May 30, 2010
May 21, 2010
Michael Ross was a serial killer of women and children. He was also the most recent criminal to be executed by lethal injection in Connecticut.He wound up having to sue the state in order to be given his well-deserved sentence.
The answer lies not in getting rid of the death penalty, but rather to reform it; From The current built- in limitless appeals system renders it impotent to the
absurd time period between actual sentencing and the carrying out of that sentence, which currently has no bounderies in the state of Connecticut.
From a practical standpoint, this means that any murder case where the death penalty has been sentenced by Judge or Jury (and a sentence of death for aggravated murder is quite rarely pursued here in thefirst place ) often drags on for decades upon decades, as the sentenced inmate or lawyer, file what has become obligatory appeal after appeal, on the governments dime, simply "buying thier client time, pushing any actual execution to some far away future date,which for all intents and purposes does not exist-not in Connecticut.
While the largely democratic judiciary committee would use theseexamplesofour broken system as a reason to simply get rid of the entire system I, (myself a registered democratic) say nonsense-fix it. Iam appalled that our "lawmakers" first thought is to throw it out with yesterdays garbage because they are seduced by the notion that it will save the state lots of money- and/or because these samelegislators fancy themselves proggresive minded heroes of some sort because they subscribe to the armchair philosophy that the death penalty is archaic and morally wrong .
Lets face it; The cold hard facts are that a percentage of Connecticuts legislators who are ultimately responsible for the immense decision of whether to keep or abolish the death penalty in this state, have personally never encountered the unabashed evil of sociopathology (IE anti-social personality disorder AS READ IN THE DSM) and the destruction of lives left in its wake. Formerly refferredto as "psychopaths" this personality disorder has a high incidence in our prison systems and our violent criminals (albeit diagnosed or undiagnosed) There are also a good number of sociopaths who are of the higher functioning ilk meaning they may in fact commit crimes, including horribly brutal violent crimes, yet they are rarely caught and if caught rarely properly prosecuted, as 'manipulative natures and often above articulkate self educated intelligence combine to fool those in the system who lack the experience or insight to recognize what theyre dealing with.
This disorder does not mean crazy; They know right from wrong, they simply have no conscience, and believe they're victims deserve theyre fate for allowing themselves to be victimized.
But as in the case of joshua komisarjevsky co-defendent in the Petit family murders, many sociopaths may feign consciences as they realize it is expected of them. Read his sentencing transcript from his last string of bome break ins prior to the Petit Family assaults and murders. In front of the judge and prosecutor, he offered up to the court tremendous remorse for his 28 break ins and robberies-which were almost all perpetrated at night while the homeowners were in bed sleeping, by his own admission.Weve since learned that komisarjevsky boasted of these exploits reffering to those home invasions as a form of "extreme sport" exciting him only if someone was in the home at the time, otherwise he was too "bored" by the robbery the robberies in my opinion incidental to the act of subterfuge and invasion of anothers privacy and space.
Thus as our lawmakers would like to fancy themselves too "evolved" to support the notion of a state sponsered death penalty, even when reserved for only the absolute worst most brutal and aggravated of our states murder cases (Connecticut is reknown for its history of judiciuos use of pursuing its death penalty, with an extremely rare percentage of these cases compared to its overall murder cases) And thus our lawmakers lack of familiarity and awareness and education concerning the brand of criminal that would kill for thrill lust or simple greed without batting an eye, is really what is at the crux of the problem here. This Exremely important issue calls for the kind of awareness that transcends armchair philosophying and "bottomlines".
Michael Ross was apparently ready to accept accountability for the many kidnappings, rapes and murders that he'dcommitted over the ourse of his life (he alluded to only being caught and charged for a fraction of of the actual number of murders he was responsible for).
Connecticuts criminal-friendly justice system actually refused to allow this guy to plead guilty when wanted to, with the presiding judge citing whatever insane judicial rule that prohibits a guilty plea at that particular juncture. A situation not unlike the recent Petit murder case, where the first murder defendent being tried also wished to change his plea to guilty recently, as jury selection was just begginning - The New haven Superior court where the case is being tried, would not allow it-in fact they cite that technically they could not accept a guilty plea from a defendent in a Death penalty case.
As such the judge refused it and the plea stayed not guilty, as his lawyers had him plead originally. After much hullabaloo from those defense attorneys, who scrambled to tie thierclients hands once he admitted his guilt, they tried to have him declared incompetent among other things, in the end he was found competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense. although hayes was soon cajoled by his notorious anti-death penalty crusading public attorney to resort back to a sensible" Not Guilty Plea, at his next court appearence when the judge asked do you wish to keep your plea not guilty, there was a rather long pregnant pause from steven hayes before he finally said "no your honor'
Although every life is precious the murder of a child is doubly evil and tragic, and
yet... a good number of our Conn Legislators voted this past year to abolish the one thing that could serve as a deterrent to those that would prey upon children and others in defenseless situations. Had Governor Rell not vetoed the narrowly passed bill, the death penalty would be abolished in this state as we speak and replaced with a capital punishment that consists of life in prison with no parole.
