Jan 21, 2008

Legislators say that 3-strikes law wouldn't have stopped killing

Missing the point as usual.
The general thrust of the above linked article is that the 3 strikes law, which happens to be on the table of the Connecticut General assembly tomorrow, would not have prevented the tragic murders of the Petit family members this past July, if it had been in effect at that time.

The Petit family murders are one of two recent hi profile murders in the state that were committed by 'persistent offenders" within one month period, resulting in the governors temporary ban on parole and and much legislative attention turned towards Judicial reform.
In both crimes each criminal had been released on early parole despite evidence pointing to their inappropriate candidacy for such, as well as having accrued an inordinate amount of felony convictions over the course of thier lives living within the state.

The above statement that Ive been hearing over and over like a broken record from many members of the legislature is very misleading; Standing alone, perhaps a three strikes law which only included violent felonies as potential strikes-would not have definitively kept the Petit murderers, in prison.

Yet 5 versions of a three strikes bill have been submitted and proposed to the GA over the last several months, each with VARYING degress of the crimes that would qualify for a strike" ie a conviction that is counted towards the three needed for a life sentence or a serious mandatory sentence.

California's 3 strike law has ammended its original version to now include at least one violent felony out of the total three convictions in order to be sentenced under the 3 strikes law.
An important consideration in all of this is whether or not the Ct legislature is going to requalify burglaries, whereupon anyone is in the residence, as violent-ie serious felonies, as has also been proposed.

This change in law is more likely to pass muster on a bi-partisan basis within the ga and as it should in light of the cheshire crimes and what we know about home invasions in general;the propensity for violence is significant period.

It also should be said here that Noone has suggested that this one bill-THE three strikes- would be the panacea fix-all for all that is broken within our Conn courts. However combined with the re-qualifier of violent felonies, a strict multiple offense mandatory sentencing law would have served both the Petits and the rest of our Connecticut citizenry had we had one;

If the many many felonies that co-defendent j. komisarjevsky had been convicted of - most of which were break ins of occupied homes, had been thus classified as the serious felony that they should be, those charges would have fallen under any of the versions of the three strikes sentencing laws so far submitted to The GA. . And thus, one half of the evil equasion that decided to break into the Petit families home to sexually assault mrs Petit and her young daughter-would have long been incarcerated for his first string of break ins-never mind the second string which amounted to 14 additonal break ins in a seperate county of Connecticut.

With the new Ct law proposing the re-classification of all night time burglaries as home invasions, and carrying automatic class b felony charges with a 10 yr minimum prison term, this alone, would have saved the Petit family; The prosecutor that handled the last string of komisarjevskys burgalries would have had no choice but mandatory sentencing for at least a
minimum of 10 yrs for just one home invasion convistion let alone the entire string of that he committed in 2002.

note; The first string of charges for the house burglaries were not even pursued against Komisarjevsky, as they were in a seperate jurisdiction, and as he had confessed to the second string while in custody for the first,-The prosecutor in that bunch adjudicated that group of crimes, as time served, for the time in jail awaiting his second group of crime hearings.
In other words he was given a big break insofar as sentencing for his many crimes. If sentenced for all of the crimes that he committed he could have easily been given 25 years, rather than 9 which ended up being 3 with early parole. Connecticut CURRENTLY offers parole at 50 per time served for all non violent crimes-which these were considered back then.

The second spree of home invasion crimes were the ones that at his sentencing hearing, the judge, noting his methods of stalking his victims and use of things like nighttime vision glasses and the like, called him "a cold and caculating predator who is clearly a threat to the citizens of connecticut." He stated that komisarjevsky should be done eith the DOC by thetime he was 36. Somehow he was instead done with doc at 26, except for his once a month parole meeting which would have continued for 2 years had he not murdered and raped and assaulted the Petits 3 days after his tracking ankle bracelet was removed by the Wise ole Connecticut DOC.

The point is that Both murderer/assailents of this family in fact had many criminal charges dropped completely within several seperate crime sprees, and this was all done within auto plea deals that are simply part of the daily process of what takes place in courthouses across our state. Which is why for a man to wind up with 26 actual felony convictions, by simple practical odds, he's had to have ACTUALLY committed many more crimes than what his conviction record bears.

Insofar as the Petit family crimes, yes, as it stands alone the proposed three strikes law wouldn't have prevented the crime, because up until now home invasions were not considered violent crime. (Home invasion being any robbery or attempted robbery that takes place at night or when the home owners are in the house at the time of the crime. ) I say "up until now" a bit prematurely since within this same bundle of reform proposals as the three strikes one is a proposal to re-classify any burglary taking place at night as a violent crime, as opposed to the present day classification of this as "simple" robbery- a non-violent felony. However most legislators on both sides have expressed support for this new classification law and it is bound to be passed in one form or another within the upcoming special session.

