Nov 27, 2008

An Effort to Integrate Crime Data in Conn Gets a Chief -

Good news; a new chief has been appointed to head up the States brand new centralized criminal data base.

The database was conceived of and passed into legislation during last years emergency session called over the states criminal judicial crisis-The sessions were a direct outgrowth of several murders that occurred over a short time span in the second half of 2007. In each case the crimes were committed by recent parolees, all of whom had lengthy criminal records, were given plea deals that involved reduced prison time and charges, and then in some instances paroled after less than half of their already- reduced sentences.

Although there were clearly several missteps in the judicial handling of nearly every one of the criminals involved in these crimes, lack of communication between the states various judicial arms was a central theme.

Many state residents have been waiting to see the myriad of criminal/ judicial changes that were voted into legislation last year, become a reality. Among these, a new parole board, which was to include at least one full time criminal psychologist, as well as monies allocated for the hiring of new prosecutors, and presumably the re-training of existing ones.

This last reform is of critical importance and needs clearer clarification for the people of this state; The wording of the bill was extremely vague, especially considering the amount of money that was involved. Ie When the bill was first proposed it was to be for the hiring of more prosecutors period-the logic being that our courts were going to be trying more criminal cases in the future and plea bargaining less-this as information re the states inordinately high percentage of plea bargaining -96 percent of all criminal cases) came to light after the home invasions and murders in Cheshire and new Britain.Since is original inception however, I have seen the verbage of this bill twisted this way and that until one can no longer be certain exactly what those monies, specifically 600,000, is allocated to.

One thing remains clear and that is that we, the conscientious citizens of this state must keep a vigilant eye on the legislature and our courts for the practical application of each and every bill that was passed in the wake of last years tragic murders. The price paid for these measures were human lives and suffering. This includes the so called persistent offender bill that was passed in lieu of a public backed true three strikes bill; I have seen virtually nothing insofar as any data gathered regarding how -and indeed if, our courts are implementing this critical piece of new legislature. I hope this law is not rendered merely another phantom bill passed in what we can presume is good faith by the house, with no actual usability in our recalcitrant Connecticut courts.

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