Apr 30, 2008

Home invasion Unnerves East Rock neighborhood in New haven

New Haven Independent: Home Invasion Unnerves East Rock

Another violent "home invasion" involving a 55 year old woman in her middle class neighborhood in New Haven. She was tied up and beaten with a bat and her home ransacked and robbed by three young men.

The police arrested one of the three perpetrators the following afternoon, the other two are still at large, although it is being said that the new haven police have been made aware of both of their identities via the assailent/thief arrested.
No word yet regarding any criminal record for the man who was arrested, we only know that he was only 17 years old. Hopefully he will be tried as an adult considering the level of violence against the homeowner, who offered all of her money valuables and her car to the intruders according to the New Haven Police. More as this case develops.

Apr 29, 2008

Bogus version of three strikes passes


Here are the highlights of the crime bill that finally managed to pass the house on Friday last week;

•$5,232,000 for improved supervision of sex offenders who are on probation, including upgraded lie-detector and global positioning system, or GPS, technologies. The money will also be used for truancy prevention and helping officials serve warrants on probation violators.

•$2,147,000 to hire more parole officers and prison guards, along with expanding the use of GPS technology to track criminals who are out on parole.•

$910,000 for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for supportive housing and improving the women's jail-diversion program, among others.

•$681,000 for the Division of Criminal Justice for more prosecutors and better computers.
•$514,000 to hire more employees in the state police department's major crime squad.•
$512,000 for the Public Defender Services Commission for defense lawyers to handle more prosecutions and aid indigent criminals.

Please note the comparative amount of money designated for the adding of more Prosecutors to our Ct courts, this presumably so that we may begin to bring more cases to trial, as opposed to the current rote mode of adjudicating 96 percent of our violent crimes via the plea bargain model. Plea bargains involve dropping down a violent offender's original felony charges, the ones that the police have carefully and responsibly charged him/ her with, and in cases of multple charges some become completely dropped altogther, in the name of the deal" . These deals have historiclly served our Connecticut courts as a quick and easy compromise to avoid trials, save effort and money and still wind up with some kind of conviction on that prosecutors record-Albeit one that is substantially less serious than the crimes that were committed.

ThIs leaves a violent criminal with too light of a sentence for the seriousness of the crimes that he committed as well as a conviction record that does not reflect theseriousness of the violence that he is capable of and indeed has committed in the past! Its a lose lose for the citizens of connecticut in terms of violent criminals.

Plea bargaining is the number one enemy of any repeat offender sentencing bill, even the ones in name only such as was just passed by the Connecticut Legislature. All a prosecutor has to do to get around sentencing A a violent criminal under this the new repeat offender provision, is to simply drop the original charge or charges that qualified as a crime that fell under the persistent offender status, right down a notch or two to one that does not qualify ie sex assault 1 down to sex assault 2 or 3. Assault one or two both violent felonies down to assault three, and even an attempted murder can be dropped down to an assault, a client of mine on juryduty just related a story about,a case he was chosen for wherebythe state chose to plea brgain a case involving a man who was shot in the face down for the attempted murder charge to assault!
And now as in the past, no reason need be given for these kinds of pleas by the prosecutor offering it up.
Runaway plea dealing is the kind of thing that even the democratic chairs of the judiciary committee recently admitted is getting in the way of responsible sentencing in our Conn courts, opotentially leading to tragic consequences, such as the latest home invasion in New Britain last month, as well as the Petit family crimes where if either accused killer there had been convicted of all of the charges against them, they would have been in prison for a substantialy longer amount of time. These are but two case that had the most horrificv outcomes- hundreds of other violent crimes are committed by criminals our of prison too soon due to light sentencing via plea deals within our state every single year.

Approx 600,00 dollars allocated for hiring of new prosecutors equals at best with benefits etc. maybe 6 new additional prosecutors for the entire state of Connecticut! This is not likely to make a ding in our repeat violent crime problem.

And when Considering the amount of monies designated for much less essential things with this same reform package, see above list (See first item ie 7 million dollars for increased tracking of sex criminals etc etc once they leave prison ) only serves to draw glaring attention to the paltriness and unrealistic amount of funds that our legislative body saw fit to designate to something that is clearly at the very nucleus of the violent crime problem. I daresay that these two figures should have been inverted-with the 7 million going to new prosecutors and new public defenders to pick up the increased load that will result when they begin trying more violent crime cases rather than the speedier easier plea bargaining that they were accustomed to being offered for their clients.

