Dec 31, 2009

An In-State Treatment Facility For Registered Sex Offenders Still Just A Pipe Dream -

This article about a chronic sex offender that was recently released from prison is a perfect example of why a strict persistent offender law is desperately needed in this state.

While some members of The Connecticut judiciary committee would have us believe that Connecticut has a persistent offender law, from a practical standpoint it is not being utilized and therefore it is not legitimate.
The offender cited within this article, despite having shown himself to be a dangerous sexual predator, was given chance upon chance upon chance by Connecticuts court system -- Not only did "RE-OFFEND" as it appears on paper, but as is the inherent danger of such ill conceived "chances" he went on to assault a multitude of new victims after each and every release- And these are the ones we know about thus far: Experience has shown law enforcement that for each rape or murder a predator is caught committing, there are usually several others that he/she has not been caught for and may VERY WELL never be.

Some Connecticut legislators believe that a re-entry program for sex offenders is the answer, the missing link if you will,to our ever- burgeoning "recidivism problem"---- I cant help but wonder if either they or thier loved ones were to be the next victim of just such a chronic offender, if they'd still feel that a program of this sort was the answer or enforcement of the maximum sentence allowed by law for this or any violent crime?

I don't know if the attitude that permeates our legislative body can be explained simply by the old liberal knee jerk response to most social ails, including crime, whereby they would seem to believe is a direct result of the age old disparity of income and education between the haves and the have nots

This upper middle class guilt syndrome seems even more accentuated when it comes to issues like crime and punishment... or "rehabilataion" as they would have it
It seems that the whole issue of crime would seem to pluck at some innate guilt strings that the "privileged" or educated, assume (The best part of all of this is that I am in fact a registered democrat, but insofar as the issue of crime I part ways drastically with my left compatriots. Of course the basic premise behind this often includes the naive notion that all evil acts can be explained by poverty, abusive childhoods, neglect, uncaring society, racism, etc etc etc.
Unfortunately reality is simply not nearly so facile; There are are a fair percentage of sociopaths that find themselves incarcerated in our Connecticut jails and prisons and no matter what is done to "help "them, they are going to hurt others again and again given the chance.
And with each crime that they commit, any last vestiges of conscience that they might have once possessed-are quickly abandoned. And it is often the weakest of our citizens that suffer again and again at their hands Children, women, the elderly.

It is long overdue for the state and its people to collectively address the life and death issue of crime and justice. And like any other restructuring project we must start with basic awareness and education; Many people feel that they don't know enough about the issue to affect a change; They simply don't know where to begin and though they might have the best of intentions as well the desire to see productive change in our judicial system, they haven't a clue how to go about it-and thus regrettably, they do nothing.
But they don't feel good about it.

The good news is that its never too late to learn about the machinations of our state legislature-How laws are created and put into effect is something that a lot of otherwise intelligent people are surprisingly ignorant about. unfortunately with the amount of corruption in our states political history it is easy to understand why so many people become complacent about all matters politica; especially on the state level-
With a small investment of time and energy one can easily learn all there is to know about state government and the judiciary. Once we understand how the process is supposed to work then we can explore how it really works and therein usually lies most of our State's problems. In theory our justice system works well, but watch the daily dockets of our cities busiest courts and youll see another story;

The Next step might be organizing like minded neighbors friends family usimg the collective will of the people as a vehicle for change. Like minded needn't equate with sharing the same political views; The issue of crime and public safety should transcend political parties; We all want our families and loved ones to be safe- This is a universal desire and indeed a right, and to that end we must direct our efforts.

Our state legislators are voted in; ASSEMBLYMEN Selectman and Senators, If you don't like the way that your town or city's Representative has voted on bills concerning crime, do not vote for that person in the next election-simple- right?

All sessions ( meetings ) of the Connecticut General Assembly both regular and special sessions-are currently televised on Connecticut's own cable channel - As such, its now possible to keep track of our town and city reps and senators in real time.

Watch the next legislative session, find out what your assemblyman's history has been regarding his/her votes on all bills pertaining to crime, The voting records for all members of the house and the senate can be found online at the State of Connecticut General Assembly website, usually posted within 48 hrs of a given vote. While this is useful information, it doesnt substitute for watching the sessions as they unfold on tv, as well as the subsequent votes; You'll get a much better picture of which legislators are influential which ones dont know what they're doing and who stands where and why. Once you understand the process of lawmaking, you will undoubtedly want to be more involved; Historically organized Citizen action groups have been largely responsible for the advent of a great deal of important new crime legislation such as Megans law, Jessisca's law, and the original california based Three strikes law-several of these laws began as grassroots efforts by family and friends of murdered children. The key is to learn from the past; We dont have to wait until a brutal crime occurs to take action;
the proposed three strikes legislation in Connecticut was a classic example of this. Unfortunately the bill was voted down by Connecticuts largely democratic house of represntatives last year, however several republican legislators have vowed to pick up the baton and reintroduce it in this years session. The more public involvemnt with such bills the more likely they are to become laws.

