Oct 30, 2008

Say No To Violence Against Women

Hey all...
Please visit the above link and read up on this great new International Program for combating violence against women affiliated with the United Nations. You can help by adding your name to the "Say No to Violence Against Women" Campaign.

There are only a few more days left in Domestic Violence Awareness Month dvam.vawnet.org/ so please do your part in raising awareness for this life and death issue!

Oct 24, 2008

Jury foreman for Duncan trial still haunted

This article is a perfect example of just how far reaching each and every violent crime can be.
A few months back I read a different article about one of the Policeman who was called down to the original crime scene at the Groene/Mcckenzie home in Cour de lene idaho.

He was one of the men that found the the bodies of Brenda and Slade Groene and Mark Mchzenzie, each of them brutally murdered by Joseph Duncan 111 a convicted and out on bail sexual predator with a history of violence. That policeman wound up so deeply disturbed by the crimes that he thought to leave the force completely, but instead took four months off in order to find a way to process the evil that he had been witness to.

This most recent story is about the Jury foreman from the second trial for joesph duncan- This trial was for the kidnapping of 8 year old Shasta and her brother, the sexual ccrimes against them and the eventual murder of 9 year old Dylan Groene. Duncan, who pled guilty, was given the death penalty after a 3 hour deliberation.
Many members of the Jury, as well as the media that were in court daily covering the trial, admit to being boldly affected by these crimes. There was video evidence shown in the courtroom of Dylan Groene being abused horribly by Duncan, and anyone who has seen the video relates the same feelings of helpless anguish, terrpr-and yes, furious anger. Anger against not only the man that perpetrated these vile acts, but the system that saw fit to release joseph Duncan so easily despite his dangerous past.
Jury foreman for Duncan trial still haunted

Oct 22, 2008

State-wide support for Three strikes law continues to grow

There will be a news conference held in Bristol tomorrow afternoon covering another official show of support for a State-wide Three strikes law.

Participating will be assemblyman William Hamzy, who strongly supported A three strikes bill in last years legislative sessions, and GA candidate for the 77th district seat, Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
She will be signing an official promise to vote for a meaningful three strikes law for the state if she is elected.
Dr William Petit sole suvivor of last years triple murder in Cheshire will also be in attendence acting on behalf of the Three strike Now coalition http://www.threestrikesnow.com/ a grassroots organization devoted to the passage of a solid three strikes law for Connecticut.

This is a good time to remind every Connecticut resident to pay close attention to your own town Representives and candidates regarding their position concerning both the three strikes bill as well as violent crime in general. ie What is there voting record on any and all bills concerning crime? (And remember to look at past years voting records, not just recent election years.)
How did they vote in last years emergency special sessions on crime and the regular session in Jauuary, where many violent crime issues prompted by multiple statewide fatal crimes- were addressed and voted on?
All legislative sessions are now televised live on Connecticuts local cable channel and thus video transcripts are available to the public. Watching them is often an eye opener insofar as how our law makers really operate.

I suggest that as conscientious citizens, we use our voting power and our voice to make a strong statement to the leaders of this state That we will no longer tolerate a laissez faire approach to the operation of our Connecticut courts-we simply cannot afford to any longer.

Last year both Governor Rell and several key legislators assured us that the few reforms that were passed were not a quick fix and indeed were" just the beginning"- of a statewide revamping of what is clearly a problematic judicial system.
Lets show our lawmakers that we have not forgotten this promise.
Fitzgerald, Hamzy to back three strikes law

Oct 18, 2008

Petit family campaigns for 3 Strikes Law Redux

One has to be impressed with the Petit family's tenacity insofar as their inexhaustive championing of a three strikes law for the state of Connecticut.

Dr William Petit, as most of us know, lost his wife and two daughters in a violent home invasion that occurred in Cheshire
last July. The two men who committed the murders each had over 20 felony convictions on their individual records, and were both on parole when the murders occurred, one, after serving just over a third of his original sentence!

The older of the two defendants, Steven Hayes, had a history of breaking the terms of his parole each and every time he'd been granted it. He also had numerous write ups in a recent halfway house stint the last of which resulted in his being returned to prison. Three months later he was granted parole nonetheless.