This is a clear example of the seeming dis ingenuousness of some of these regform measures-they would appear to be an ineffective panacea for the Connecticut masses, this during an election year.

In order to make any kind of genuine difference in how our violent crime cases are handled in the future, each court will need at the very least, one more full time prosecutor , with our busier city courts needing 2 or more at minimum to handle what will intially surely be a considerable increase in time spent on each violent crime case that is assigned to them. Trial preparation is time consuming, particularly when done correctly and intelligently. This is what would be needed for any legitimate plan to overhaul our courts handling of all violent crime sentencing.
However I believe that in time as word gets out, these steps will begin to cause a drop in violent crime as common sense dictates that a deterrence factor will slowly take hold. If criminals see that they are definetely going to be put away for a very long time for any violent crime, violent crime will begin to abate in this state.
And for every horrible murder case such as the Petit family's, that Connecticut can prevent from happening via deterrence, we will save millions of dollars on public defender and prosecution fees, all court costs including 24 hour armed guards for the prisoners both in and out of court such as has become necessitated within these higher profile cases, not to metion the basic upkeep of these criminals in prison, as well as the succession of death penalty appeals that follow these kinds of heinous crimes. This is a great deal of money that can be saved by the state of connecticut.

And missing altogether from this reform package was an oversight committee or policing body for our existing and new prosecutors, in order to insure that they are held responsible for the life and death decisions that they choose to make to plea down any criminal's charges that should have been treated under repeat offender sentencing status. If there is no such body, our prosecutors are not going to be accountable in the future for the irresponsible decisions that have come to define our many of our courts sentencing procedure.

Police search for Waterbury man they say killed his 20-year-old girlfriend

The Republican-American Police search for Waterbury man they say killed his 20-year-old girlfriend

Another persistant offender that should have been in prison where he clearly belonged with sexual assault and numerous assault convictions on his record, out and about free to escalate to the next predictable level of crime, murder.
In this case, He has allegedly killed his 2o year old girlfriend. He is still at large...

Apr 25, 2008

Senate bill hikes repeat felon sentences


And on it goes to the house...

You'd think that these guys could put the political agendas aside for the greater good when it involves life and death decisions such as those that are before them right now.
This is probably the single most important thing that any legislator could ever be involved with.
To put it into another light, statistically speaking, their actions or inaction, regarding our states judicial reform will undoubtedly touch them or someone they care about, within their lifetime here in Connecticut,

After the Cheshire assaults and murders, I, along with many other Connecticut citizens implored our lawmakers to take immediate measures to fix the lax sentencing issues that are at the core of so many of the violent crimes committed within the state.
What we got for an answer was a lot of spin rhetoric stating that a 'this law or that law wouldn't have prevented this crime or that crime anyway, and the most infuriating statement of all-"No one in the ct judicial system could have foreseen or prevented what happened in Cheshire". "

I personally recoiled every time I heard a legislator or criminal justice proffesional say something to the effect that 'this crime, was just one crime in the grand scheme of things within this state and ' hey, our system runs fine for the most part and We are talking about spending a lot of money on our criminal justice system over just this one single crime"...
. 'There were also insinuations and sideways accusations by some legislators that they were only being called in for this special session because this murder happened in the suburbs to an affluent family" There were numerous references to the 'elephant in the room" that 'no one is talking about' but in effect they were talking about it, by referencing it so many times.

It turns out the 'the elephant' was the fact that certain legislators felt that the only reason they were even there at this session called by the governor, was the same reason that so much attention was being given to this crime at all; affluence and yes, there was also an implication that race-ie Caucasian- was part of the motivation behind the entire push by our government to fix whatever was wrong with our system, that allowed this crime to happen.

Within this same session, The appropriations committee co chair, who happened to be African American, dramatically listed the cost projections for the proposed crime reform bill, which included such things as a full time professional parole board with at least one criminal physcholigist on reserve staff.
With a scolding narrative laced with a disapproving air, heavy throughout the entire lecture, she huffed and puffed about how cost inefficient and unneccesary this crime bill was, along with projected measurements in human lives to match the dollars spent, that would be likely be affected by each of the changes within the reform In other words; how many fewer people will be slaughtered, raped, beaten senseless. battered, kidnapped and molested as a result of each criminal judicial reform within the proposal package.
Her bottomline; not enough lives saved or affected to justify the reform remedies proposed in the bill!