Do not accept mere lip service from your towns reps re thier stance on crime; many of our current legislators HAVE claimed to be "tough on crime" when they were running for office or re-election, when in reality time after time they voted against bills that would keep violent offenders in prison for longer amounts of time, or they squash these bills before the bill can even make it to the floor for a vote.

Last year in the wake of the Petit FAMILY murders in Cheshire,our Ct Judiciary committee saw fit to pass a bill to abolish the Death Penalty. Despite a public poll that showed a clear pro death penalty choice by Connecticuts residents, The bill managed to narrowly pass muster in both the house and the Senate. If not for Governor Rell's courageous veto of that bill, the death penalty would no longer be viable in the state of Connecticut; In its place, life in prison with no parole would become Connecticut's idea of capital punishment. Most Ct citizens dont realize just how close we came to a criminal/judicial crisis via this proposed Bill.

The reasoning given for the abolishment bill was money. The whole country was in economic crisis as was the state and our judiciary committe thoughtfully came up with the ingenious idea that The state could save lots of money by abolishing the death penalty because built into the states death penalty is an unwieldy automatic appeals process which is extremely time consumptive and costly to the state. (Never mind fixing the problem, lets just eradicate the entire issue. )

There are virtually no limits as to the amount of appeals a death row inmate can file with the courts, thereby creating a virtual endless supply of administrative delays to any actual execution, which by the way, have been so scarce in Connecticut that the last man put to death had to literally sue the state to do so. But thats another story for another day....

Woman, 20, killed in Greenwich murder

This is so utterly horrible and senseless -It breaks my heart and makes my blood boil simultaneously
Why is it that in half of these domestic violence "murder/ suicides" , where a male is invariably the perpetrator, the suicide is unsuccessful but the murder is not? These cowards always manage to successfully murder ( murder being the ultimate control of a person via taking their life) the object of their hate/lust or obsession, and yet they botch the part where they " kill themselves" afterwards?

Dec 15, 2009

Lawmakers to hold special session in Hartford

Lets all pay careful attention to whether this upcoming special session effects funding for victim services as well as prison sentences in this state.
There was recently some clandestine legislation snuck through the house (piggy backed onto another bill ) which somehow flew completely below the local press radar-- and The legislation allows for early release "furlough "programs for selected Connecticut inmates- including inmates convicted of so called "lesser" violent crimes; crimes. like assault in the third degree, which on its face may appear to be low level, but when one considers that this charge is only what the person in question wound up convicted of. not not what he/ she was actually charged with and more importantly, committed, then releasing such inmates early becomes a slippery slope indeed. Someone in the general public is now in danger of becoming the "next victim" of this prematurely sprung criminal. Never mind the message that it sends to those who would prey upon others-- Isn't this exactly what happened with the men that committed the Petit family murders in Cheshire? The only difference is semantics - in 2007, the year those terrible crimes happened, the program in question was called "early release program"; it was designed to reduce prison overcrowding and you got it- save money for the state.
The program was halted soon after the Petit murders which brought attention to the dangers inherent with such practices.
Now the state is calling it "early release "furlough": which is in fact a misnomer, as furlough implies a return to the institution at some point in time and as you will note with this program there is no return just a one way ticket out.

After being told that he was being given early release parole in the spring of 2007, Steven hayes, co defendant in the Petit murders, was reportedly incredulous and admitted to friends that he "couldn't believe they were letting him out... but he sure as hell wasn't about to argue with them- ha ha ha. "

Ha ha indeed. As we all know, Hayes, a chronic felon of epic proportions, was given his early release, and he was not shoved out of the prison doors into the "real world" left "hanging" as many members of the Ct legislature would have us believe is the norm and indeed at the root of the states high recidivism rates with newly released prisoners. To which I say- nonsense.

Mr Hayes was helped by the state in obtaining decent paying full time work- incidently fulltime work was a requirement of his parole.

