Aug 27, 2012

Peterson lawyers mount defense at murder trial - SFGate

I don't know if I can endure another week of looking at wife murderer Drew Peterson.

His demeanor since his arrest is the most telling evidence pointing to Peterson's guilt. The man stands accused of murdering his second wife Kathleen Salvo after an investigation into her "accidental death"
was prompted by the highly suspicious disappearance of his next wife, Stacy Peterson. And yet this man has exuded a swagger and atypical arrogance of a sociopath. There is not a trace of an innocent man's behavior IE concern; be it over his own predicament nor an appropriate somberness surrounding the death of a  woman he had been married to for years,and had children with.

Mr Peterson, like many psychopaths, doesn't even bother with appearances. So self-assured is he, that he will beat the rap, After all authorities were never able to charge him in what was clearly the murder of  his most recent wife, Stacy Petersom. The Bollingbrook PD either knew he killed his Mrs Salvo and some of the Police dept  were either complicit, in turning the other way at the scene of the "accident": ie a 40 year old woman is found dead in a dry bathtub with a gash on her head and it was declared an accidental death?

Thus the ease in which Peterson discovered he could take a life, aided and abetted by the fact that he was a police officer, the "successful"murder of his salvo emboldened Peterson gave him a sense of invincibility much like a serial murderer feels after he has gotten away with the first murder or sexual assault. ,Many have been interviewed over the years, thier minds picked apart thier psyches poked and prodded and psychiatrists detectives writers alike have all related the fact that serial killers expressed an almost shock and then glee once realizing that they " got away with"thier first murder and fear of being caught dissipated shortly afterwards. They often become more brazen with each murder or sexual asault thereafter and become compacent about covering up thier tracks so to speak.

Peterson lawyers mount defense at murder trial - SFGate

Painless way to Take Action Against Domestic Violence; Donate a used Cell Phone Program

Here is a painless way to help stop domestic violence; The National Coaltion against Domestic Violence is recycling cell phones in order to:

• Fund programming that empowers victims of domestic violence and helps them remain free from abuse

• Support legislation aimed at ending domestic violence

• Give support and resources to organizations across the US working to stop violence in the home

How It Works:

• Roughly 60 percent of cell phones will be refurbished and resold

• The revenue generated from the sale of refurbished phones will be used to support NCADV programs that help end violence in the home

• The remaining cell phones are recycled according to the highest environmental standards

Get a free shipping label (minimum: three phones):

Use this link to order a pre-paid shipping label if you are sending three or more cell phones (accessories, laptops, mp3 players, digital cameras, and video game systems are welcome too).

Want to organize a collection? Order FREE boxes and posters here!

Shipping one or two phones? Please use Cellular Recycling's address below as our free UPS labels are structured for shipping three phones or more.

Mailing Address: Cellular Recycler, Attn: NCADV, 4840 Sterling Drive, Unit A, Boulder, CO, 80301 United States

Thank you for your support for our work to make every home a safe one!

Donate a Phone program NCADV

Aug 26, 2012

Kindness Moves Mountains

Kindness; something the world needs  more of .   
Kindness Moves Mountains 

Aug 19, 2012

Jurors in Drew Peterson trial expected to ignore disallowed testimony

Drew Peterson’s jury has a lot to forget about him and his ex-wife Kathleen Savio.

There’s the bullet found on the driveway of Savio’s neighbor that the neighbor believed to be a warning from Peterson. There’s also talk of the pathologist who hopped into the tub where Savio died, and the protection order Savio may or may not have considered against her ex-husband. And there’s also the suggestion that Peterson solicited a hit man to kill his third wife for $25,000. All four topics have been improperly introduced by prosecutors during the trial, prompting an annoyed judge to instruct jurors to disregard the statements.

Whether they can do it, however, is impossible to know. In courtrooms across the country, lawyers often wonder whether judges’ orders to ignore testimony are in the best interest of justice or merely call more attention to a forbidden topic.

“There’s no way to tell if jurors can put it out of their minds because there is no way to measure someone’s ability to compartmentalize information,” said Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor. “It’s very hard to do, especially when you’re being instructed to do it again and again and again. It’s like they’re putting a spotlight on the barred testimony, then underlining and then putting it in bold.” Jurors from both of the objection-laced Rod Blagojevich trials acknowledge that it was impossible to forget statements and testimony that they were later told to ignore.

“When it’s stricken, it’s even more memorable,” said Jessica Hubinek, who sat on the panel for Blagojevich’s 2011 retrial, in which he was convicted on corruption charges. “It is a really sneaky tactic to get that information into the jurors’ heads, despite whether you are supposed to (consider) it, because then it is there.”