This all took place in a special session of our Connecticut general assembly in January of this year. Three months later, two senior women were made victim of another brutal home invasion which included kidnapping sexual assault murder of an older ill woman and the near fatal gunshot injury sustained by the sole survivor of the ordeal. The defendant in this case; another repeat sex offender who was recently released from prison.

I've got to have a closer look at the actual legislation that did pass the senate, but I can only hope that somewhere in all of it they have addressed the fact that prosecutors can too
easily get around these enhanced repeat offender laws by simply doing what they've been doing way too much of for years now-plea bargaining the charges down, IE so that they do not qualify any longer for the repeat offender sentencing.

For example; a man gets arrested for sexual assault 1 or 2, and stalking 2, the state 0ffers him a deal whereby they drop the stalking completely and drop the assault 2 down to three-no longer qualifying this particular dangerous offender for enhanced sentencing. His conviction record will bear the end result of this deal ie a sexual assault 3, if we're lucky. These are probable outcomes folks I am not pulling these things from the air. In recent years I have formed my own court watch groups and followed many, many cases-this is the norm here in Connecticut.

Ct legislators have not afforded a piece of co-legislation that requires every Connecticut prosecutor who "deals" down felony charges for crimes that originally qualify for repeat offender status-to formally explain on record why they are doing so, and until they do they are rendering this repeat offender legislation near-useless;

We are currently plea bargaining approx 97 percent or more of our criminal cases here in Connecticut. That is a whole lot of serious felonies being routinely dropped down for no other reason than the offender being given a deal to avoid trial, simply to "keep things moving" within our courts. Sure he/she will plead guilty, but guilty to what?--Not the original charges that he/she committed, but instead reduced charges; This means that those charges will be lowered in class, ie from a class b felony to a class C, a felony C to a misdemeanor A and so on and so forth.
And in cases with multiple charges committed within one actionable crime, at least one charge altogether is often dropped, just for the sake of "dealing".

Now bear in mind that many of these prosecutors are going to want to plea most cases rather than prepare for a trial, its easier, faster and they still get paid, no matter how they "resolve" the violent crime on that piece of paper in front of them. Sounds awful yet too often true.

It seems that in too many cases we are unwilling to seriously prosecute in this state, until someone has been killed, and often even then, only if its in a particularly brutal manner. We must become a more evolved people than this!

At the center of serious assault and sexual assault cases are people-people whose bodies and lives have become desecrated by the crimes committed against them. This can and often does include close family members of the victim s as well. This is a huge chain of despair and suffering that is literally wrapping around our state---
What of their justice? Thier rights, thier healing? This lack of justice and thus validation only compounds the emotional and physical damage sustained from the crimes committed against them.

As well the men that commit these crimes almost always escalate to something more serious down the line, needlessly creating more victims, when we the state of Connecticut- had the chance to remove them from law abiding society-and we didn't. We see this over and over again. Our legislators must put a stop to this runaway plea dealing, whatever it takes.

Within this bill that just passed, some money has been allocated for the hiring of more prosecutors, and that's certainly a good start to be sure, because we will clearly need more manpower if we are to be trying more violent crime cases. But as plea bargaining violent crimes is not going to stop, there needs to be something in place that holds our prosecutors accountable for decisions regarding these plea deals for any and all violent crimes.

The trouble is that prosecutors are lawyers and as such, they are experts at rationalizing and blurring the lines of truth. They cannot be allowed to simply proclaim that a particular violent crime case had "weaknesses" and thus plea it down to lesser charges. As well we should be tracking the records
of our prosecutors in each court district. How many cases are they plea bargaining vs trying every year and where their are huge disparities, investigate.

You see, everyone keeps referring to judges discretion, but with a 97 per plea bargaining, it is the prosecutors that offer these deals and then present it to the judge, who usually gives a perfunctory nod. It has been my experience that when a judge does question the resolution of a case with clearly dropped down charges, the prosecutor then "sells it" to the judge. Once in a while you will see a tough judge who is not led by the states attorneys office within that court-even regarding cases that are still in pre-trial. They will simply not allow a plea bargain that involves ultra light or non existent prison sentences.

