May 8, 2011

Death Penalty abolishment bill written by Connecticut Judiciary Committee

With Gary Holder - Winfield  (94th  assembly district New Haven) at the wheel ( at least officially as the sacrificial lamb)  yet another Death Penalty abolishment bill was recently quietly drawn up by the Connecticut Judiciary Committee.  Here is the link to the actual bill that will be soon voted on by the Connecticut Legislature. Death Penalty Abolishment Bill

Most Connecticut residents that are following this volatile issue, more or less expected this bill to be re-introduced sooner or later by our  mostly democratic legilsature,  particularly if a Democratic Governor was elected in the next race -This as they  smugly pointed out, meant no more Governors last minute vetoes and what you wish for folks.

However once again  the timing of this bill and it's surreptitious re-introduction, seems nothing less than purposeful and cruel to survivors and the victims families of criminal cases currently being played out in large and smaller city courts in the stateand obscene.

Two years ago, former Governor Jody Rell Republican vetoed a similiar Death Penalty abolishment bill that landed on her desk from the Connecticut Legislature. At that time the bill seemingly sprung up out of nowhere by the Connecticut Judiciary Committee, purportedely with monetary reasons as the main motivation that paeticular time, this as the State was in a Budget crisis - like every other state due to the failing economy..

Once word broke regarding the Judiciary committee's intentions to bring a death penalty abolishment bill to the legislature, the bill was already written and on its way to be voted upon in session. Shockingly,the bill  squeaked through both houses, albeit running into more resistance within the traditionally more conscientious and  intelligent Senate.

There I saidf it Since no one else seems to be pointing it out the Ct house of Representitives is filled with people that have no business making our State's laws or any other such rdssential decisions that effect the people of this state - especially concerning crime law and public safety.

It's bad enough that the process itself is mired in self serving politics and cronyism and that there is a small clutch of legislators (two of them are on the judiciary com mittee) that  control too many of the weaker house members. This is not good -  the one reason that Connecticut's state government  has not succumbed to complete democrat dirty pool is because we have traditonally voted for Republican Governors and a mostly Democratic Legilsature has consistantly managed to balance this bi-partisan state-wide leadership.

Its worked, For over twenty years it has worked. but  now weve got a Democratic Governor with a serious ego problem, who by all ccounts stole this election using Bridgport the infamously dirty pool city (ala Ganim and a host of others,)

when orignally watching the televished special session and regular session conducted by our state legislature I immeditely noticed a few things that had they been any more overt would have lefpt out of the tv set:
There was a pretty overt resentment by more than a few democratic Represnetatives in the General Assembly, most presiding over Geographic areas  rampant with crime, due to the realities of thier given demographics and the usual plagues for such urban areas; poverty, drug sales use and abuse, hopelessness  gangs, prostitution and the like.

 I was shocked at hearing over and over from some of these asssemblymen and women speak in hushed tones about the Petit family murders- after giving the child victims and surviving Willia,m Petit an obligatory nod of empathy, many set right in with the "issue' which turned out to be  a commonly understood but mostly unspoken" issue or resentment you could easily call it, "The white elephant or 'gorilla' as he was also refferred to frequently.

 At first I wasnt sure what these men and women were talking about as I watched and listened to them on the Connecticut cable Channel during the televised special sessions. But then it began to sink in....

The bottom line was a mantra of resentment that too much attention was being given to the Petit murders as compared to the many many many horrific murders that occur in thier jurisdictions every week - every month.

Many expressed a frustrtion that this set of horrible crimes by two early released chronic felons -white mren both, while certainly terrible shouldnt be getting all of this over the top "special attention". and some went on to name that eklephant and/or gorilla  as what they really felt it represneted; Racism and classism, although within my carefully poised earshot niether word was actually said within the microphone's coverage area but by gosh it was more than implied. I heard mention that because the victim was a docvtor and his family lived in a affluent suberb- which was in fact a completely incorrect assumption.

