Mar 26, 2008

Debate over three strikes bill not over

This article is dated from over a week ago, just prior to the three strikes bill last being voted down in the General Assembly. However, I so liked what State Representitive Adinolfi had to say (in the final paragraph of the article), that I am re-linking to it today...

In response to a statement re the inherent problematic nature of the 3 strikes law made by Conn Chief States Attorney Kane of the following approximation
"What about the defendant who has two burglary convictions on his record and then gets in a bar fight and breaks someone ribs? That guy could conceivably recieve a third strike (resulting in a possible sentence of 25 yr( with parole after 85 percent of sentence), via any of the four 3 strikes proposals before the GA ) I would not want to prosecute that case under a three strikes contingent." ...

Our insightful Representative Adinolfi responded in kind with "why don't you ask the guy who got his ribs broken in the bar how he feels !" And he elaborated of course with his own take on the crime situation in his nighborhood where folks have put deadbolts on thier bedroom doors and such. He has consistantly expressed his support of a three strikes law.Bravo to legislator aldinolfi, for This is where the thinking really needs to change regarding violence- in general; it is against the law, it is not acceptable, period. Not between a man and his wife or partner not between a parent and child and not between one man and another in a bar or anywhere else for that matter. There is almost always a victim whenever violence occurs,

It should be mentioned that Rep Aldinolfi resides in Cheshire in the very neighborhood where The Petit mother and children were assaulted and murdered, just a block or so from where the embers of what was once the Petits home, stands as a constant reminder of this horrible -and unneccesary tragedy. . To me, Mr Aldinolfi's opoinion on criminal/judicial matters should be that much more valued within the context of these Judicial reform sessions. States attorney Kane who is in effect the states top prosecutor, was asked to attend this session as a consultant in effect in order to testify about the effectiveness of a strict sentencing law such as three strikes.

In addition, the preceding statement is contains a rather misleading example by Connecticut's head State's Attorney- ie Since we've already learned since the Cheshire crimes, that house burglary was not considered a violent or serious felony in this state until just two months ago; And then directly as a result of those assaults and murders, our GA, under public pressure passed a bill making only night time home invasions "serious' felonies. Again, This, because it has been shown that this type of crime is committed by criminals who are willing to resort to violence, and thus murder within the commission of those crimes. Therefore, these, the most serious form of home burglary are the only type of burglary that would constitute the first two felony convictions that could be considered as two of the three strikes triad. Not just any ole burglary- as Mr Kanes statement would have us believe.

Furthermore, I can tell you that if a man starts a bar fight that results in broken ribs ("only")
and doesn't have a history of violent crime on his record, there is little chance that he will get convicted of felony assault in this state-- That is, if he is even charged with assault in the second degree, which is dubious, and Ill tackle that in a moment...

According to a former head prosecutor at Ga2 in Bridgeport Connecticut, in order for a felony assault to "stick" ie a conviction to be made (once the police have arrested and charged a person with such) the ownice is upon the victim to prove that he or she is permanently damaged by the injury sustained within that attack--permanently damaged.

Now I personally could find no such legal precedent anywhere in writing, regarding our Connecticut statutes on criminal assault charges in the 2nd or first degree, the two felonious versions of assault (assault in the first being with a deadly weapon.) So, I can only suppose that this is an unwritten prosecutorial "guideline" and perhaps exclusive to the prosecutors at Ga2 for that matter. In addition, depending on the jurisdiction and thus the responding Police dept on this bar fight scene, most likely this crime would result in an assault in the third charge which is a misdemeanor-not a felony and therefore not a candidate charge for the three strikes situation in any event.

But lets say, for sake of argument that somehow the police decided that the intent was serious physical harm to the victim within that broken rib bar fight --And, that there was a corresponding record of medical treatment and diagnosis that backed up a "serious" injury to this victims ribs. And Thus, the police did charge the attacker with the more serious- felony assault two.
When that charge gets to the courts, it is almost certain to be dropped right down to either a misdemeanor assault three within a plea deal, or very conceivably nolled altogether- the latter if that defendant has no history of violent crime or any "substantial" criminal record.
Substantial excludes conviction for crimes such as check forgery or D.U.I . A "Nollie" involves a criminal record becoming eradicated after 13 months if the defendant commits no other crimes within that 13 month period. If they do commit another crime they can be re-sentenced for the first a.r'd one.

It should also be mentioned that there is the a chance that this theoretical charge of assault could be dropped completely or the defendant given accelerated rehabilitation' if it is charged or decided by the prosecutor to be a non- felony assault- A.R is a sentencing program in Connecticut which is used for 1st time offenders and results in a sealed record for the defendant, whereby those charges may not ever be used against he/she in future court proceedings- if and when he breaks the law again.

So if this is the best argument that states attorney Kane could come up with as to why he feels that a three strikes sentencing law is not a good idea for prosecutors then I'd say that his argument does not have much merit.

The fight for a three strikes is not over; This legislative session is not over until early May and as the story linked to the previous Post explains, the last vote was 16 to 25 against, with the GA'S Republicans promising to attach the bill onto another one if need be, in order to force a re-vote.

We, the public-and our like minded legislators should use this time to band together and to avail ourselves of every bit of information we can garner about this kind of sentencing law.
Our leaders may then fine- tailor a state version that addresses and remedies any legitimate pitfalls that are being cited as roadblocks to this bills passage. As well, be readied to give sound intelligent response to the various invalid reasons being presented for not passing this bill.

This state must pass a viable Repeat violent offender law-one that is actually going to be used, not sit on the shelf gathering dust, as the one that is currently on the books seems to be doing. The law needs to be applied consistantly-not on a whim, with perhaps the ownice on a judge, as to why an exception should be be made in a particlular criminal case, where it doesnt serve Justice.

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