Komisarjevsky's self described methods of home break ins, the fact that watched his victims with night vison goggles, admitted that he got a "rush" only when people were home, This all should have been a BIG red flag for the Connecticut judicial system, as this is well known thrill seeking behavior with stalking and voyeurism at its core, as one can whos taken a basic criminal profiling class knows. I daresay that the stolen property from those robberies was almost incidental to Mr Komisarjevsky, certainly secondary to his true goal;

He admitted to wearing night vision goggles, watching his victims go about their lives through windows and in trees. He waited and listened as they fell asleep before moving throughout the hosue taking smaller items rather than any large electronics. In several instances, he stole personal effects from his victims, including women's lingerie and photographs of one homeowner couple, that had absolutely no cash value. Trophy's.

This again is classic psychopath behavior in the advancing stages of it's criminal evolution--
The final stage typically is sexual assault and homicide. This is a perfect example of why a criminals record's, from arrest to conviction to sentencing and all reports regarding thier behavior in prison and previous Parole re entry, should be meticlously gathered and in the
hands of any Parole board given the responsibiltiy of the descision to return this person to the general public. To do anything less is dangerous and absurd-and yet thats exactly whats been happening for years in this state.

We still may not know of other crimes committed by either of these men for which they have not been connected.. Allegedly Mr Hayes had a habit of frequenting prostitutes when smoking crack and there are several unsolved murders of prostitutes reaching back for years in this state, the sad part is we may never know the total sum of both of thier crimes.

Mr Komsarjevskys behaviors point loudly to sociopathic criminal persona, which at its core carries a lack of conscience and a chronic disregard for the rights of others, as well as enjoying
cat and mouse manipulation games with anyone who they perceive to be in positions of authority ie police, . judges parole board etc .Thus when I hear members of the Connecticut judiciary committee, who are supposed to be learned people, claiming that there was nothing in the background of either man arrested for the Petit murders, that could have predicted or prevented the tragic crimes from happening" ....To this I say nonsense;

As you can see The problems within many Connecticut courts go far beyond one or two issues that can be quick fixed with one ammendment. Some of these issues such as our poorly run parole system are crucial within the process of keeping our citizens safe from chronic offenders.This, along with the poor communication between parole members, prosecutors and police depts can be ameliorated with a relative modicum of effort. Others issues are less practical and more ethical and moral in nature; We have given over control of our courts to prosecutors and unscrupulous defense attorneys, and in this it is the victims of crime that suffer.

For every time that a crime involving any victim is plead out to nothing resembling what was actually inflicted upon that victim, he or she is utterly invalidated by the system, and in this way re-victimized all over again; But this time, the pain is somehow worse than the punches, the kicks the choking or the sexual assaults....because these people are supposed to be the good guys; This court in effect represents society, to a victim of violent crime, where truth and JUSTICE matter, and justice is not just a hollow word.

Neither Komisarjevsky not Hayes should have been candidates for early parole, or any parole for that matter. Mr komisarjevskys judge said in his sentencing hearing that he was being given 9 years sentence and 5 years special parole. He said "you will be done with the the conn dept of corrections by the time you are 36 years old." The prosecutor unlike so many of his compatriots, was intelligent dedicated and knew his criminal profiling-he pushed hard for a strict sentence as well as a long parole with special provisons including a tracking device, once he was released from prison. unfortunataley the lines of communication failed miserably, documentation was careless and scant and parole descisons were made nonetheless and were thus reckless and irresponsible. And we are now told that this was not an isolated case, this has been the way it is for years
That tracking device stayed on mr komisarjevsky for approx 2 months. The day it came off ,he resumed his life of crime, breaking into homes at night-this time with Mr hayes who he met in a halfway house, along for the ride. And as is so often the case two felons togther feed off of eachothers evil and thanks to the Connecticut judicial system, the Petit family never stood a chance.

If both of the reform changes-THE three strikes law as well as the home invasion break ins being classified as violent felonies, komisajevsky would have hit his third felony strike within his first two out of three robbery sprees(each spree involved ten or more homes all burgalirized at night-) in effect remanding him to prison for a minimum of 30 years, according to the legislature that is currently on the table for tomorrow's special session. Mr Komisarjevsky would still be incarcerated where he belonged and therefore unable to do any more harm to the innocent citizens of this state.

This is but two if's that we seem to be trying to remedy, but let us hope that those that sit on the general assembly tommorow look at the core issues of our broken justice system; a increasingly lenient and permissive sentencing and parole procedure, which many claim has as its roots in an over crowded and expensive prison system, which has progressively caused a decree of sorts to our prosecutors and judges that only the worst of the worst are to be given serious prison time, .

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