 Cheshire Ct was founded as a work=rking class town and indeed remained a mix of blue collar construction workers, shop owners even farmers. machanics factory workers and the like, along with a less than usual population of upper middle class residents with  homes that screamed money. There were very few of these, and in fact the Petit's raised ranch was a very typcial modest 4 bedroom house 2 car garage no pool no yacht club no boat no summer home just hard working charitable people whose lives were dominated by their methodist faith and community activism kindness and involvement.

I suppose to a legislator who grew up in hartford, these discrepencys mean very little. But in this case they dont belong in the seat of a general assemblyman bnut rather somewhere else where thier obvious  racism and classism bias does not lead to abuse of power and endanger peoples lives
 Were these folks truly believing that it wasnt the issues behind these horrible crimes that made them an emergent statewide issue?

 The fact that these men that took out an entire family  targeting the littlest 11 yr old girl her 17 yr old sister and mom at a supermarket - for an evening of kidnapping multiple rape and robbery almost as an afterthought had been paroled early less than half of the judges very clear senetnce?

 One man was paroled without any of his criminal records except for one single sheet from his last arrest file, no court transcripts nor judges recomendations for his sentence which was very specific and believe me that isnt always the case - manytimes the prosecutor in our ourts calls the sentencing shots and the judge merely acts as an officiary, giving a mod to whatever the states attorney or asst states attorney already dealt out to the defendents lawyer.

 This komisarjevsky was clearly the more dangerous of the two defendents insofar as his criminal history, its bulk how early it started the fire starting, panty stealing, stalking night vision goggles, the contant recidivism and the thumbing of his nose at any and all authorities. This is why we need forensic ppsychologists on police depts and within courts and certainly within porsions and parole and probation decisons.

JK admitted breaking into thousands of homes and garnering great enjoyment from watching the resident
eating watching TV or bathing  He admitted in the  documents that the Parole board never received he
 enjoying the challenge of getting into someones most private domain - having the sense of control over them lourding over them"

This dangerous predator ultimately was the man who targeted 11 year old Michaela Petit-he had a history of
attraction to young girls emotionally too young to know the signs of predatorial behavior) as he watched her
with her mother shopping in an area stop and shop the same evening he would later come back and break into her basement beat her dads head with a baseball bat as he slept on a sunporch tied him up bleeding profusely and molest the girl taking photos of her on his cell all night until morning came and he sent Hayes off with Mrs Petit to retrieve 15000 from her bank promising her hed be on his way as soon as they got the money. He already planned on killing the entire family as was evidenced by his dispacthing hayes to urchase some cans of gas at about 6 that smae morning, all the while fending off hayes form raping mrs petit or hayely, as he wanted needed her cooperation and trust. He kept his activities with michaela wuite and waited patiently until hayes left to fully sexually assault 11 year old michaela who was tiedto her bed.

Anyforenisc psychologist would tell you  that all of komisarjevskys prior crimes and behaviors were clearly
l pre cursors to sexual assault and it very well might hyave already happened and this young man simply hadnt beehn caught yet. Some of his crimes werd settin fire toa gas station-and getting caught on video camera.

Fires are part of a trilogyof sociopath behavior during the teen childhood years. None of this infoirmation was made available to our parole board who paroled Komisarjevsky, yet the sad thing is the judge who was a savvy man was obviously privy to what komisarjevskys history spelled and it meant danger for the people of Connecticut. That is exactly what he said in fact.

Had his files,all the way from arrest to court reports been organized and at the hands of the men and womendeigned with the decison whether to let him back into society would have surely not paroled him
seeing that it was the distinct wish of that judge that komisrajevsky be done with the dept of corrections when he was 38 years old. He got his tracking anklet sullen faced, removed 2 days prior to the Petit murders and the very same day that he was out with steven Hasyes breaking entering into Cheshire houses in order to
supposedely show steven how easy it could be to get into these houses filled with attractive girls and women.

In the meantime...
These  issues which create a " them and us" within our legislature, muddy the waters of what should be a unified effort to fight violent crime and improve public safety by our state Government.
The effects of these  resentments inour legislature were very evident to anyone watching the now televised legislative sessions broadcast on the local Connecticut cable channel.

