Feb 7, 2008

Lawmaker's Wife Walks In On Burglary - Connecticut News Story - WFSB Hartford

Well I find this story very ironic indeed, when you consider that the largely democratic Connecticut General Assembly just voted down a proposed amendment that would have made any burglary of a home automatically classified as a class b felony, with an accompanying stiff minimum sentence.
The G.A decided instead to vote in an amendment with decidedly less teeth, whereby breaking into ones home at night-time only would be classified as that "home invasion" carrying with it the more serious felony charge with a minimum 10 yr sentence .

You will note that the man whose home was burglarized in the above article, was in fact broken into during the day, and the one thing that everyone fears in this situation, happened; his wife stopped off at her home between appointments and wound up walking straight into two men robbing her home. This scenario is precisely one of the reasons that many citizens in the general public were not satisfied with the burglary/home invasion amendment that was passed.
Reasons for the dissent varied, but a central theme was that any time a person enters a home surreptitiously and illegally, there is a huge risk for potential violence-- if anyone is home or comes home during the commission of that crime.

An important consideration in any decision regarding the crime of home break-ins, needs to include the well documented intell that shows a direct correlation between home burglaries/break ins and more serious crime, such as sexual assault, abductions and murder. There are many instances where a criminal is arrested for burglary or trespassing, when in reality his motivation was more sinister, and either something scared him off or)he got caught before anything happened or his desired target was not at home.

Thanks to the study of criminal psychology, we now know that there are stages in the evolution of sexual predators. They rarely simply leap straight to rape and murder, And one of the classic
earliest criminal behaviors of a sex offender/murderer is what used to be called peeping tom's but is now more aptly called stalking. With the advent of readily available tools to aid such criminals like night vision glasses (such as komisarjevsky used for many of his break ins while scoping out his targeted victims)and long range listening devices-(can be bought in children's science toy stores) as well as thousands of internet sources for obtaining surveillance equipment and methods, not to mention the same easy internet acquisition of personal information regarding home addresses with corresponding layouts of houses, its fair to say that we have entered a new arena for the predators of the world. We need to be armed with counter measures beginning with educating ourselves and making intelligent laws and strict well aimed sentencing provisions and seeing to it that they are actually used within our courts.

Within this same discussion regarding burglary reclassification, some inisghtful members of the senate and General assembly brought up the issue of the now vulnerable folks who work third shift and or stay at home moms and the elderly, in the institiution of the new proposed amendments limiting home invasion to evening only break ins. Despite these and other practical issues with the night only version of the law it was passed none the less.

And of course what this means is that we can expect a huge surge of break ins into our homes during the day, as word of the minimum 10 yr sentence for night break ins gets out. Not the best of reasoning regarding this amendment folks. The new law should have simply read that any illegal break in into a home-any-is now a serious felony carrying a minimum sentence, period. And if a compromise was absolutely neccesary, than at the very least it should have read that any break in where a person is home, will result in the same class b felony and minimum prison sentence.

The idea is supposed to be to deter crimes that can result in violence, we did the same for DUI, and DUI is a much more passive crime, usually lacking intent to harm, but putting people at risk for harm thru stupidity.and recklessness, While breaking into a home is much more purposeful, predatorial and consciously criminal .

I also couldn't help but notice the very high bail that these two burglars got on a "simple (ie daytime)burglary, albeit on a member of the Connecticut legislature-... 250,000 dollars each!!
The average bail for this type of crime historically run from 5,000 to 50 000 at the very highest end. NowThis bothers me for the following reasons; if the legislators as a body are choosing to take more lenient and less decisive action than thier citizen constituants clearly want for themselves, than by god, they should have to live with the choices they've made, and the same broken system (which they happen to be perpetuating with lack of decisive and intelligent action) that any victim of crime in Connecticut must contend with!

This means; no special conditions or punishment for the "alleged" criminals that broke into the legislators house. While of course as a compassionate human being I am sorry for this man and his wife, I am still very troubled by the double judicial standard that clearly exists for this man in the form of the obscenely high bail set for the two men that attempted to rob his home.

To give you an example of what the average bail for a residential burglary looks like; Mr komisarjevsky's( co murderer of the Petit woman and children) bail amount when he was caught for his last string of burglaries in 2003 -was 30,000. And remember he was a repeat offender at this point, having already served time for another string of break ins and before that a juvie record for arson

To put it into yet another perspective, a man who was charged with assault in the 2nd degree-felony-unlawful restraint in first degree-felony- terroristic threatening and stalking class a misdemeanors (all committed against me) was given a 50 000 bail at GA2 Bridgeport
in the year 2000. This was for brutally violent crimes folks, thus one can easily see
the disparity here.
Our assemblymen is already receiving special treatment as a victim of crime from the court-
and we haven't yet approached the actual judicial proceedings yet.

Needless to say, neither "defendant" in the legislator's break in made their 250 000 whopping bail ( which was the intention of such a high bail amount in the first place.) And I don't want to be misunderstood here-I am all for being tough on crime- and criminals- However I don't like it when people that work for the state, indeed help to make our laws, receive special treatment when they become the unfortunate victim of a crime here.
Its now more important than ever that they are treated as any other victim, as otherwise they will then never experience the frustrating, and at times heartbreaking reality of an indifferent, lackluster, and often inept judicial system. The very same that any victim of crime in this state must endure.

Bottomline is that it is up to our legislators and Governor Rell to break down the walls of Connecticut's broken Judicial system. In order for our courts to work properly, we must
clean house.

We will then need a clear presence in the form of a watchdog/oversight agency implemented for each courthouse in the state. This must include a valid system for victims of crime to file complaints against prosecutors that are handling thier cases in what they perceive as i
nadequate or irresponsible fashion. This includes proposed plea bargains for crimes against these victims. This is crucial as plea bargains are the standard way of resolving crime in our courts and this all takes place outside of the courtroom prior to the official resloution hearing. The victim of said crimes and criminal-often do not find out until it is too late, and even when they do know prior to the official resolution of the case they have no say whatsoever over a plea that the prosecuctor has offered to the defendent (ie criminal)

I amnjot talking about the current victim advocate offices that are operating in some Domestic violence dockets in the state. This agency clearly must reside outside of the states attorneys office in that court and AS timing in judicial procedure is so often essential, these compliants must be met with prompt attention. This court watchdog must be an independent agency that has no vested interest with the judicial system or the state politically. It must be accessible Its members must possess impartiality, criminal/ legal experience, and an established social conscience.

It would be unrealistic to assume that something that has clearly been broken for so long,
such as our court system, could simply right itself with a few amendments- and nary a look
over its collective shoulder henceforth. I liken it to a buch of teenagers run amock with power. Unfortunately its been the bodies and souls of victims of crime that have been the sacrificial lambs for this group of "teens" to act out, and to refuse to do their homework.

Governor Rell has promised that these few reforms are just the beginning and that an overhaul of our entire judicial system is forthcoming. All citizens, partcularly Victims of crime in this state, will be watching, counting on the fact that Governor Rell is a woman of her word.

Lawmaker's Wife Walks In On Burglary - Connecticut News Story - WFSB Hartford

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