We need more of these judges, as well as a mechanism that insures one judge hearing one case through from beginning to end. The reason that one judge handling a case throughout the pre-trial process is important is because otherwise the various judges only hear bits of the picture, if that, especially one that comes onto a case months and months after its happened and the prosecutor is already poised to deal it down, then the judge may only hear what the prosecutor wants him/ her to hear regarding that case, ie because if the actual severity of the crimes is clear to the judge, they may very well question the prosecutors judgement regarding a plea decision.

To be continued..

Apr 22, 2008

"Petit case may be in court for years"

I will be posting about this article shortly, but for the moment; Suffice to say that it is a translucent-at best- attempt to inject anti death penalty propaganda, albeit in a seemingly roundabout way, under the skin of the local citizenry using this very painful and brutal set of crimes as the hypodermic.

And once again, what self appointed pundit has insinuated himself into the fray in this rather self serving way.. Why Rep. Mike Lawlor, who else?!


Apr 13, 2008

The "Justice Journal"- Commentary Re Three Strikes Debate

The Following piece was excerpted from the "Versus" section in April's issue of "The Justice Journal", a Connecticut based newspaper dedicated to local Criminal Justice
issues, focusing on public safety and citizen involvement (see previous post for details)

"Deal-Away-a-Crime” System Needs Change
by Laurel O'keefe

This past July, one night of brutal criminal rampage brought to light the desperate need for much needed reform within our state’s criminal justice system;
The abduction, assaults, and eventual murders of three members of the Petit family by two career criminals, have come to stand as representative highlights of the endemic and pervasive flaws within this system.

In response to the growing public demand for criminal sentencing reform, many of our state's legislators would seem to be banging the table with their shoe, amid the hue and cry of their citizens, claiming that a "broad and sweeping" sentencing law, such as "three strikes", would

serve to deprive prosecutors and judges alike of their “discretion” in sentencing defendants of crime
This discretion is empirical, so it is argued, and at all costs must be preserved.

It needs to be clarified that in reality this concern is msotly about prosecutorial discretion; as Practically speaking, criminal judges in this state have very little to do with the actual charges with which most offenders are eventually “convicted” – And the same with their sentences.

That is.. unless there is a trial by judge or jury, and trials are extremely rare; Approximately96 percent of criminal cases in Connecticut never go to trial because they are routinely plea bargained by prosecutors, often resulting in a substantially lesser criminal record and corresponding sentence.

This of course leaves a formal record for the criminal that does not reflect the severity of the crimes that he or she has actually committed. And with few exceptions, Connecticut judges will rarely overrule what a prosecutor has already worked out with the defendant’s lawyer.

This deal -away- a -crime- system wouldn't be so abhorrent if it were limited to non-victim crimes, such as our overburdened motor vehicle dockets, petty larcenies and non-violent drug crimes-the latter in which treatment is often moew appropriate in any event.

Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons, plea bargaining has become standard operating procedure within our Connecticut courts for dealing with violent crimes as well; This includes felony assault, sexual assault, kidnapping and yes, even murder.

A three strikes law or consiatntly utilized persistent offender law for violent offenders is one neccessary component in a multi-prong reformation of our Connecticut’s Judicial system.

There are several three strikes versions successfully being utilized in dfferent states and they do appear to be reducing violent crime if only as serving as a deterrent.
Some of the first broader versions created unforeseen issues, occasionally creating severe sentences for a third strike on a less serious non-violent felony, some of them drug-related and/or motivated.

The argument is made that a three strikes law will result in a disparity of high sentences for minority offenders-This perhaps is an unintended effect of the fact that many repeat minority and low income offenders rely on public defenders, who are either less motivated, adept, or simply lack the pull that an expensive private attorney may have with the local prosecutors office (ie in getting their charges reduced within Plea deals). Ironically, this is another essential reason that one strict sentencing system is needed; to ensure uniformity in sentencing for our states dangerous offenders.

There is no doubt that we must be diligent and meticulous in choosing and crafting our own version of a three strikes bill. We need to use our collective intellects, experience and conscience in devising a bill that makes sense in its practical application.

But there is one thing that I am certain of, as an activist and survivor of violent crime; the main reason that our lawmakers are reluctant to pass a strict sentencing law is the very same reason that it is so desperately needed; Something tangible needs to be stuck in the cogs of our run amok sentencing system.