With saving money the main reason cited by members of the Conn Judiciary committee for introducing the notion of abolishment-(ie due tothe costliness of its currently run amock appeals process among other things) This makes the actual longer term results of abolishment most ironic: With no threat of A possible death sentence looming over a murderers head-and remember only the worst of the worst murder cases are even considered for the death penalty here--defense attorneys left and right will encourage thier clients charged with capital crimes to go to trial rather than plead to lowered charges, for they will then have "nothing to lose" by trying the case. ie the worst case would still be life with no parole vs the possibility that they "rollthe dice" so to speak and possibly get life sentence with the possibility of parole via a trial.
This influx of trials and the preparations involved on cases that have been traditionally plea bargained for years, will cost the state millions upon millions of dollars, thereby defeating the original rationale for abolishment not to mention putting the lives of innocent citizens at risk as would be murderers child predators, rapists have significantly less to be afraid of if they are caught for thier crimes
May 13, 2010
who have contributed significantly towards Victims of Domestic violence via this center and other avenues, since PFF's early inception in 2007 following the murders of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit during a home invasion.
The case, in which the two defendants were caught fleeing the murder scene in the Petit family car, is just now in the mid stages of voire dire (Jury selection) for the first defendant, Steven Hayes. The other 'defendent" who initially targeted and followed Mrs Petit and her daughter from a neighborhood Stop and shop to their home in Cheshire, is twenty nine year old Joshua Komisarjevsk,y also from Cheshire. He will not be tried until Hayes's trial is completed, which will be quite some time.
In both cases the state is seeking the death penalty for multiple capital crimes including multiple aggravated sexual assault,assault in the first degree of Dr Petit and threecounts of murder one, including the murder of a child
Both men were on early release parole when these crimes occurred despite having been convicted of well over 25 felonies within their respective life times. Indeed, the two men met each other at a Hartford hallway house which serves as intermediary re-entry housing for prisonerssoon due for release. YTheearly release program was the brainchild of Mike lawlor and Co. Dem east haven and vice chair of Connecticuts judiciary commitee
The Connecticut Parole board made the decisions to release each man after less than half of their sentences were served, these decisions were made with both men in absentia and little to no paperwork re their criminal files which in Komisarjevskys case certainly would have given them much needed insight to decline early Parole, due to among other things, his dangerous habit of breaking into homes admittedly only when the homeowners were home for the thrill, using night vision goggles to stalk his victims before his break ins and often taking mementos of women who were living in those homes in which he was illegally breaking and entering into.
Anyone possessing even a cursory knowledge of criminal psychology knows that these habits are red flags - indicative of a budding (or fully engaged) sexual predator,: As this information was made available to Police and the Connecticut Courts involved with his former criminal cases, there was no excuse why this man was released with such a small portion of his actual sentence served thus sharply deviating from the last Judges final admonishment in sentencing hearing. He concluded aloud that despite komisarjevsky, his parents and his lawyers attempts to portray him as a troubled young man from a good religous middle class family gone astray, ( his family had even toted komisarjevskys 17 yr old girlfriend and newborn baby to court for sentencing day, no doubt hoping for whatever leniency being a new fathger might buy him, Komisarjevsky was a dangerous predator
In a recent book based on clandestine-and illegal ( a gag order was placedon the case very early on) jailhouse interviews with Komisarjevky at 27 years of age- he had admitted to committing hundreds of such break--ins "as a kind of extreme sport"and was only caught or prosecuted for only 30 or so by police in several Connecticut jurisdictions- including Cheshire and the surrounding environs. A fair number of those charges were dropped in subsequent plea bargains, the last of which was supposed to have kept komisarjevsky in prison for 9 plus years and special parole for another 5. The presiding judge in that case seemed well aware of the seriousness of komisarjevskys criminal habits and potential for violence, and he said so when declaring his sentencing decision. The Connecticut Parole Board never even saw komisarjevskys criminal history, let alone the court transcripts from his last sentencing hearing in which the judge proclaimed the reasons he considered him so dangerous.
It was later exposed that this lack of paperwork was not an unusual nor singular inclident but had been the norm for years due prosecutors offices refusing to pay for copying costs for parolees criminal files with the parole board basically giving in and continuing to make life and death parole descisions with next to no paperwork on the prisoners in question nor the prisoner even being present for questioning-this the state of Connecticut called "administrative parole" and was The manner of parole for many many years in Connecticut until the Petit murders and several others all committed by new parolees occurring within a one year period, finally exposed these dangerous and irresponsible practices to both the people of the state and even many legislators who were also unaware of the day to day
In response to the public outrage over these crimes and most significantly the fact that they should have been avoided with responsible follow through of the Conn criminal Judicial system, attempts was made by the Connecticut legislature to toughen Parole standards and votes were made to infuse more money into our criminal justice system. It remains to be seen if there has been any viable application of those funds, with the recent economical budgetary problems being cited as one prohibitive cause of this. In the year following this and several other violent crimes committed by career criminals recently released, Some Ct laws were amended and attempts to toughen so called home invasion laws were made among other things.
