Jan 13, 2011

Rell unsure if she'll OK funding for criminal justice system - GreenwichTime

Although this article is slightly dated, the issues remain, in fact they're even more pressing now that Malloy has actually been inaugurated. I strongly suggest that any Connecticut residents that care about crime and public safety issues, follow up on this core issues of this article.

The article surrounds the criminal/judicial reforms passed by the legislator back in 2008, following the angry public climate surrounding the exposure of our states ineffectual criminal justice system, which had come to light via a handful of murders that all were committed by early released paroled men that should have never been awarded such a privileged. It just so happened that there were three sets of murders that occurred within three month period, as judging from the manner in which our parole system was operating, it was only a matter of time.

 The Petit family assaults and murders and two other sets of murders and murder/ rape combinations, all happened within 5 months of one another. starting in July 07. The Governor put a full moratorium on all parole until the Ct Parole Board and the various judicial arms of the Government could investigate how such obviously poor candidates for parole were paroled and moreover why there were so many issues within our court system that only now were being investigated

After the 2008 legislative session which was to say the least a bit volatile and fingers seemed pointed everywhere, except how to make thing s better, the legislators managed to come up with some reforms and although many were compromises, the one thing that everyone agreed on -  in principle was a new tech- based inter-communication system between various criminal judicial departments. One of the most important elements of this computer based system would have prohibited the Petit family murders from ever happening had it been in existence, even without the expense or complexities of the communication between departments necessarily being computer based. According to Connecticut's lead prosecutor Kevin Kane,  the mistakes and omissions that caused Joshua komisarjevsky, sentenced to 9 years prison and six years of special parole by an adamant Connecticut judge, to be paroled with nary a bit of his criminal history paperwork, had long been a source of conflict between parole board members and the prosecutors offices who had handled the given parolee at sentencing. 

These missing files should have been, and indeed were absolutely and unequivocally a necessity for any parole agent in making responsible  life and death decisions regarding whether or not to parole inmates who were typically already being granted early release parole in the first place - making this purposeful corner cutting even more reprehensible and inexcusable.
This process of early release parole was purportedly designed by no other than the co-chair of the Ct. Judiciary committee, Mike Lawlor, presumably in order to deal with prison overcrowding and to put an end to the somewhat controversial process of shipping inmates to out of state prisons when needed. in Vermont or New Hampshire. 

The controversy" was coming from the inmates and their families because they claimed that moving their relatives to out of state prisons put an unfair drain on their expenses needed in order to visit that inmate.  I am not one hundred percent positive of  how the state determined the parameters for which type of offenders were shipped out of state, but it is my belief that there was a method to the madness so to speak and some type of organized considerations were given to which inmates were shipped albeit temporarily. Again this was cited as a temporary solution rather than the state having to absorb the cost of building new prisons in order to solve overcrowding.

A terrible irony when looking at this entire awful picture is that the Petit family murders were murders just waiting to happen as is evidenced by the fact that not one parole member was admonished formerly let alone fired. And what this shows us is that the Governor herself was made aware that this situation with Joshua komisarjevsky being paroled without sentencing reports-which is the least of it in reality. No one even reads the sentencing reports when they do have them in their possession I have been told by some state personnel very close to the" issues"
I bring up the sentencing report because this is what the media and pres have latched onto and we keep hearing it ad nauseum since the crimes occurred . ie; apparently the parole board that paroled komisarjevsky were not in possession of his latest sentencing transcript where the judge who sentenced him to nine years plus 6 parole called him a cold calculating predator who was a danger to the residents of Connecticut"
Now while this is absolutely true-I read the transcripts and there was even more red flagging done by both the prosecutor who unlike many other Connecticut prosecutors actually seemed to have a modicum of education about criminal forensic psychology and the escalating nature of criminals like komisarjevsky, not to mention just plain common sense; the man had been arrested for two strings" of house break-ins, whereupon in almost every case, he'd stalked the homeowners first -at length, and would only break into the homes at night when the homeowners were home!

This, the very opposite of any typical burglar who goes to great lengths to avoid the homeowners, because their motivation is to procure money or goods-and get out without trouble.
 Komisarjevskys told friends and police that he could only get off ie enjoy the break in if someone were home. This guy's criminal history had so many red flags or precursors for sexual predator/serial killer behavior, and he was only 22 at this point. The prosecutor noted as did the judge that although he came from a "nice" family and had sired a child-his habits of stalking the homeowners and staying in the house while the person was home often sleeping---was predatory and beyond robbery.