Last year, following the scrutiny of this brutal crime's aftermath, and a subsequent state-wide push for a three strikes sentencing law, there was heard a constant refrain from many democratic legislators (with judiciary committee co-chair Mike lawlor somehow always loudest and always leading the pack ) they claimed that "A three strikes law would not have prevented the Petit crimes from happening anyway had it been in existence at the time !" Albeit a moot point in the grand scheme of things, it was still only partly true and misleading at that: The crime of night time home break ins or robbery when the home owner was in the home, was not considered a violent or serious felony prior to the Petit crimes.
Using common sense as a guide, it clearly should have been considering the potential for violence. But as it was, it was a felony that at that time would not qualify as a "strike" under most of the proposed versions of the various three strikes bills bandied about in last years legislative sessions.

This is pertinent because Mr Komisarjevsky, co defendant in the Petit murderers (and considered the probable mastermind of the crimes), had created for himself a specialty of sorts, committing just such break-ins, citing to police that he "didn't get a rush if people weren't home when he broke in' .
He had over 23 convictions across several counties for this type of burglary, almost all of them committed while the homeowner were home and sleeping- nonetheless in Connecticut at least it had been rather recklessly treated as a lower level non-violent felony, despite all of our hard won knowledge regarding criminal psychology and the evolution of predators.

After the Petit crimes the Connecticut General Assembly was prompted to create a new crime of "home invasion " ,which they defined as any residential break in that is committed at night, a time when presumably most people are in their homes, the thinking being that this increases
the likelihood of a confrontation and the potential for violence and loss of life is thus very high.

Many people, including myself, were very disappointed that Connecticut legislators did not see fit to re-categorize all break ins as home invasions, This would have automatically qualified any illegal break in into our home as a class b (ie violent) felony, which had the duofold benefit of carrying the accompanying severe prison sentence as well as qualifying as a strike under the sates repeat offender law.. This would make a clear statement that our homes are sacred and off limits and if you break into a home for self preservation we will have to consider your motive as being the most sinister; rape murder assault.or all of these.
At the very least as a compromise the state could have designated any home break that occurs at night or when the resident is in the home, as an automatic home invasion/class b violent felony.

All of this simply follows the logic that many folks do not work a 9 to 5 schedule, including third shift employees, stay at home moms and other such retired residents .This adds up to plenty of innocent people being in their homes during daylight hours. Despite several versions of the home invasion law that did include similar provisions, the nighttime version was the one that passed muster.

And as if the universe were conspiring to send just such a terrible message- just months after all of the legislative wrangling, a fatal daytime home invasion occurred in a middle class suburb of New Britain ; Two elderly women enjoying an after church brunch were home invaded,robbed and one shot in her head and left for dead. The second woman was then abducted by the intruder who had just shot her friend, she was sexually assaulted and then shot herself, her body dumped in some bushes some 20 miles from her home.
The home invader/ murderer..? A newly paroled felon with a criminal history that included
a sexual assault of a 10 year old child. Another Predator on parole.

Now bear in mind that A three strikes proposal calls for SEVERE life sentence after a third violent felony conviction . A conviction is not an arrest or a charge, And yes there is a big distinction; The average number of crimes actually committed by a defendant before he/she is actually convicted of one, is ridiculously high in our state, this is largely due to the inordinately high number of plea bargains, Nollie's and dropped cases in so many Connecticut courts.
There are an inordinate amount of what amounts to "freebie" crimes that simply fall by the wayside within what has become Connecticut's administrative processing of, rather than adjudication of, even our most serious crimes.

Case in point: Joshua Komsiarjevsky was convicted for over 22 home break ins/ robberies,
most of which, as I mentioned, were committed while the unsuspecting home owner was in the home- a dangerous scenario indeed. !
His eventual plea deal involved dropping outright a total of 14 charges within the "deals" that he was given. An entire crime spree in one separate jurisdiction was dropped and he was given "time served" for that succession of robberies, this for the short time that he was in jail awaiting trial on a separate set of break-ins.

This same offender was also given a number of breaks by various police departments who handled his multiple arrests and the drawing up of his warrants; They could have easily charged him with several other crimes within his robbery sprees, serious crimes, such as stalking, To which he freely admitted doing with his robbery targets, prior to breaking in to their home. He sometimes even used tools which hed ordered on the Internet, such as night vision goggles in order to watch his targets from their own yards.
Yet possibly due to his young age or perhaps his families roots within the community, this offender was not even charged with every crime that he actually committed and was given big breaks all the way from his arrests to his plea deals in court to his prison sentences, and eventual early parole- A parole that was clearly ill advised, not just in hindsight due to the Petit murders, but based upon the fact that it was approved by the Connecticut parole board with a scant amount of his criminal history files or sentencing reports-oversights that were not exclusive to this case,we were to learn in the wake of the Cheshire crimes.
It had been going on for years and indeed had become the status quo.