Bi-partisan disagreement within the mostly democratic legislature, with republican assemblymen and senators largely supporting tougher measures voted down by some but not all democratic leaders,made actual changes in our laws very difficult if not impossible.
And seemingly, to add insult to injury, while many people in the state were still traumatized and grieving over the Petit family rapes and murders, as well another rape murder home invasion involving two women in their 60's which occurred in Connecticut that same year, the Ct Judiciary committee, spear headed by Mike Lawlor andsenator McDonald, voted seemingly out of nowhere to abolish the death penalty. The proposal was reportedly brought up as an idea to " save money"for the statedueto the unwieldy Ct unlimited appeals process in Death penalty cases.
Needlessto say the descision and the furtive manner in which it was handled ie withheld from the local media and thus the citizens, caused an uproar particukarly as a recent quinnipiac poll proved that well over 68 percent of the people of the state were against abolishment.
The house and Senate proceeded to rather swiftly vote on the volatile issue with a very narrow margin result to abolish and with clear-cut divisiveness between republicans and democratic lawmakers, although in fairness some democrats voted against abolishment despite their parties obvious preference. Thus, the mostly democratic legislature narrowly "won" : Fortunately and thankfully, as she had implied, Governor Rell used a rare veto on the bill, citing the will of the people in this state was clearly against aboloishment and was she.
In the meantime those dedicated to helping victims of violent crime, carry on the good fight.
One of our states greatest warriors inthisfight has been Drwilliam Petit lone curvivor of the Petit crimes. The upcoming "Silent No More" Auction supported by the Prudence Crandall Center and the Petit Family foundation is animportant part of that fight. It is a major fund raiser for assisting victims of domestic/partner violence escape from dangerous environments and as importantly, getting new starts for battered women and thier children so that they may begin living a violent- free life with the help that is so greatly needed.
As we read in the papers and seeon the news each week many of these women die every year when they are unable to break out of the cycle of violence and abuse.. The Prudence Crandall Center's mission statement encompasses the concept of 'parallel Justice" for victims of violence in Connecticut and elsewhere through their strong example.
Please help by donating volunteering or getting involved in whatever way that you can
Every person supporting this noble cause is helping to quote" be the Change that you wish to see in the world" A quote of Muhamtma Gandhi that 11 year old Michaela Petit chose to put on her facebook page prior to her untimely death from violent crime
May 11, 2010
Its good to see a presiding judge in this case finally show some judicial integrity and sound judgement,let's hope this is the beginning of a trend towards actual justice-with accountability being the watchword. Because as anyone following this case knows this has thus far glaringlynot been the case insofar as the courts oversight of these brutal crimes.
The seeming ever revolving-door succession of judges "presiding over the Petit case has certainly not helped matters from a practical legal and judicial standpoint,never mind how this lack of constancy has ill served the Petit and Hawke families as well the negative impact on the lone surviving victim Dr William Petit who was beaten so badly within the commission of these crimes that he still suffers daily from the Traumatic Brain injury inflicted by one of the two "defendants" caught fleeing the triple murder scene.
I have personally counted at least three judges hearing, and making major decisions regarding this case so far- and the case is for all intents and purposes, in its infancy; This, almost three years after the actual assaults and murders of Jennifer, Hayely and 11 year old Michaela Petit.
The New Haven court where this Cheshire murder case is being heard is less than halfway through the voire dire jury selection process for just the first of the two "defendants"- Steven Hayes. Knowing Connecticut's unwieldy and time consumptive voire dire process,the remaining jury selection could easily drag on for months upon months. The least that the court can do, in the name of what is right and just, and victim considerate, is ensure that Mr Hayes attend each and every step of his own State paid lawyers purposeful (and wasteful) procrastination of the onset of whatever is passing for "Justice" in Connecticut these days.
May 10, 2010
May 7, 2010
May 5, 2010
Most unfortunate for victim and families of that victim, a good deal of these cases will wind up inappropriately swept into the domestic violence realm,..EITHER within the actual court dockets (in more and more Ct larger city courts there are such specialized units' subsidized largely by grant monies federal and state, and thusly in the general mindset of the court that leans to wards a definite leniency in how these cases are handled and adjudicated.
This leniency and tolerance towards violence against women who knew their attackers oft times includes. amazingly enough the prosecutors who are indeed paid to be the voice for the victim, they the presumed purveyors of justice for that victim who are in fact the embodiment of those crimes. And in too many cases, like this tragic one, the victim herself has been permanently silenced.
Of course there are also judges juries and victims advocates involved in the periphery of most violent crime processing- as its truthfully become in Connecticut. But truth be told these folks rarely have much influence over how violent crime cases most involving multiple charges, are reconciled ie the sentence that the assailant winds up: 97 percent of all criminal cases in Connecticut are plea bargained this means that they do not result in a trial, instead
deals are made behind closed doors between the assigned prosecutor and the attorneys for the defendant. These"deals" have become the bane of our judicial system and in my opinion, the biggest perpetrator of violent crime in this state,
towards the end of