Stephen Wlodek, a juror in Blagojevich’s first trial, recalled that the defense team in that case, despite being told not to do so, kept dropping references to other audio recordings that had not been allowed in as evidence. When it came to deliberations, Wlodek said those remarks planted seeds of doubt in some jurors’ minds, leading one juror to speculate whether there might be a recording out there proving Blagojevich’s innocence.

“It kind of plays with your mind,” Wlodek said. “People start to question what they have heard or what else could be out there.”

To help cull what could be considered from what could not, some jurors said they would cross out stricken statements in their notebooks. Others would simply not transcribe the comment.

“Even though you know it was said, you don’t use it to weigh the outcome,” Hubinek said. “When it comes to weighing the evidence, guilty or not guilty, you have to really put it to the side, as best you can.”

Stricken statements have become a persistent issue in the Peterson trial, where several gaffes by Will County, Ill., prosecutors have tested Judge Edward Burmila’s temper and prompted him to issue so-called curative instructions to the jury. On several occasions, he has told jurors that the state wrongly introduced irrelevant evidence and asked them to disregard it.

Peterson, 58, is charged with killing Savio, 40, who was found dead in a dry bathtub on March 1, 2004. Officials initially ruled the death an accidental drowning, but after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared three years later, authorities reopened Savio’s case and determined she had been killed.

Peterson has not been charged in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, though he remains a suspect. He denies wrongdoing in both cases.

Given the largely circumstantial nature of the Savio case, Peterson’s defense attorneys worry the forbidden testimony could creep into deliberations, at least subconsciously. The retired Bolingbrook police sergeant, however, waived his right to a mistrial after one gaffe last week, saying he did not want to go through a second trial.

“It’s impossible for people to wipe something from their minds just because they’ve been asked to do so,” Peterson defense attorney Steve Greenberg said. “You can’t unring a bell once it has been heard.”

A spokesman for Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow declined to comment.

The introduction of barred statements - whether by accident or on purpose - will not necessarily benefit the Peterson prosecutors. Though most of the judge’s reprimands have been done outside the panel’s presence, McRae said jurors can read body language and gauge tension in the room. If they sense state prosecutors are being chastised repeatedly for breaking the rules, they could start to doubt their integrity.

“A prosecutor’s greatest asset is the ability to wear the white hat,” McRae said. “You don’t want to keep flicking dirt on that white hat or else you’re going to make the jury think that the defendant needs to be protected from you.”

In the end, only the jury will decide what role the barred statements will play in their deliberations.

  Morning Sun Article

Aug 17, 2012

The Campus SaVE Act: A Critical Step to Ending Violence Against Women

"In an effort to protect their reputations, some schools neglect to properly report incidences of violence. This Act would aim to add additional protections for women by requiring schools to implement a recording process for incidences of dating violence as well as report the findings. In addition, schools would be required to create plans to prevent this violence and educate victims on their rights and resources so women would be better able to address their abuse. I applaud my colleague, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, for her leadership on this issue.

The newly proposed SaVE act is the most essential of all of the enhancements written into the Senate's  proposed VAWA bill.  While there are of course many new provisions incorporated into this years VAWA bill, the SaVE act is has the most potential for saving lives, and reducing violent encounters9 for young women . In addition SaVE helps deconstruct the deadly 'we dont talk about these things openly... ' 

A good deal of the self esteem issues that contribute to a girls vulnerability in wind up in  anabusive relationship, begin to manifest themselves in high school and or college. College women are particularly at risk: most are away from home, separated from parents aunts uncles and other adults might intervene when witnessing the symptoms of a controlling  abusive relationship, before serious violence occurs.

The SaV E act is a no brainer, the bottom line it will save many many lives through its practical applications as well by changing the secrecy that often surrounds abusive relationships and date rape. Had this act been in effect 4 years ago, Yeardley Love might still be alive, as there were multiple incidents of witnessed violence  by her ex boyfriend and murderer George Huegely: One of these episodes involved huegley choking Yeardly at a party, a gaggle of lacrosse players had to intervene prying huegely off  love.

Amazingly, not one person at the party reported the incident.

Under thr new "SaVe act, reporting of any incidents of violence would be mandatory.


The Campus SaVE Act: A Critical Step to Ending Violence Against Women

Arrest made in 31-year-old murder

The Bridgeport Police have made an arrest in the cold case murder of Estella Branley,who was found strangled thirty one years ago in Seaside Park off Long Island sound.