The rhetoric by mostly minority and inner city legislators really amped up after the July 2007 murders of Jennifer Michaela and Hayley Petit in Cheshire Connecticut. To anyone listening carefully to the special session called by the Governor in the months following  the murders,  it sounded almost as if some of these legislators were saying  " now you know what we've been dealing with for years! "

The Petit murders were not the only brutal multiple murders that the people of Connecticut were reeling from at that time.Two additional multiple murders took place within six months, all involving recently released or paroled criminals who committed multiple rapes and murders within weeks of being paroled or released from prison. In each case poor decisions, lack of communication between departments, lack of proper paperwork and criminal histories

These crimes, which were being so closely examined due to glaring mistakes within our judicial system  had become a focal point of a fair number of inner city and big city legislators who fed a sick notion that the state had only taken a sudden interest in violent crime, because some murders and sexual assaults  took place in the suburbs.

In the end, the race for Governor last year was much closer than anyone predicted , and quietly simmering below the surface, the Death Penalty issue played a big role in the casting of votes. The people of Connecticut have shown, in poll after pol,l that they want reform of their criminal justice system,  including an revamping of Connecticut's Death Penalty law, making it actually enforceable, continuing to protect the  rights of that one person that could actually be wrongly convicted, but with limits on  the amount of appeals an inmate can file as well the validity of those appeals. This would solve a big portion of the current expense associated with Connecticut's DP.

In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, over 70 percent of Connecticut residents were in favor of keeping the Death Penalty as Connecticut's capital punishment. Most agreed it should be pursued in certain violent crime cases that have a number of brutal and cruel aggravating factors. We can argue the morality issues ad infinitum, and undoubtedly we will, but the bottom line is that the people of this state want the Death Penalty to remain, and they want it to have clearer limits so that it is in fact implementable. It is the ludicrous limitless appeals process that causes the inordinate expense and in effect makes our Death penalty untenable.

In the end, it was really the city of Bridgeport that won the election for Democrat Governor Malloy with the voting booths being held open an additional 3 hours in that city only, due to a reported "mishap",whereby "someone" ordered too few voting ballots for the city, and  more had to be fetched from somewhere.

The controversy surrounding this "oversight" that pushed a democratic win in a very, very close governor's race between Republican Tom Foley and Democrat Malloy, continues today and suspicious feelings abound regarding said "missing ballots" that forced a city, notoriously democratic, to keep it's polls open an additional 3 hours,  giving Democratic lobbyists precious time to grab the relatively small amount of  Democratic votes neccesary to put Dan Malloy in the Governors mansion.

And naturally, this would happen in Bridgeport, a city dripping with a history of corruption as well as an open tolerance of said corruption.
Before any of this had happened, many Connecticut residents, such as myself crossed over their party line in order to vote for Republican Tom Foley, based almost entirely upon his stance on violent crime compared to that of Malloy, who in classic Politician-ese was adamantly promising that if an abolishment bill were to be passed by the legislature again during his term, he would sign it, but any capital crimes committed before a hypothetical abolishment Bill, would be subject to the Death Penalty, if so sentenced.

This bone he tried to throw was an obvious attempt at placating the people of the state who were intently waiting for the trials of Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, caught red handed in the murders of Jennifer Hayley and Michaela Petit in july 2007.

Almost every attorney queried in the state has asserted that despite Malloy's political tight rope walking on this issue at the time, it was merely lip service to pacify the masses.(many Democrats polled were in favor of
the death penalty for the men who were caught fleeing the Petit murder scene, if they are convicted)
Legal experts have said that  if another abolishment bill passed in 2011, the legal ramifications of trying to put to death certain inmates  to death, even those who have been languishing on death row for years-hanks to(Connecticut's purposely paralyzed DP due to limitless appeals) will end up being bounced around the
 higher courts  by lawyers,for those on Death Row.

In the mean time no one in the Judiciary committee seems to understand that without a death penalty many more cases will proceed to trial automatically when defense attorneys begin rolling the dice with their clients accused of murder, as the very worst that could happen -life without the chance of parole- was what one used to hope for when offering to plea.