And while the main argument seems to be that the three strikes bill take away judicial discretion- it is this very “discretion” that has become utterly misused and abused- leading to a system ruled by “discretion” rather than law and accountability.And The reasons for this misuse are many; professional laziness, apathy and cynicism-- cronyism,
favor swapping, and yes, things like directives regarding prison overcrowding. None of which

seem to belong in the sacred place where committed professionals are supposed to be battling the rigors of life and death crime.

The sad truth is that precious few would seem to be battling anything anymore in our Connecticut courthouses, and it is the victims of crime that are paying the heaviest price;

Not only the victims of the endless cases bargained down to next to nothing in viable punishment or culpabilityy, but also the future victims of these same offenders, who, after receiving little to no actual prison time, early parole, or irresponsibly low bail,go right back out, committing more violence, confident that they can depend on the same lackadaisical system which they have become experts at navigating, escalating their crimes, and more human suffering results.

Most of the victims of these countless bargained down” crimes are nameless, and their experiences forever invalidated by the “deal” that belies the reality of the crimes committed against them.

That is, until the next especially atrocious and brutal crime is committed by an irresponsibly paroled, low bailed or under-sentenced repeat offender; And precious lives are once again stolen, and nightmares and pain are what remain for those that survive.

Laurel O'keefe is a survivor of violent crime in Connecticut and writes the blog "Chasing Justice" http://www.chasingnormal.blogspot.com/

The Justice Journal -Three Strikes

Above is a link to the April issue of a newspaper called "The Justice Journal"which this month includes a Commentary piece that I wrote on the three strikes law debate, entitled "Deal-away-a-Crime-system must change'" The editors title choice, not mine)

It isn't possible for me to link directly to the article- because the papers online version is in adobe-acrobat Pdf format, follow the link I've posted to the homepage and then click on "current issue"..Then click on the April 2008 link and this will open up a pdf window to the front page.

The "Versus" section can be clicked to from the page number guide, and it starts on page 3. From there you can read all of the commentaries, beginning with the Republican legislator who is pro-three strikes-Or, you can skip ahead to my piece on page 26 .

The Justice Journal is a Connecticut based print newspaper that is devoted to Prevalent criminal justice issues within the State., with a focus on citizen involvement. They started their
distributuion in fairfied county are currently branching out to New haven county, with Hartford county distribution scheduled early 2009. They presently have an 80,000- paper distribution within the state of connecticut.
Their reporter staff is very impressive for a small free press newspaper, and includes, among others, the likes of Andy Thibault, famous writer and former journalist for The Connecticut Law Review, as well as regular commentary from criminal justice pros like Richard Meehan Jr, a well respected Bridgeport Attorney, author and Court TV consultant. The founder and publisher of the paper Doug Johnston was a top dog at Conde Nast publications and was charged with all of their new start-up ventures for many years. He is a long time Connecticut resident and involved with crime prevention journalism.

The paper can be found in locations where most free press small papers are; grocery stores, libraries, newsstands, as well as Police stations in all counties, including Hartford, New haven
and all State Police offices as well. Apparently, they also send out copies to every member of the Connecticut General Assembly, both houses, which means that some of them actually read it. This was my main impetus for writing the commentary-I hoped to at least plant a seed or two with even one legislator re the experience of crime victims in this state and the lack of prosecutorial conscientiousness that defines too many of our courts.

Now when I was asked to write the commentary I was under the impression that it was going to be their typical Point/counter-point format that was "The Versus" column format for all of the previous issues. ie Two opposing opinions on one subject concerning crime and punishment. Aprils issue had a total of five opinions published-with all but one in favor of three strikes law including a long time legislator in the Conn General assembly. The one opposition was not surprising coming from a member of the "Pardon Project" albeit a rambling and incoherent scolding of the Connecticut populas for threes trikes as well for " painting al criminals with the same brush" ummmm No-just the sociopaths that committ vciolent crimes over and over.

In any event, there is clearly strong feelings among the citizens of Connecticut regarding The whole three strikes issue And this passion is understandable when considering that there has been a veritable outbreak of sexual assaults, home invasions and murders which have stolen the lives of a bunch of innocent humna beings and left others wounded and grieving . And All of these crimes had one thing in common; they were all committed by recently paroled criminals with extensive criminal histories. All of thier previous criminal cases had been resolved via Plea deals.