Three people are now dead as a result of the many criminal/ judicial leniency's and oversights, most of which would seem built- in to our present Connecticut judicial system.
However there are many other victims of this very same system, this set of crimes were just so glaringly over the top brutality-wise that they begged us all to peer into the system that allowed it to happen. What we found was preposterous.

As such, no one can blame the lone survivor of these murders, a man who not only lost his family, but was assaulted so severely himself, that he nearly died---for trying to spearhead a better more rigid sentencing system for our state? A system not built around a revolving door for dangerous repeat offenders to brutalize more people, destroy more lives.
It is too late for Dr Petits wife and daughters but it is not too late for the many others who will be victims if nothing changes.

For concerned citizens who would like to support a three strikes sentencing law, or at least
find out more about it, Please follow this link, read the accompanying info and hopefully add your name to the list of supporters.www.threestrikesnow.com/


Oct 11, 2008

A heartbreaking memorial video

This link will bring you to a terribly sad video but I suggest that you watch it nonetheless.
It is a tribute to the many children who were abducted and murdered in the United states in past several years. It is obviously heartbreaking, but also extremely sobering -to be faced with one beautiful little face after the next, each one sharing a terrible fate; Their innocent lives were all snuffed out by violent predators, many of whom had prior criminal histories but were given light sentences which in turn placed them squarely in the path of our children.

After watching this video I suggest that you take the inevitable heartbreak that you'll feel and put it to good use; Make a commitment to all children as well as yourself to take positive action this year towards the abolition of crimes against children.

You can start with your own home-state, by working toward any and all criminal /Judicial reforms that are necessary in insuring that all crimes against children are prosecuted responsibly and severely.

Many of you will say to yourselves 'of course I want to protect our kids... but how would I even begin such an endeavour-I know nothing about our courts and prison system.?'
You will need to first do some investigating into your states current laws and sentencing practices regarding both violent crime in general, and all crimes against children This means finding out what is actually being carried out in your states courts, not simply what laws are on the books. Many times, special sentencing laws exist in states which allow prosecutors to impose stricter prison terms for potentially dangerous or repeat predators, but they are rarely if ever.

This needs to stop, and the first step towards this end would be acquainting oneself with your state's particular weaknesses and strengths re violent crime and crimes against children; This includes sentencing guidelines and actual procedure, minimum sentencing and very importantly, parole procedure both formal and actual, bail policies, IE do minimums exist and what are average bail amounts imposed for violent crime and crimes involving children, and remember These two groups of crimes are usually handled in a like fashion.

Be certain to include statistics for so called "lesser" crimes that have historically been treated in some courts as " nuisance "crimes, despite reams of profiling research that clearly proves that these "lesser" crimes are very often criminal precursors to later abductions, sexual assaults, and murder. In effect they are red flags for our courts for marking potential predators.

Crimes such as exposing oneself to a minor, sexual molestation without "actual rape" or penetration, or molestation not accompanied by violence, These types of crimes until very recently have been treated as lower level classes of crime by many many courts, often leading to tragic consequences for children who are then unnecessarily exposed to repeat offenders who have been already caught and thus within the grasp of our system through out varying stages of their criminal evolution.

Joseph Duncan was one such predator; He was in fact bailed out and on the lam for one such "annoyance" type crime when he decided to go on his now infamous murderous rampage in Coure de lene Idaho, where he eventually killed an entire family ;Brenda Groene, mother if 3, her fiance Mark McKenzie and their 13 year old son were all bludgeoned to death with a framing hammer in their own home in order to kidnap the two youngest children for sadistic pedophilia.
he ultimately killed one of the two children, sweet faced Dylan Greene, then was caught by police with 8 year old Shasta still alive, tho the lone survivor of what turned out to be the most horrific set of crimes against children ever within this century.

Duncan's bail amount for his latest run- in with the law was set at a ridiculous 15,000 dollars by an inept or lazy- prosecutor, despite multiple felony convictions on his record all committed when he was only 17 years of age for what turned out to be the kidnap, rape and torture of a much younger boy at gunpoint!

