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.