silver refused to relinquish ownership, they could not be transferred to new owners in the meantime, the article says.

Attorney David Greenbaum, who represented Hilton Silver, said the couple treated their cats and dogs appropriately and expressed concern about a potential attorney discipline complaint against Silver, a sole practitioner, in urging the judge to adhere to the original six-day sentence.

Assistant public defender Michelle Moodispaw represented Donna Silver. She said mental health issues prevented her client from recognizing the seriousness of the situation and helping the horses.

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