The state further ensured that he had somewhere to live when he left prison, and somewhere that was safe-In his case his mother reportedly gave him yet another chance to start his life again crime free. He was loaned a truck by family members to use for transportation to work and recreation- the latter as it fell within the parameters of his parole agreement which typically requires some kind of curfew and disallows parolees from paling around with other known felons, particularly newly paroled ones when the potential for newly formed criminal alliances is at its greatest. He had counseling available to him in order to help him with the re-adjustment of life from prison to the "normal" lawful workaday world.

But despite all of these tools, assists and opportunities, Steven Hayes chose not to play by the rules like the rest of us and work hard at a job, eventually making more money as experience and time at the job accrued. He chose not to take advantage of the many many fresh starts he was given despite a terrible track record both in and out of prison. Mr Hayes did not want to work for his money-he desired the quick easy money that he could get by robbing others.

And thanks to the states decision to send mr hayes and thousands of other imates to halfway houses after less than a third of already cut short sentences, he now made a new friend with a similar criminal mindset. That friend... johua komisarjevsky.
The two meshed perfectly and no one either in the halfway house or on the outside either family ir friends, discouraged the ill fated union despite the obvious potential for trouble.

Komisarjevsky happen to live in an affluent town among trusting folks that often left their doors unlocked, despite having so much to lose afact that he was quick to share with hayes, a reputed thief of admittedly smaller proportions; supposedly most of hayes smash and grab larcenies were committed to support a crack cocaine habit.
Komisarjevsky was a different species well known by local police since the age of 14, he'd spent his relatively young life setting abandoned buildings on fire and stalking young girls. As he grew older he graduated to perfecting "skills" like advanced breaking and entering a favorite of his was committing break ins while the homeowners were home sleeping in thier beds. He bragged to friends and police that if no-one was home during the robberies it was too boring. This was a missed red flag of grave consequence. There would be many others over the next 14 years or so.

No sooner was komisarjevsky's ankle tracking bracelet removed, then The pair began robbing the nice homes that peppered the well kept streets surrounding komisarjevskys modest childhood home where he still lived with his now elderly parents and his 3 year old daughter borne to an underage girl of 15 (Another red flag missed)

The two men robbed from others who had worked hard for those lovely homes, people who had put the endless hours days and years into a life that perhaps just now was finally beginning to yield the fruits of that sacrifice and labor.
Hayes and komisarjevsky could care less about other peoples hard work- they only saw that others had what they desired and indeed what they believed they deserved. They werent suckers like these people- they didn't have to earn these things- they could simply take them. No matter who paid for it.

And On july 23 2007 At approx 3 am the two broke into The home of Dr William Petit and his wife and 2 daughters, komisarjevsky had spotted Jennifer Petit and her 11 year old daughter Michaela while they were shopping at an area stop and shop earlier that same evening. With a sick plan already hatching in his mind he furtively followed the unsuspecting pair back to thier home.

After sharing his plan with hayes the men purchased an airgun at walmart cutting off its orange tip in order to make it appear more deadly. They brought rope and zipties in order to restrain Mrs Petit and the girls who they planned on sexually assaulting.

By 10 am Jennifer hawke Petit and her two daughters Hayley and Michaela would be murdered. At least two of them would be sexually assaulted and one of them beaten. Dr Petit the lone survivor would be near death from blood loss inflicted by repeated blows of a basball bat-and a town and a state would be mired in shock and grief . The anger would follow.

In the state of Connecticut approxamtely 97% of our criminal cases are disposed of with plea deals This means that there is no trial for these cases. There is instead a deal made between the lawyer for the defendant and the prosecutor assigned to that case; the majority of these deals made in the back rooms and hallways of the courthouse. Many prosecutors are inundated with full daily dockets and to save time and money theyll usually hammer out a deal after a series of monthly hearings, that are really little more than perfuctury protocol.

These plea deals result in lowered charges for the defendant in exchange for a guilty plea to usually substantially lowered charges; This means that charges that are quite serious like violent felonies such as assault in the second degree, winding up through a deal as assault in the third degree or even less ( assault 3 is only a misdemeanor). Or, sexual assault in the third degree involving a child could easily wind up as risk of injury to a minor. And This is assuming the police did thier work well and wrote up a good warrant did not violate any of the defendents rights and that case is relatively strong-- If not the charge (S) may be dismissed outright for " lack of evidence." or any number of other reasons.

Another daily standard practice in our Connecticut courts is the dropping of charges entirely within cases that have multiple charges- ie A defendant might have committed 4 serious charges, yet via the plea deal hell walk away with a conviction" for maybe two of those charges, and remember those charges will usually be lowered charges, at that.