His girlfriend manipulatively toted to court as if a prop, ie "see he has a child he is a dad, he cant be all bad and plus...we need him to help in the raising and supporting of this baby'
This little soliloquy Ive fabricated for effect but the child was indeed brought to court, and it wouldn't be the first time that a sociopath used their "parent" status dragging their children to the courtroom within a Birdseye view of the judge or jury etc.  Ive seen it personally be used time and again.  I actually read an article a few years back where a Connecticut prosecutor said that Domestic violence cases should be prosecuted differently, more leniently because the "defendant" could be the main breadwinner" and putting him in prison for any length of time would ultimately hurt the family unit economically" 

I could not believe what I was reading. This was in 2009 and the prosecutor with the misogynist mindset was actually part of a "specialized Domestic violence unit in Bridgeport Connecticut,  one of the first to receive a state or federal grant for a specialized domestic violence "court within a court."   His name  is Kevin Dunn, and it gets worse; within this article, which was entitled the "compassionate prosecutor", something that should signal anyone right off the bat that something is truly akimbo when a" Domestic Violence prosecutor" is being dubbed the so called Compassionate prosecutor" as a title piece.--I mean what does that tell us?

Ironically that's what caught my eye, and when I read on I was as horrified as I was angry and when the article went on describing Mr Dunn's recent promotion was to split his time between "[compassionate prosecuting" and helping train Connecticut's Police force members on how to handle domestic violence calls, including how to write up warrants and determine charges via  seminars and such, well suffice to say some DV and victims rights groups were swiftly made privy.

But I digress.

What I started to say was that Kevin Kane, lead prosecutor for the state and seemingly a very committed and moral seeming man, was very forthcoming regarding the Paperwork/communications issues as they related to Komisrajevsky's and Hayes Parole, had indeed been going on for some time and indeed were in the midst of attempts at addressing possible solutions at the exact time that the brutal Petit home invasion and murders occurred.

There was more involved than what met the eye, which was admittedly bad enough. There were inmates and defendant's records being shipped and warehoused in meriden, when they should have been made to be available to Parole as well as any state police department that might need to access that information on  a given person with a criminal history, particularly if the crimes involved violence or the potential for violence, such as komisarjevsky, and to a lesser degree, even Hayes, who had had multiple charges dropped within plea deals throughout the years that he spent in and out of prison.

There were 2 separate gun charges dropped for example (again another problem with using plea bargains as our main method of what has become "processing crimes" in Connecticut. Once a criminal charge has been dropped completely within a bundle of charges emanating from one episode of criminal act, it disappears in our current way of doing things in this state.  There was also an assault charge dropped and that's again something that is a red flag and should not be dropped in the first place deal or not and secondly if it was it needs to still stay on record that the man committed this crime as it shows a predisposition for future criminal activity. 

Its less essential when dealing with small drug possession charges and the like, and I for one would be happy to handle those types of crimes in a separate court system as they do in California, rehab and treatment is what someone who gets caught buying drugs needs, not to be made into a hardened criminal via our system where money often decides whether you're going to prison or copping a bargain of a plea that will leave you with little or in many cases-no criminal record.

And  here it is, Jan 2011 and Connecticut still does not have the promised computerized intra departmental system that the legislation voted into a bill in 2008. The monies were approved and allocated by the budgetary allocators -  state "bean counters, and it offends my sensibilities when I hear them telling other legislators how few lives will ultimately be affected by installing this or that new criminal justice system or   policy. The bean counters did their best to convince all the house that we cant afford it naysayers, but in the end, so much loss of life had occurred needlessly,
that some kind of drastic change needed to be effected and clearly it would cost money.

 And despite what everyone is saying now it was not restricts to the Petit family murders, within 6 month period, there were two other SETS of severe violent crimes all committed  by recently paroled offenders, one man raped a 68 year old woman who was suffering with cancer! killed her and threw her lifeless body in some bushes. He shot her Friend in the head leaving her for dead but she miraculously survived after Playing dead, and Id'd the man in mugshots.

The women were having having church coffee, in a rural neighborhood when this recent [parolee happened to run out of gas in a stolen car in front of their home. Terrible fate became rape terror and murder on a sun morning coffee date he watched one women enter the home with any unlocked door and he followed her in shooting one of the women for no reason at all, stealing quick small items Dragging  the second victim in her own car, raping her shooting her and  and dumping her like a sack of garbage in some public bushes!

That inmate had been arrested of raping a minor eight year old niece of his, He'd received a few years in a plea deal, got out was on probation or parole and just went right on back to taking from others what did not belong to him and maiming and murdering along with it this time.

Nonetheless,that system and several other key improvements within our Justice system some of which were considerably more simple and less expensive then the technology based communications system, also have not been initiated no seem to be in the works. One of these is the addition of several new prosecutors within our states larger city superior court Court houses where shortages of staff as well as under training is being cited as many reasons for the high plea bargain ratio for adjudicating criminal cases in our state The issue came to light IN late 2007 when several homicides were committed needlessly by men who should not been given parole, or early release parole as all were chronic offenders that clearly posed a threat to the general public. The mistakes were blamed on information sharing issues between Police departments, prosecutors offices, parole boards etc
The most infamous of those three crimes was the murders of the Petit family a48 yr old mother.and her 2 girls. This case is still being played out in court with the second accomplice not yet having his
rial date set nor the jury selection process started.