I encourage everyone to get involved with these important issues in any way that you can. avial yourselves and your children about criminals that prey upon the public. It is a difficult and uncomfortable subject but we must Talk about it.
keep track of our state legislator's positions and voting history regarding all criminal judicial matters-Remember their words and their actions when it comes time for us to to vote for our area legislators. Let them squabble amongst themselves about taxes etc but matters of life and death such as laws and criminal sentencing, these are sacred issues surrounding life itself; bi partisan politics have no place here.

Write your local reps with your concerns and wishes. Organize neighborhood watches and develop a plan for encountering potential violence, both WITHIN your home or outside of it-while in your car for example.

Thank you for reading, be safe be well.

Apr 11, 2008

Death Penalty Possible In Home Invasion Case

Death Penalty Possible In Home Invasion Case -- Social Issues, New Haven County -- Courant.com


The states attorney's office has added Rape, kidnapping and capital murder charges in the Home invasion case in New Britain. I suspected that this was a sex crime once I learned of the abduction and subsequent murder of Mrs Welsh. Once again,violence against women is at the core of another "home invasion", committed by another repeat offender within our state.

The defendant, Leslie Williams was a convicted sex offender, having sexually assaulted a 5 yr old for which he served 8 years in a plea deal arrangement. The prosecutor in that case has since defended that deal which involved lowered charges and thus a more liberal sentence, declaring that the case had had"weaknesses". Here is a link to William's entire criminal history,
www.courant.com/hc-homebox0401.artapr01,0,4175716.story as you can see he is yet another career criminal who was consistently under-prosecuted except perhaps for the 8 year sentence for the sexual assault, which was relatively severe, especially for a plea deal.

Present at williams hearing this week was the family of murdered victim Mrs Welsh , as well as the half sister of the defendant, who offered explanation for her estranged brother's rape, murder and attempted murder rampage; His father was killed violently when he was a young boy by his own stepson, and Leslie reportedly "was never the same" after this.
She also mentioned that he was killing cats as a teenager and that this was obviously a cry for help-which she states he never got.

Knowing what we know about criminal sociopathology, the killing of cats sounds suspiciously like the beginnings of sociopathic behavior, the precursor of which is referred to as "conduct disorder" this, when the onset of symptoms begins prior to the age of 16, according to the Diagnostic statistical manual.
There are several red flags for early sociopathology in teens and children and two of the majors are cruelty towards and/or killing of animals, and fire setting. Another is physical aggression, fighting and a pattern of chronic disregard for rules, and violations of the rights of others.

As a teen develops into an adult, the diagnosis segue ways into anti-social personality disorder, also loosely referred to as a " psychopath".and sociopath which are one and the same. A profound lack of conscience and a highly deceitful and manipulative nature is another part of the constellation of symptoms.

Joshua komisarjevsky, one of the alleged Petit family assailant/killers was arrested for arson at a very young age. And his subsequent multiple break-ins to his neighbors homes starting as a teenager, would certainly qualify for a chronic disregard of rules and rights of others.
According to multiple sources, komisarjevsky was also very articulate, highly manipulative and often deceitful-again all hallmarks of the classic sociopath. This could be one reason that he managed to dupe our already permissive court system into lowered charges and lenient sentences, despite his incredibly high multitude of serious crimes, at such a young age.

As well perhaps how he also managed to ingratiate himself into an open relationship with, by all accounts a very conservative- minister's daughter who was also 6 yrs his junior. And this,despite their knowledge of his criminal past.

Anti-Social personality disorder is not insanity, nor is it a mental disease . It is however highly resistant, if not immune to psychiatric treatment/ and or cognitive therapy.
The level of manipulation which is a hallmark of the disorder, does not lend itself well to treatment. Control is of paramount importance to the sociopath and They have even been known to avail themselves of in depth study regarding psychiatric disorders, prior to any forced or expected- psychiatric evaluation. This in an effort to either draw attention away from, or towards, a more innocuous or more serious diagnosis, whichever benefits their needs and wants within that particular circumstance. They will use behaviors and verbiage that is likely to ensure a predictable and desired diagnosis . These are the more highly evolved and thus most dangerous types of sociopath. They are usually quite adept at avoiding detection, arrest or criminal prosecution, despite having committed many serious crimes against others. (Think of Ted bundy as a classic example of this at work.

