Thursday, April 04, 2013

Lawlor’s Stow-Away Bill


If Frankie “the Razor” Resto were an AR15 semi-automatic rifle and present laws banning him had been in effect on June 27, he would not have been permitted within spitting distance of Meridan when, newly released from prison, he entered an EZMart store and fatally shot its co-owner, Ibraham Ghazal, according to arrest records. But Mr. Resto was at that point only an ex-con who had been given get-out-of-jail-early credits under a problem plagued program that was the brainchild of Governor Dannel Malloy’s prison commisar, Mike Lawlor.

Mr. Resto's criminal resume was such that he should never have been given early release credits under any circumstances; he should never have been paroled, and he should have served his entire sentence behind bars. Following his release, Mr. Resto should have been monitored carefully by Mr. Lawlor’s somnolent watchdogs and rearrested if he so much as jaywalked.


But Mr. Resto never served his full sentence – because Mr. Lawlor is a penological utopianist whose views on prison reform bear the same relation to reality as does a fish to a bicycle. So far, Mr. Lawlor has been able to honey-tongue his way past two murders and more than 700 rearrests of prisoners given early release credits under his program.

But then, who’s counting? The answer to that question is: no one.

Michelle Cruz, Connecticut’s Victims Advocate, started to tote up the numbers, but her agitations on behalf of Mr. Ghazal’s still living family members so disturbed Mr. Lawlor and Mr. Malloy, who brooks no criticism that cannot be answered in one line quips on “Morning Joe,” that Ms. Cruz’s license to defend victims preyed upon by such as Mr. Resto was revoked. Her job was put on the block and, before you could say Cook County, Illinois is the most politically corrupt acreage in the nation, Ms. Cruz was replaced by a Chicago political operative who is certain to get along famously with Mr. Lawlor, Mr. Malloy and their prison reform measures.

Mr. Lawlor specializes in smuggling his problematic bills past the noses of his comrades on the judicial committee and foxing the foxes. He would make a super incorrigible prisoner, but perhaps not as accomplished as Mr. Resto, who managed while in prison to shake down inmates over drugs, to roughhouse with guards, to burn his mattress, perhaps in protest at having unjustly received 199 days off his sentence courtesy of Mr. Lawlor’s program, and to compile a disciplinary record that should be the envy of any member of the Latin King gang. Some prisoners do have a refined sense of justice, however incorrigible they may be. Incarceration, like the possibility of execution in the morning, clears the mind wonderfully – not that Mr. Resto needs to worry he will be executed for having murdered Mr. Ghazal. Following fierce urging from Mr. Lawlor when he was co-chair of the judiciary committee, the Democratic dominated General Assembly at long last abolished capital punishment in progressive Connecticut shortly after two paroled prisoners invaded a home in Cheshire and murdered three women, first having raped a mother and daughter, by setting their house on fire.

Mr. Lawlor, in a transparent attempt to smuggle his program past the noses of his more vigilant comrades in the legislature, initially packed his Risk Reduction Earned Credits bill in an implementer suitcase; the implementer bill is last minute measure usually designed to implement budget provisions, and it has always been easy to hide a rat in such omnibus bills.

This time around, Mr. Lawlor has attached his so called “reform” legislation putatively correcting problems in his program to a larger bill banning so called “assault” weapons;  this after ranking member of the judiciary committee Senator John Kissel, during a special hearing on the defects of Mr. Lawlor’s problem infested program, put Mr. Lawlor on notice that members of the committee wanted to address the defects of his program in a stand-alone bill so that legislators might cast an honest up or down vote on his readjusted bill.

Mr. Lawlor’s proposed “reform” considerably worsens his present blood stained program because it codifies its most glaring defect and invites the imprimatur of a distracted General Assembly . The problem with Lawlor’s law is that it bestows upon violent criminals the same get-out-of-jail-early credits properly given to inmates who have not been convicted and sentenced for such crimes as rape, kidnapping, arson, first-degree manslaughter, assault of a pregnant woman, first degree assault, second degree strangulation, first degree threatening, having sex with someone under the age of 13, assault of a blind or disabled person and animal cruelty.

The preponderance of testifiers at the hearing -- including Democratic state senator Danté Bartolomeo, who replaced perhaps the most ardent opponent of Mr. Lawlor’s program, Len Suzio, and who now represents stricken Meriden in the General Assembly – spoke in favor of a re-draft that would separate the categories of violent prisoners mentioned above from Mr. Lawlor’s early release credit program.

Mr. Suzio recently characterized Mr. Lawlor’s measure, stowed in the gun control bill affirmed by the Senate on April 4 and codifying the present arrangement suitable to Mr. Lawlor, as a “dangerous joke” and fraud upon the public. It is also a fraud upon Mr. Lawlor’s former colleagues who serve on the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. It’s only a matter of time before yet another early-released criminal, his pockets bulging with good-time credits given to him by Mr. Lawlor, is prematurely set free to murder or rape some other Connecticut citizen who quite possibly had voted for Mr. Lawlor prior to his political assent as Mr. Malloy’s commissar of prisons.
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