Jan 26, 2008

Press Release from State Senate Democratic Leadership

Above is an article with the basic highlights of the judicial reforms that actually passed the senate and the legislature this past week. As expected The three strikes ammendment did not pass the senate, nor the legislature. There are several reasons for this and none of them substantial.
And as much as I have been a non-advocate of a blanket three strikes law being the single fix it answer, the amin argument being that we've currently got a version of this that prosecutors do not use allegedly because it is so convoluted and poorly constructed, but in reality it is because it interferes with thier daily agenda's; power/ego mongeringng they do not wish black and white sentencing law as it robs them of the discretion of who will get a free pass and who will not.

Suffice to say, money and power are the two biggest reasons. Out of all of the proposed reforms, the three strikes bill seemed to be on its surface, the most potentially expensive- that is in the short term as presumably initially prisons would fill at a faster rate. However, bear in mind as it is all according to the proffesional bean -counters official fiscal layout-and I have a lot to say regarding both the methodology as well as the logic that is being used,in arriving at these statistics.

I need to make quick mention (the quick for practical reasons, but I promise to elaborate on this later) that I took great offense to the speech and the overall posturng of the female legislator in charge of the financial bottom lines for the State- more specificlly, the reform package before the GA for this whole special session.

Please be aware that there is still much more work to be done. This is in no way even a baby a fix. The main concern still is tomake certain that our current sentencing guidelines and laws are utilized consistantly by prosecutors and judges alike.

Judges need to be more pro-active in many Connecticut courts, particularly those that handle any violent crime. And all of this is dependent on thorough and careful record keeping from the arrest warrant all the way through the entire criminal judicial process-everyone involved in any of the descision making regarding how a violent criminal is to be handled, must have every piece of information about that defendent and his her record-Not merely what they wound up convicted of-

This is but a slice of incomplete and often misleading information and way too much action-or inaction by our collective Connecticut justice system -is based upon this. This has had disatrous consequences in the past and will again if not remedied. I mean c'mon people, for over 10 years the parole board was not recieving adequate records regarding any of the men and women they were paroling.

Supposedly members asked complained time andtime again and were still rebuked due to said copying costs involved! The states attorneys office did not want to pay the copying costs-this is the reason that we have been given for this gross deriliction of duty. I'm inclined to believe this, as I witnessed first hand the arrogance and utter non- cooperation of my states attorneys office in bridgeport GA2 regarding important life and death paperwork that I once needed; The following happened a year or so after my assault case was "resolved":

I was moving out of the town where the crimes against me had happened, trying to make a new start in a home that did not hold awful violent memories. I asked for an official copy of the standing criminal restraining order against my assailent from Ga2 court, via the victims advocates office. The order was standing-meaning for life and was the only solid thing that I had extracted from this court through the entire 10 month "judicial "process. The order stated that the man that had assaulted and stalked me , could not approach me or my dwelling within 100 yards. I needed the official copy to be filed with the police department of the town where I had just relocated. The police in the town where my new domicile was located told me explicately that I needed to obtain an official copy for them in the event that they had to act upon that order. They told me to get it from the court.
When I asked the victims advocates office for this official copy with noted address change on the order, they came back hanging thier heads a day later, telling me that the prosecutor refused to give this to them-or me-and the explanation from the prosecutor who had "resolved" the case was "that we dont change refile these orders everytime someone moves-otherwise we'd be making address changes and copies of restraining orders every five minutes if this were the case!
I actually had to complain to the head prosecutor within that office at ga2, after threatening to send a letter to his superior who ran the whole show over there but who was located in a seperate court building around the corner on Main st Bridgeport. He seemed more concerned that I not relay the ongoing difficulties that I had within that office to Mr Benidict, rather than desiring to truly help remedy my problem. But he did send the new order with a cover letter to the new police dept.
The fact that I had to go through all of this to obtain a peice of paper, that if not properly handled could mean my life, goes to show you how badly things are handled in some courts around the state. I recently read an article about ga2 court bridgeport-in it it said that the domestic violence docket at Ga2 was considered the gold standard for domestic violence within the state of connecticut. Of the two prosecuctors that handled my case-I complained about the first and was subsequently given another-a woman- that was even less prosecutorial and more insenstive and ruder-It was of course circle the wagons time, once I complained about one of thier own.
The first prosecutor who was buddies with my assailents attorney, who seems to specialize in defending men that batter women, has been promoted to head prosecutor in the state handling domestic violence, (oh this is so scary..) He actually spends half his time teaching-teaching other prosecutors and law enforcement about domestic violence!
The second prosecutor who technically made the plea agreement with my assailent, (although it was a forgone conclusion from what the first prosecutor promised the defense alreadyby the time she entered the picture) yes SHE, she is still at Ga2.