This particular personality disorder has been referred to by some psychiatrists and criminal pro filers, as a "disease of the soul" as The normal human conscience that regulates decision and human behavior is overtly shallow- or completely absent, However, when put on the spot or when caught committing an offense, they are not above emulating what they perceive is the expected appropriate human reaction; ie guilt or remorse and or a feigned compassion-
again only if they believe that this will possibly gain them favor or personal benefit. But typically the only remorse that they are capable of, is a remorse over having gotten caught This often includes an open loathing and disdain for their victims, both for "allowing themselves" to become victims, and for causing them-the sociopath- all of this trouble.

It is for all of these reasons that the average human being, and even some experienced legal professionals often do not recognize the sociopath for what he is, as most people cannot fathom such...well, simply put- evil.

Psychologists do not believe that Sociopaths are "made" as the products of upbringing, as Leslie Williams sister alluded to within her statements regarding her brothers unfortunate childhood experiences-If anything this is a disorder more of nature, less of nurture.
A similar inference was made regarding Petit family co-killer Josh Komsarjevsky regarding his alleged sexual molestation as a teen and the discovery that he was adopted at opposed to his parents genetic son.
Tragically, according to statistics there are many children and teens experience sexual abuse within their lifetimes: I personally know many adults who have been so victimized, both through my work and my own circle of friends, As well there are many children who learn that they were adopted, And yet... they do not go out on a hunt at local supermarket stalking and following women and their children to their home, and return later to restrain, assault, and rape them- and then as a final act, murder them all in one of the cruelest, most terror- filled methods imaginable!

And remember that this young man and his accomplice walked among so-called evolved and educated people, and fooled most of them. This evil was brewing beneath the surface all along. Our judicial system had many many chances to diagnose ONE OR BOTH of these men, and keep each one locked away from civilized society for quite a long time. But they didn't.
Instead, they were given one tenth the sentence that the law allowed, and then with further insult they were both paroled- recklessly, with little to none of the essential documentation needed for such an important decision.

As a society of mostly decent people who would like to believe that evil behavior must be the result of hopelessness, lack of opportunity or education-we have an obligation to understand that while this may sometimes be the case, it is a far cry from always the case. That distinction must be made. There is a different type of criminal out there and this one doesn't play by any of the rules that we know and understand as human, and they cannot be "FIXED". This is a disease of core character, not mental illness.

This is why it is imperative that when our judicial system fairly obtains the opportunity to incarcerate this criminal offender for his crimes- hopefully before those crimes involve the loss of life/lives-This is when our courts need to act, not after the 4th or 5th or 20th felony.
Remember, as Voltaire said "Evil exists when Good men do nothing"

Apr 8, 2008

Journal Inquirer > Connecticut has lost any right to be shocked

This was an excellent article by Chris Powell making some very astute points--until the last paragraph where it almost sounds as if he is suggesting that the murderer of a New Britain woman had no choice but to kill someone eventually, that it was inevitable This due to his unfortunate plight in life (having accrued an extensive criminal record, and thus having such limited opportunities ) He even offers a supposition that this man had a fatherless upbringing with little hope in life prior to his first crimes, something that has yet ot be established factually, rendering it a painting of all criminals with the same seemingly guilt ridden broad brush.

Truth be known this article took such a strange and unexpected turn at the end that I was left dumbfounded and asking myself -and Mr Powell-'umm...what is your stance on crime then-That we're too tough or not tough enough?
And while many of us have mixed feelings about crime and inwardly walk that fine line between compassion for the criminal who truly wishes to revamp his life after paying his debt to society, and wanting and needing laws and sentencing that are consistantly imposed, in order in keep the public as safe as possible from becoming victimized by crime, I feel that last few paragraphs go beyond this somewhat natural human ambivalance. But, have a look for yourself.

Journal Inquirer > Chris Powell > Connecticut has lost any right to be shocked

Apr 4, 2008

The Budget Connection

Good article in the Courant regarding budgetary issues connected to the States handling of the judicial crisis.

In Killing's Aftermath, State's Penal System Again hotly debated

Stances over violent crime clash once again between the Governor and high profile house democrats, after another home invasion that ended in murder and severe injury...