The FBI crime lab in Quantico loaned their services when DNA was recently un-covered via the cold case file. A match was made with an inmate serving time in Newtown Connecticut he was 21 at the time of the murder.

As one would imagine the family was greatly impacted by years of no arrest being made for Stella violent death. As well  there are always the questions like why and what happened, despite those details often being painful family members need to know. Ms Branleys sister was a detective with the Bridgeport Police at the time of the murder; she stated that she was afraid due to the "victimology"  The police weren't being as proactive as they typically would be, because her sister was black and rumoured to be prostitute.

She stated to the media in 1983 that with a string of similar unsolved murders of women who were also possibly prostituting , she feared police were not making these cases a priority. She pointed out that
one life was as valuable as another and every unsolved murder especially involving sexual assault should recieve the same due diligence from the Police homicide department.

Thankfully we are seeing a change in the old thinking whereby murders of homeless people,drug addicts and
prostitutes routinely recieved less attention from law enforcement. This is not to say that the old prejudicial thinking is a thing of the past; depending on the state and the presiding police dept,one can still  find  a disparity in how some violent crimes are investigated. However it is becoming more and more class and color blind when it comes to solving murder and otherviolent crime. A  human being that suffers a brutal crime whether it be sexual assault, assault or murder deserves diligence and the best resources for solving these crimes.

According to family members miss Branleys mother passed away in 2005 and she has been  extremely affected by her daughters murder and the fact that the murder was unsolved for all of those Years.

While we wish Stella's mother had lived to see the arrest and conviction of her daughters murderer we are heartened that the rest of her family has been given the seeds of healing.

Rest in Peace Stella Branley.

Arrest made in 31-year-old murder

Aug 10, 2012

Convicted Bridgeport killer fighting death penalty

Man convicted of murdering ex girlfriend her child and family friend attempts to dodge his death sentence

And so it begins.

The first multi-murderer on death row makes a bid to change his death sentence to life in prison, based solely upon Connecticut's recent "prospective" death penalty repeal, a repeal that happened long after the horrible triple murders that he committed, including shooting a five year old child to death.

We all knew that the so called prospective nature of this repeal was in name only;  a bone thrown to those legislators who were on the fence regarding the repeal, as well an attempt to placate the masses;  68 percent of Connecticut's residents in poll after poll were against abolishment of the death penalty. Most wanted the limitless appeals process that encumbered  our States rarely pursued Death penalty, making it expensive and impractical - rewritten via law. Instead our Judicary committee and the bulk of our house chose to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

Susan Storrey, Connecticut's lead public defender  announced on a televised  public forum on what was then the judiciary committee's  proposed repeal, one of the first things that she and her fellow lawyers-mostly tax paid public defenders) would  set about once the repeal was successful, would be to fight TOOTH AND NAIL to extradite all of the men currently on death row, have their sentences commuted to life in prison and place them into the regular prison population.

 The lawyers would seek to do this using the higher courts with the argument in tow that the death penalty was no longer this state's capital punishment and abolishment the growing societal trend.state by state. This they say is " evidence" of a nationwide shift and thus "prospective or not they suggest nullification of that portion of the law because it is morally and legally wrong to  impose death sentences upon some murderers and not others.

Not taken into account by Storrey and the plethora of like minded Connecticut lawyers,  is the fact that the death penalty was in fact the penalty for capital crimes with egregious aggravating factors, at the time that these crimes were committed, as well the adjudication of those crimes which all included multiple murder,

 I am speaking of the often long arduous trials by jury of the convicted mans peers, which included a separate sentencing portion whose sole purpose was for the jury to weigh the aggravating factor evidence against the defenses mitigating factors evidence" and to procure a fair sentence based upon this, following the court instructed strict  parameters.

Every man who currently sits on Connecticut's death row, including Richard Roszkowski, has gotten there justly, with their rights zealously protected. To now willfully embark upon reversing all of the hard work and efforts of the jury members, the presiding judge, the witnesses, the victims advocates... as well pick open the barely healed scab of the family members pain in the process\-  is obscene, selfish and makes a mockery of any bill passed herein by the Connecticut legislature.

* most recent Quninnipiac Poll 2011

Convicted Bridgeport killer fighting death penalty

Aug 8, 2012

Connecticut recieves poor grades in Domestic Violence via CCDV Fatality Report.

The report Domestic Violence Report Connecticut 2012 at the nucleus of this article is sadly but a representative slice of an even larger issue concerning the state of Connecticut's lax sentencing for violent offenders - particularly criminals who predate upon women and children.