My case unfortunately was relegated to this docket-altho there was nothing domestic about my relationship with the man who assaulted me. He was someone I had dated and was now trying to extricate myself from.

What so many people dont know is that 9 out of 10 crimes committed in connecticut including violent crime) are handled by plea deals between prosecutor and defense attorney,( be he private or a public attorney such as we the tax payers are paying for for komisarjevsky and Hayes, killers of the petit women. ) And these are not just the so-called "lesser" crimes such as assault and burglary, (I am being facetious here-) murders are also handled with plea deals quite regularly as well.

And within this plea process, whatever actual crimes that the criminal committed and was properly charged with, are dropped down a notch -or two, as well as completely drop a charge altogether within a cluster of multiple charges committed within one episode of a criminal action- Case in point Mr Hayes convictions whereupon he broke a bunch of laws as at once, including two separate occasions of illegal gun possession-and two times the gun charges, which were serious charges, were dropped entirely by the prosecutor within the flurry of other charges

Meaning what cONNECTICUT and thus the public at large were left with as an official record of hayes's crimes, did not resemble at all what crimes he committed did and therefore what kind of criminal he was and thus the threat that he posed to the general public was again minimized with nary a thought about it. In fact the only reason that we know about tany of these lost charges of his is because much research is being done re this guys past, due to these brutal crimes of multiple rape murder and arson that he later committed. Normally the court, the parole board the public and police depts only see the end result convictions that formally exist after the plea wheeling and dealing and the concurrent dropping of charges

In Mr Hayes case alone that left approx 12 charges 12-that were completely dropped outright for no good reason other than this is the way we- the Conn judicial system- process our criminals take it or leave it. Well we are leaving it en masse.

And how does this tie in with the various judicial ammendments passed by The Connecticut General Assembly in this recent special session- This is how; In order to make these reforms work at all, we need to revamp our existing day to day modes of operating as well as the underlying core attitudes that fuel them. Not all Connecticut prosecutors are lackadaisical lazy indifferent or corrupt-but too many have become just that. And Corruption needn't always be in the form of a iteral bribes it can be the endorsing of a plea deal that is excessively lenient, as a favor to the defense attorney who the assist states attorney socializes with or ....they might hope for his support in future endeavors such as elections, promotions or perhaps even a career opportunities.. More often than not these deals are done out of laziness and utter disregard for the victims and possible future victims. Its easiest to make a plea deal than prepare for a trial, thus thedeal wins nearly every time, and they nearly always compromise the publics saftety.

And let me be clear regarding My definition of corrupt - Simply any corruption of the process of genuine justice- for any reason; this includes favor swapping cronyism, or simple laziness and indifference The lack of motivation to do more than the ABSOLUTE minimum required to simply keep one's civil service job be it prosecutor- judge or even court victims advocate-And although they rarely have any real power to trade or sell -they are capable of going along with the status -quo ,even when that requires turning a blind eye to the corruption that is aswirl all about them; violent crime cases being thrown out nolled and plead down to next to nothing at all, just because that is the "way it is' in that particular court, And remember they don't want to lose their jobs either by becoming too contrary with the prosecutors; As my victims advocate said once to me "laurel.... Ive got to work with these people every day, and long after your case is over...Ill still be here with them" My heart sank at that moment because i realized what she was saying to me, and why. It was thus not a surprise to me when that same victims advocate quit only 6 months after the final dispensation my case.
She was disgusted and disillusioned, I'm sure that like me she simply didnt know that this was how serious violent crime was to be treated in the state of Connecticut; little more than a wink and a nod between "prosecutor" and defense attorney, and the judge relegated to simply a symbolic figure who asked no questions and gives thier stamp of approval to the "deal " of the day.

Press Release from State Senate Democratic Leadership

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