The new "goal" of the defense attorney representing someone accused of murder will be obtaining "  life with the chance of parole" and thus the courts dockets will fill with trials.And trials cost a lot of money, which is the main reason  Connecticut plea bargains 96 -  97 percent of it's violent crime cases.

Suffice to say this deluge of trials is going to cost the state millions and billions of new dollars, thus
making mincemeat of any notion that getting rid of the Death Penalty will save money. There will be no more offerings to plead guilty in capital crime cases, as both Komisrajevsky and Hayes's attorneys did.

The only reason those lawyers one a public defender and the other a state special public defender meaning he's also a regular private lawyer and thus he gets paid a higher amount per billable hour and you can bet he and his associates will be billing an obscene amount of hours to the State of Ct for Komisarjevsky's "defense"  The abolitionists act as if that wouldn't happen if there were no death penalty!? Nonsense. We all know that lawyers are kind at pushing the limits of whatever they can, if the state draws the line here they ll teeter on the edge of it, move it up a bit same thing.

The only reason either of the Petit murderers lawyers so called offered to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison was because the states attorney was pursuing the death penalty!  If there was no death penalty there is no way that either defendant would offer to plead to anything, because they have nothing whatsoever to lose by going to trial without the death penalty looming large.   This means that every single capital murder case is going to trial. As well there will be more capital murder cases because despite what imbecilic arguments weve heard to the contrary death is in fact a deterrent.  Even in a state like this where its merely going to" death row" for the rest of your life, even the most brutal murderers are cowards. The idea of waiting for death scares them.

If life without parole was now the worst sentence that murderers could get, no one is going to offer to plead anything, every single lawyer will go to trial in hopes of getting life with chance of parole or better. And if they "lose" they havnt
lost anything, except the states money.

Also for the murdering marauders whose slick attorney's manage to procure life with the chance of parole in a trial  this will then enslave  the victim's family into a life of appearing at every single parole hearing, for their loved ones killer or rapist or both.

This bare bones fact also makes a mockery of this oft heard argument-sometimes from murder victims family members, propped up by politicians, claiming  that the death penalty as it exists here in Connecticut at least, traps them into"a sentence
of their own,"  putting them through years of suffering through appeal after appeal for the
person or persons who killed their daughter, mother, father brother sister or child.

This is not an a reason to abolish our states death penalty, this is an issue that reflects how poorly our Death penalty as our states most severe capital crime punishment is written by lawmakers. Other states manage to put limits on appeals, their appeals have to actually be based on some kind of reality - not obligatory appeals such as the ones that mass murderer Michael Ross fought against, finally winning after suing the state for putting in appeal after appeal for his death sentence, a sentence carefully arrived at by multiple jury's for the murders and rapes of dozens of women and children. If Ross had not fought against this self defeating system, he would still be on death row, despite having confessedopnely to committing these pre mediatated murders rapes and tortures in the 1970's!

In the meantime,  the many many people in this state that are committed to continuing the battle for Justice for victims of violent crime,past presnet and future, ready themselves once again to fight these legislators that would seem to believe that what Connecticut residents want doesn't matter.

The best way we can prevent this from happening over and over again is to use our voting power:

Let us remember each legislator's name that votes for abolishment - we must track these members of the General Assembly and the State Senate like glue as their districts near voting time.

A veritable campaign must be waged against them and for their opponent - making it clear to the residents of that  district why they must vote across party lines if it is thus demanded, in this grave situation.

Repealing the DP will  make Connecticut a much more dangerous place to live. For those that claim that the notion of Death is not a deterrent I say nonsense! Why then such desperate scrambling by attorneys and their murderous clients spending much money energy and time fighting the mere proposition of the death penalty???? Why do we see nary a defendant coming forth and declaring themselves guilty stepping up to
willingly  take the prosecutor's pursued sentence of death-   a sentence that by the way is cautiously, thoughtfully and rarely pursued by States attorneys in Connecticut.

We reserve this punishment for our most heinous crime and criminals, murders, rapes where the sufferring of the victims was so eggregious the brutality so extreme, the terror protracted, that only the finality of death truly serves the notion of Justice. As well that criminal may kill  guard, another inmate