Aug 7, 2010

Death Penalty Divides Candidates in Connecticut

Connecticut residents: Please be sure to vote for the candidate that supports the Death Penalty within your local primary on August 10th. If you are unsure of the candidates position on this key issue, go to their official web-sites and/ or call the candidates office base and ask the office directly "Does ____________(the candidate) support the death penalty? Does he or she support abolishment?

The information can also be found on the web with a little research- In the case of the Govornors seat, a key question is will the candidate for Governor veto a death penalty abolishment bill if the Ct legislature were to pass it again? Ned Lamont running for the Governor for example, has stated that he would not veto an abolishment if it were once again passed by the legsilature.

For those of you who have bot been following this issue closely, please recall that a Death Penalty abolishment bill very quietly originated in the Connecticut Judiciary Committee last year and was pushed through to the Connecticut General Assembly from there.

With little fanfare or advanced media coverage, the controversial bill was seemingly slipped by the somewhat stunned Connecticut citizenry and voted on by The Connecticut General Assembly, where it surprisingly pass muster, garnering enough yes votes to proceed to the floor of the Connecticut Senate.

Although both the Connecticut House of Representatives and the Senate are largely Democratic, few people , myself included, ever expected a death Penalty abolishment Bill to pass in the Senate - thoughtfulness commonsense and intelligence has historically been in much more abundance here than within the General Assembly.

But in the end count far too many members of The Connecticut Senate would ultimately surprise and greatly disappoint the Connecticut public, casting a yes vote to abolish the death penalty in the state of Connecticut.

The surreptitiousness surrounding the introduction of the bill was not a surprise; the timing of a bill to abolish the death penalty seemed nothing short of obscene. There had been a protracted climate of tougher on crime attitude prevailing within the state which had begun after a series of seemingly avoidable multiple murders that all started with the Petit family home invasion in July 2007:

Jennifer hawker Petit 48 and daughters Hayley and Michaela were kidnapped assaulted and murdered in their own home by two recently paroled felons both with long criminal records that defied the very notion of early parole.
Only the girls father, Dr William Petit escaped and survived severely beaten in the head with a baseball bat and left tied up in the basement while the men terrorized and sexually assaulted Mrs Petit and at least one of her daughters.

Police apprehended the men as they fled the home which they had just set on fire in order to kill the two girls who they had tied to their beds and Mrs Petits body who had been sexually assaulted and then strangled.

Neither man in retrospect should have ever been granted early release parole-yet the Connecticut parole board had done just that paroling each man 4 months apart, without either one physically present- as was the standard parole custom at the time. Most reprehensible to Connecticut residents was the fact that the decision to parole the men has been made without the bulk of either mans criminal history to guide them in their decision.

The Connecticut public was to discover that this was not an anomaly; reportedly, conflicts over who would pay copying costs for the inmates criminal records between states attorneys offices and the Parole board had resulted in the board making life and death decisions over paroling offenders, without the benefit of most or in some cases- any- of their criminal records/files.

In the case of Joshua Komsiarjevsky, the man who targeted Mrs Petit and her 11 yr old daughter for the crimes, the board paroled him with little more than his last arrest sheet. Komsiarjevsky had been arrested for over 40 house break ins (though only 27 felony convictions officially resulted on his record thanks to the states plea bargain model of crime resolution) The break- ins almost all occurred at night when the home owners were in the home. Komsiarjevsky would later brag that he considered breaking in when noone was home "too boring" and referred to his house robbery/home invasions a form of "extreme sport"

He was paroled after considerably less than half of the sentence that the presiding judge had carefully constructed at his last suntanning hearing. If one didnt count his time at a half way house which is hardly prison, it was less than a third.

After reviewing the multitude and seriousness of komisrajevskys break ins, the judge gave very specific instructions re his sentence which was to include a 9 year prison term and six years of special condition parole. He was in a halfway house after 2 and a half years in prison- (which he spent isolated from the general population due to reported threats from other inmates")

The unusually conscientious judge elaborated about the serious nature of the crimes that this man had committed and the unique potenmtial for violence that he posed to the Connecticut public" He had intended Komisarjevsky to quote "finish with the department of corrections by the time you are 35 years old" "if" he added "you use this as an opportunity to start your life over"
None of the sentencing report containing these admonishments and directives were in the parole boards possession at any time.

He was 27 years old the weekend his dept of corrections tracking ankle bracelet was removed after 3 months. That very evening he was breaking in to homes in his hometown of cheshire, this time with a pal he had met at a hartford halfway house steven hayes. Two days later, Mrs Petit and her children were dead and Dr. William Petit lay in an area hospital having lost his family, his home and all of his belongings. A gifted endocrinologist he has not practiced medicine since the crimes.

Please use your votes intelligently. Find out where your candidates stand on this most crucial of issues and vote accordingly.


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