This latest soapbox of Mike Lawlor is rather puzzling to me, the general public has known about the obscene amount of money being spent on Joshua komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes,' (defendents in the Petit murders) for many months now indeed there have been a myriad of articles in mainstream publications citing the maddening details of those costs since mid-August. Yet, Lawlor, a well known assemblyman and vice chair of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee, chooses now to seize upon all of this and be publically outraged.
It certainly would seem like yet another politically motivated opportunity to inject himself, in a favorable fashion, into the fray of the state's hotly debated criminal justice issue.
An aside; To give you an example of just how far he is willing to go to mislead the public and ride the political wave de jour; In One of his recent election time mailers it stated that he was, among other things , "the author of a brand new three strikes legislation" for the state of
Connecticut. This after he has pontificated ad nauseum, for a solid year, that a three strikes law a)"wouldn't have prevented the Petit crimes anyway",
b) would not be used by prosecutors even If passed ..
And c) is in fact just a political gimmick of house republicans to appear tough on crime in the wake of the Petit Crimes hysteria and court scrutiny.
lawlor also voted against the bills passage a total of three times and even more importantly influenced a great many other legislators in voting against it.
He was also quoted within an interview as saying that all the attention that was being given Connecticut's criminal judicial system after the Petit crimes was ill placed and that "our judicial system works pretty well." The inference was that The Petit crimes and the other two murders that occurred within that same short time period in 07, eac one committed by paroled repeat offenders who were given lenient plea deals,were isolated incidents .
Now its one thing to be a politician in the worst sense of the word, when it comes to more innocuous issues like taxes and such, but this is far too important. How we decide to handle Violent criminals in this state will directly effect how many more innocent lives are snuffed out, and others maimed. Persistant violent offenders are people who repeatedly inflict terror and brutality upon vulnerable human beings, often leaving a veritable trail of broken bodies and broken lives in their wake. This is what the three strikes issue is about.
Its too easy for politicians and laypeople alike, to gloss over the awful reality of violent crime with words like "tragedy" "persistent offender' "home invasion" and even "three strikes law".
These words make more antiseptic and palatable, the terror and pain that is violent crime, They help people to distance themselves emotionally from the human suffering that is at the core of this entire discussion.
I propose that we ask and expect more from our public servants, our presumed leaders and lawmakers; They should not be allowed to squirm away from the cost of thier actions or inaction regarding this issue- this currency is human lives. I daresay, as lawmakers they will never have a more important task.
The worst part of this is that Mr Lawlor clearly has the intelligence, the leadership skills, and the political influence to do right by the people of Connecticut regarding this critical issue.- I can only hope that he is comprising a New years resolution list that includes less posturing and
photo-ops and more empathy and intelligent action on behalf of victims of violent crime in this state, past, present and future. Fixed and Consistent sentencing will serve as a deterrent for all violent crime as well as insurance that violent offenders are kept in prison where they may not continue to violate, maim and kill .