The poor grades that Connecticut is officially being presented with via this report ( the report falls short of an\ actual admonishment which it deserves politics politics.) stems from several factors The core of all would appear to be apathy mixed with ignorance specifically criminal justice profesionals lack of awareness regarding the "battered women's syndrome" and/ or a refusal to accept/ act upon this well established phenomonon.\.

The battered woman syndrome was first described by Lenore Walker in the 1990's Walker was a pioneer in researching the psychological interplay within abusive relationships, including the "breaking down " process of the victim of chronic partner or domestic abuse. This includes alienation from family friends that the abuser knows do not approve of him and a methodical eroding of the abused woman's self esteem ( even some of the most beautiful women in the world fall prey to this and believe themselves ugly and usewless thanks to the brainwashing of thier sociopath abusers.

The ignorance on behalf of our criminal justiuce profesionals includes a lack of tutorial type of knowledge, as well as a glaring lack of "emotional intelligence"  which seems rampant in this state. These are the profesionals who are involved with the assaults and other crimes that are notorious for being pre-cursors to dating or domestic homicides. The emotional intelligece needed involves a visceral understanding of what motivates the victims to act in ways thast dont immediately make sense to others and it's equally as important as actual education for police prosecutors etc.

Unfortunately this deadly ignorance is on full display in Connectoict Police departments,and too many prosecutors in our Superior courts,  These are men and women who are ultimately responsible for whether an offender walks out of the courthouse with a slap on the wrist ( and an emboldened sense that they can commit serious assault and  walk through the revolving DV docket doors with zero prison time. If they had committed these dame acts of violence or terrorism agasinst a stranger one can be assured that they would recieve a minium of several years prison.

Activists and advocates alike are amazed and horrified to see the archaic and dangerous thinking that too many Connecticut Connecticut criminal justice professionals still embrace which helps propel the lax sentenecing that results in future fatalities and severe assaults which leave the victim maimed for liofe.

 Every time I hear "well, she went back with the guy..or she keeps talking to the guy" or " why didn't/doesnt she leave him the first time he hit/pushed punched her?" I literally cannnot believe that this is 2012 and we live in one of the supposedely most educated states in the country!

The above mentality places the ownice upon the victim, rather than where it belongs- upon the offender; Asking instead "why does he keep hitting and or pushing and or choking her?  As well as morally repugnant it is breaking the law and cavalierly so as its done again and again until someone is finally killed.

Many years ago, with the advent of the VAWA bill in Washington DC policemen and women were supposed to be taught the progressive approach to domestic violence crime, no longer needed the cooperation of the victim of domestic or intimate violence.

The long overdue recognition was that these were indeed crimes against the state and knowing what we have learned about the battered women's syndrome and recalcritant victim -witnesses, the government has seen a majority of female victims who will try to cover up for their assaulting partner, even lying to police and prosecutors when it comes time to adjudicate these cases.

The offender will utilize either threat or the opposite honeymoon phase tactics, cajoling the victim to recant her testimony to police claiming that they started the violence" or even such lunacy as "I hit myself with the iron." (I have actually witnessed that claim at Ga2 court in Bridgeport whereupon the prosecutors dumped the whole case rather than proceeding to trial, going around the victim as it was clear she was emeshed in a battered syndrome and using the evidence at hand- police reports, family testimoney and medical evidence and photos.

This type of flipping or backing out of testifying is why many states have changed the way they arrest and prosecute these crimes. we have learned and grown as a society, yet apparently the criminal justice system within the State of Connecticut, has either never truly accepted the evolution of or it has regressed en masse, for some reason as seen via attitudes and policys, mostly unofficial policies. And people, mostly women - are dying as a result.

The landmark Domestic Violence civil case against the Torrington Police dept. seemed to be a major turning point for our state; finally getting serious with our arrest policies, and even the way Police thought about this type of crime, arresting "domestic" violent offenders as quickly as they would any violent offender - an assailant a rapist or stalker who is a "stranger" to their victim. something had sparked the necessary change. However, our state has been in retrograde for years and the attitudes are permeating too many Connecticut Police departments and too many Superior Courts responsible for sentencing these offenders, before they kill as well as after. Domestic and partner violence is a deadly but stoppable epidemic.

Please read the linked report re Partner violence fatalities in Connecticut by The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic violence. It is an eye opener and it is also a first step towards getting involved in this life and death issue that touched all of us who have women in our lives that we care about.