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Youths Given Probation in Assault on Studds

September 8, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two Maryland teen-agers are being sentenced to probation and community service work for the June 7 beating of Rep. Gerry Studds.

U.S. Magistrate Patrick Attridge told the two youths Friday that he seriously considered sending them to prison. He opted for probation, saying drunkenness impaired their judgment at the time of the assault. The two had pleaded guilty and Attridge also said their admission of guilt played a part in his decision.

James L. Byrne, 19, of Silver Spring, faces one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and will pay $170 in restitution. Thomas E. Carter, 19, also of Silver Spring, will serve three years of probation, provide 100 hours of community service, pay $170 in restitution and enroll in a program for alcohol abusers.

Attridge said Carter received a more severe sentence because he had an undisclosed prior record.

Studds’ spokesman, Steven Schwadron, said he is certain the nine-term liberal Democrat is ″glad that justice has been done.″

Of the decision not to order prison time, Schwadron said, ″That was a decision for the judge.″

Byrne and Carter faced a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for assaulting a member of Congress.

The attack took place as Studds was walking home alone from a dinner party.

The two youths, according to their own admissions, had been drinking in a bar near Studds’ residence, emerged from the bar and were unable to remember where they’d parked their car.

Carter said they became frustrated at being unable to find the car and, for no particular reason, took out their frustration on Studds.

The congressman was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and kicked, according to prosecutors and witnesses. Studds suffered bruises and lacerations to the face and body but was not hospitalized.

The youths said they did not learn that they had attacked a congressman until after the assault. They insisted the attack had nothing to do with Studds being gay. Studds also said at the time that he had no indication that the attack was a gay-bashing incident.

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