This is all done in the name of judicial compromise mostly for expedience sake. And this doesn't happen in one hearing mind you, the average time frame for the ultimate resolution of a criminal case here in Connecticut is 6 -9 months. The norm is a hearing on the case transpires approx once a month, and it is "continued" until the next court date. This is a means of clearing the docket for the day and in effect procrastinating for the prosecutor and bulking up the defendants bill for the attorneys- lawyers are paid by time and court appearances are billed higher thus each time a hearing is "continued "he/she must show up with his client in front of the judge and the prosecutor, who has usually been talking with the lawyer behind closed doors or on the phone re the case and the general facts involved, announces to the judge that the defense is asking for a continuance while they sort out the facts of the case.

Pretty much Without fail the judge usually gives the prosecutor whatever they re asking for insofar as time and the same with any deal that the prosecutor eventually presents to the judge. Once in a while youll get a tough judge who will override prosecutors, and refuse plea deals that seem too liberal, espcieally for violent crime such as domestic violence and crimes against children.

While this might be acceptable for motor vehicle charges and non- violent drug charges and the like, it is another story altogether when extended to those who commit violent felony's., remember it takes alot to be charged with a violent felony in the first place-For example In the instance of assault two one must severely injure another human being in order for police to charge someone with this crime.

This charge would not result from your typical bar fight nor even your "average" domestic violence incident where someone has struck another person with a fist-these acts would in all liklihood result in an assault 3 charge. which is a misdemeanor- And then accordingly plead down from there to either nothing in a "Nollie," or Accelerated rehabilitation-a ct program for first time offenders which erases the criminal record after a year of compliance. The worst case scenario would be that this offender might receive a lesser charge in a plea deal something like reckless endangerment, that is if they have been convicted in the past of another violent crime.

One can easily see that our states court system already affords too many chances to someone who has committed violent crime, the last thing we need was new legislation that in effect gives some of these criminals a get out of jail early card.

Lets Keep a sharp eye on the states legislators within this upcoming session, and every session for that matter. All sessions are now televised on the local Connecticut cable channel. Watch listen and most importantly-vote accordingly when these people come up for reelection. We must be vigilant in letting our lawmakers know that it is no longer acceptable to treat any violent crime cavalierly. Our lives may someday depend on it.

Dec 10, 2009

Delay rejected in Petit Trial

Good news! Last month Steven Hayes's attorneys' asked for a 6 month delay for his trial and today in a hearing in New Haven, the judge said NO.

Thank heavens the good guys finally caught a break, the way this case has proceeded thus far I half expected these guys to get their damn delay; Youll have to Excuse the cynicism but it really seems like the deck has been stacked in favor of the criminals lately but thankfully todays judge had integrity and intelligence and he denied this latest ploy by the defense.

The request was purportedly based upon a book that was recently released about the crimes- the writer apparently met with one of the defendants in the case and indeed based much of the book upon That mans VERSION of the crimes a version which largely implicated the other man insofar as all of the most serious murder charges...naturally.

btw It has been 2 and half years since these murders happened and neither defendant has even begun jury selection-- We've been reading for months that jury selection for Steven Hayes, would begin in janurary 2010. A request by the prosecutor for simultaneous trials for both men was dropped when it became clear that it would a) likely be denied from the already vociferous defense objections, and
B) If it wasnt denied joint trials could be used later as a reason for a possible mistrial by either defense.
So despite the fact that it would have saved the Petit and Hawke families from having to go through the pain and trauma of rape and murder trial twice...they decided to drop the notion of simultaeneous trials in leui of a gurantee that a guilty verdict will mean a death sentence.

It was bandied about that since one of the defendents decided to meet with a writer for the purposes of writing a book about the crimes while there was still a gag order on the case, then he should be forced to go to trial first
-for the record joshua komisarjevsky the man who basically co authored this disgusting book was scheduled to go to trial after steven hayes, but since he changed the climate surrounding the crimes ie the press media and public interpretation---then its ownly right that he should have to live with the negative effects - discernabile or not.

I agreed with this myself but it would appear that Komisrjevsky once again gotten away with breaking the rules. I suppose if he cannot respect the sanctity of human life we shouldnt expect him to abide by the tenets of the court--it just seems as if there should be a greater penalty for purposely manipulating the jury pool in defiance of a court ordered gag, other than a toothless charge of obstruction of justice" which is what has been proposed for komisrajevsky by mr hayes's attorneys.
After all when your facing multiple capital murder charges are you really going to lose sleep over an obstruction of justice charge-probably not.