If our new Governor tries to back out of pushing through this centralized criminal computer system, a basic tenet to any valid new system whereby information can be easily passed along and shared between departments as it should have been for years, well than this is Governor Malloys first and last chance in my book to prove himself worthy of Governorship. Public safety and crime is the most important issue facing our state government, Malloy touted his own record re crime decrease in Stamford during his mayoral term. As a democratic of unflinching variety he is avidly anti death penalty which means when it is put before him as a new legislation he will certainly not veto it. And this is a when not an if situation. The bill was already written and passed  by both the house and senate tho more marginally in the latter  last year and if not for Gov Rells rare veto, the abolishment would be in effect.

The prevailing Democrats led by the likes of  Mike Lawlor and co. The judiciary co who designed and instigated the abashment law, claimed that they initially did so in order to save the sate money, "since we didn't use the death penalty anyway" they cited-this is true in effect as the last man pout to death had to due the state in order to receive his just and awarded capital punishment by lethal injection; a rather kind alternative to what he doled out to his many many female victims some of who were but children-little girls age 12 9. Michael Ross finally won his appeal a fight all the ay to Ct supreme Court was his state paid public defenders were ironiclly fighting his wished for, and well deserved execution, that he had earned some twenty years earlier by murdering at least 20 women and kids. That was the first man we had executed in 20 years at that point in time, despite having 20 or so men on death row.

Clearly Connecticut is not the "blood lustful" lot  that lawyers/ anti death penalty proponents refer to us as.

The Bottom line is this is the year we need to form a pro0active, courageous political action group, and begin putting pressure on the new administration/ Governor, who has touted himself as being tough on crime and responsible for Stamford's lowered crime rates; While this is great,
I cant say that I am heartened by his standard liberal stance regarding the death penalty, within this linked article one notes his proclivity for stating that the death penalty in no way reduces crime -and this is a over-used and over simplified view, that does not take into account the many peripheral issues that would result in abolishment such as the veritable end of  of plea bargaining for all murders that occur in the state.

Once life w/out parole becomes the very worst sentence a murderer can get every lawyer in this state will push for trials, because their client now has at least a chance at receiving life with parole by rolling the dice in a jury trial. There will be nothing to lose by going to trial, and our system will become deluged with these trials, and considering we've got a 98 percent plea bargain percentages rate for how we resolve our murder cases, and our voire - dire system as  time consuming expensive, as well our prosecutors under qualified to try cases as their trial skills are stale at best, this will lead to an expensive mess that is a very real peripheral consideration of abolishing the death penalty in this state.

Yet most democrats would like to stand on some meaningless moral high ground and ironically also cite financial savings as a good reason to abolish, this due to the unwieldy appeals process currently in place in our state for death penalty cases. These appeals of course cost a lot of money, and indeed the original reason cited by the judiciary committee who enacted the abolishment was  a good way to save money,now that we are in an economical  budgetary crunch, so to speak. Ne-ver mind what was promised and indeed voted upon by our lawmakers and what the law was that was in place at that time!

Time to get involved Connecticut tax payers voters and general citizenry; we do have control over a Good deal of what goes on with out states legislation. We can follow suit as did California and restructure our judicial system separating the non violent drug rimes into a separate court altogether whereby they are offered treatment and hallways house living with extended probation and structured living situations involving 12 step programs employment etc. Many of these people who inhabit our prisons do not belong there. And there lives are being completely devastated as a result because as we all know once one has been incarcerated it is very difficult to get emolument especially a job that will feed a family or house someone in this state. There are genuine methods of changing how we handle our crime and criminals that need not involve huge infusions of money and in the end it will save us money-we just have to be ballsy as a people and as a state as lawmakers and as governor.

Making certain that prison beds that are needed departed for violent offenders and those who wold predate upon children, are enough, and that a person who is a sick, an addict, who has somehow managed to not yet com mitt violence in any way and yet is rotting away in a prison cell in a state where those cells are in such high demand, that we have been plea dealing our most vicious rapist kidnappers, child molesters, woman beaters. etc. because we claim there is no room for these men, and  no money to pay the prosecutors to try their cases because they cost too much.

 Well the reality there is quite a bit of distance from that simplistic overview, there are other considerations such as prosecutors who only want to try cases that they will definately Win, and since pleading will give them a guaranteed "conviction" even tho that conviction" consists of a slew of violent crime charges being dropped down to lesser more innocuous ones while other charges within  the same crime event are totally dropped. Of course this happens a lot less with some public defender -over a higher priced  lawyer- at least a "regular"a lawyer that the prosecutor knows, often lunches with, exchanging favors, cigars, jokes and the old boy network continues alive and well and every day, victims of violence are thier sacrificial lambs.

Get involved.