Representative Mike Lawlor was uncharacteristically forthcoming re the states problem with plea bargaining within a recent press interview following the home invasion, citing , in effect, that the three strikes law that the governor has been strongly advocating is not the answer, and that she should instead be focusing on the issue that some prosecutors are dropping down criminal charges within plea deals -with the insinuation that this is reckless-and in doing so are dropping down the co-occurring appropriate sentencing for the crimes that were actually committed . IE the case in New Britain involved a criminal just released from an 8 yr sentence for sexually assaulting a child-Rep McDonald and Lawlor both have implied that the prosecutor who made the plea deal with that defendant resulting in the charges being dropped down a level and thus a relatively light sentence imposed. As I have repeatedly stated myself this rote plea bargaining practice put our citizens needlessly at risk constantly in effect, the law abiding public becomes prey for all of these irresponsibly sentenced, potentially dangerous criminals.

My question is, why is this the first time that Representative Lawlor is addressing this longstanding problem within our courts, framed as it was within a defensive retort to Governor Rell's insinuation that the democrats within the Assembly are not tough on crime, in part due to their refusal to pass a strict three strikes bill?

This plea deals with compromised sentences and charges are effected time after time again by our courts after the state has gone through all of the effort of apprehending and arresting the criminal, gathering evidence & witnesses, crafting warrants and carefully building a case.

All of this, only to have the courts squander the opportunity that they've finally been presented with-they've got him dead to rights- a dangerous criminal, and most fortunate to have done so before he or she has caused loss of life; This is when we expect our prosecutors and judges to appropriately convict and sentence and get them off the streets where they can do no more harm.
As as we've seen illustrated by this recent rash of violent crimes, the severity of the crimes committed by these repeat offenders invariably escalates-they rarely move down the criminal food chain. This translates into the the state of connecticut being given a heads up for future lives lost or more violence against innocent citizens being committed-And yet, they continue to throw away this opportunity to prevent future crimes from happening at the hands of these criminals and the cost in human suffering is staggering.

It is really no wonder that so few people want to think about all of this, let alone actively participate in remedying it. But citizens of Connecticut, we must! For if we do not address and remedy this dire situation, it will surely arrive upon our own doorstep (or someone that we love) sooner or later.

I found this very appropos quote last year and although it is somewhat simplistic, I feel that it is most applicable here. I wish I could find out who said it.

" Evil exists when good men do nothing."

Apr 1, 2008

Courts fail to make violent crimes a priority

This Article by Chris Powell in the Stamford times is right-on...

Another deadly home invasion committed by repeat offender

Terrible news today...This past Sunday morning, a 58 yr old woman was murdered and her Friend shot and left for dead in a home invasion that was allegedly committed by a newly released repeat offender.

The suspect broke into an occupied home where the two women were sharing a cup of coffee together. He robbed a small amount of cash proffered by one of the woman who also gave him the keys to her car. The suspect proceeded to shoot one woman and abducted the other, escaping in the stolen car.The kidnapped hostage was later found in some brush just a few miles from the home.

The intruder's criminal record most recently included sexual assault of a minor, for which he received 8 years in prison and was just released. A very upset and clearly angry Governor Rell announced today in effect this is it, the time to act is now' -- referring to the general assembly and their unwillingness to approve a viable three strikes law for repeat offenders. Both the governor and most of the republican legislators are pushing for the law

The issue has grown within the public sphere since the July assaults and murders of three members of the Petit family of Cheshire. When it was uncovered that the two defendants in those murders were both newly paroled chronic offenders, an outcry for state judicial reform began in earnest.
Both men had been paroled, when it was clear that they were not good candidates for such, and one of the men had served less than half his recommended prison sentence. They had over 40 felony convictions between them and this led to a push for a three strikes sentencing law, such as the ones utilized in the states of California and Washington.
Public Rallies were held, massive petitions were signed and the idea was bandied about by our legislators during a special session concerning the Petit crimes and the states entire judicial process.

Several versions, perhaps more than 4, of a three strikes and/or persistent offender law have been proposed and discussed amongst both houses of the general assembly. In January a reform package of sorts was passed by both houses, yet with the overt absence of any three strikes law-this was voted down in a largely democratic split,

Democratic legislator and co-chair of the judiciary committee, Mike Lawlor has been one of the loudest opponents of a three strikes law within the state. He has stated repeatedly that the prosecutors that he has spoken with say that they would never use such a sentencing law.
And this makes perfect sense as evidence keeps pointing to the fact that many of our prosecutors aren't using the sentencing laws that are already available to them-Time after time they are opting instead to systematiclly drop charges down to lesser levels and completely drop other charges altogether within plea-deals, which have clearly become an albotross around the neck of our citizens.

The special session ends in may and we can be certain that this will continue to be a huge issue for the people of this state.