Thankfully Duncan served the full sentence possible for that crime, as once in custody, the state of Washington recognized his potential for further violence and responsibly did their absolute best to keep him institutionalized for as long as the law would allow: This turned out to be a 20 year prison sentence, during which time he admitted to psychologists that he'd actually raped a total of 16 boys by the time he was 14, although he was never caught for 15 of the rapes.

The subsequent crime that Duncan was bailed out over involved him pulling down pants of two little boys at a school playground, and videotaping the incident. Fortunately, A nearby adult saw the commotion and intervened. Duncan fled but was later recognized in a mugshot by witnesses- He was a registered sex offender due to his very first RAPE conviction. Bear in mind too that the entire sex offender registry was the work of a group of tenacious child crime activists, all led by the parents of a murdered child. This system saves hundreds of lives every year and would not be in existence if not for the hard work of some regular citizens like you and I, who cared enough to go the extra mile-for our innocent children...

The judge who took all of the flak for releasing Joseph Duncan on such a low bail amount has stated that he was never made aware of Duncan's criminal past. Knowing how most courts daily dockets run, I would say that this was a failure on the part of the prosecutor, for the judge typically defers to him at all pre-trial hearings, such as Duncan's standard arraignment and bail hearing.
bottom line is that had that court done its job properly, Joseph Duncan would have been immediately recognized as a dangerous repeat offender that was acting out criminally once again on defenseless children And thus, what at first glance could appear to be "just" some park pervert child molester, was in fact a level 3 dangerous SEX offender with a criminal history of kidnapping and rape. Thus it would have been surmised that he was likely attempting to do the same with the little boys that he had tried to molest and film that day.

. Tragically, his past was not known to the court, either because a multi-state criminal record check was not conducted prior to the bail hearing, or worse, it was known to the prosecutor ,and he didn't pass this crucial information to the judge, nor consider it himself when recommending a bail amount.

Note ; a 15,000 bail equates to a 1500 dollar bond via the use of the standard bail bondsman. which is made available at every courthouse to any person charged with a crime. 10 percent of the total bail amount is all that a bondsman asks for up front by the defendant.

The type of crime that Joseph Duncan was arrested for one month before the kidnapping and murders of the Groene family needs to be recognized and treated as the serious "bridge" type crime that it in fact actually is. It is at this point in a child predators criminal career that we need to end that "career" via a zero tolerance policy. This must include bail constraints, rigorous sentencing and complete probation and parole limits for any crimes against children.

We have long known that child predators have extremely high recidivism rates It is high time to apply all of our hard -won knowledge to the practical end of our criminal justice systems, as this is where we are clearly weakest. Please get involved.


Oct 6, 2008

Donate old cell phones for Domestic Violence Awareness month

October is Domestic violence awareness month and this is a great opportunity to become more involved with this important cause.

We know that domestic and partner violence is all around us, the papers and evening news are filled with stories about women who have lost thier lives at the hands of husbands. ex husbands boyfriends and dating partners. Yet many people are still reluctant to talk about the core issue of partner violence and they often dont know what to do when a friend or loved one becomes involved in a potentially abusive relationship.

The numbers of teenage girls who report having been physically abused in some form or another within thier dating relationships, is at a record high. For the sake of our youth we must address this issue now and with a vengeance, We simply cannot afford another silent generation of domestic violence victims and those who enable this kind of abuse with thier silence or complacency. Awareness is the very first step towards eradicating partner Violence.; Learn about the signs of an abusive relationship and the personality traits of abusive partners--there are classic warning signs and it is often within the early stages of a relationship that the would be abuser is gauging whether or not his partner will make a "good" victim, consciously or otherwise. .

We want our teenage children and young women to respond in a strong and assertive manner if they finds themself involved with any abusive person-or situation. Remember, there are almost always other signs that precede any actual hands on violence, and this can include verbal abuse, threats, controlling or coercive behavior, and extreme jealousy and possessiveness, which often starts early on within the dating relationship.

In 2006 The national domestic violence hotline and Liz Claiborne combine forces to form a 24 hour national teen dating violence hotline and website for teens and young women and men up to age of 24, who have questions or concerns about abuse within thier reltionships or just want general information for themselves or a friend. This website hotline venture is aptly called http://www.loveisrespect.org/ Have a visit, and look around.

For instructions on Donating your old cell phone(s) follow this link;

Domestic Violence Awareness Month -

Click on this link for lots of information on DV and for more ways to get involved within your community.