Friday, September 02, 2016

Safety And Secrecy In Connecticut Government


Are we more safe now than we were before Governor Dannel Malloy’s prison czar, Michael Lawlor, began handing out get-out-of-jail-early credits to so called “nonviolent” incarcerated criminals?

Ibraham Ghazal, the co-owner of an EZMart in Meriden, was not safe. Mr. Ghazal was murdered by Frankie Resto, a prisoner released early because the benefits of Mr. Lawlor’s program had been disbursed retroactively and not prospectively to Connecticut prisoners -- including rapists, which Mr. Lawlor evidently did not consider a violent crime. Death has its privileges, and Mr. Ghazal is now safe.

Before being released early, Frankie “The Razor” Resto was by all accounts a dangerous fellow. He was called “The Razor” because a razor was his choice of weapon whenever he felt inclined to shake down drug dealers. Correction officers who had daily commerce with Mr. Resto might have told Mr. Lawlor, had he bothered to ask them, that “The Razor” was not a peaceable fellow. Mr. Resto burned his mattress while in prison, belonged to a violent gang and was a stranger to Mathew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Upon his early release, Mr. Resto immediately procured a gun – not purchased at a gun store – and shot Mr. Ghazal once fatally in the chest after he had without resistance obliged Mr. Resto’s demand that he turn over cash in a register -- on the whole, not the sort of gentleman who should have been rewarded by Mr. Lawlor with get-out-of-jail-early credits.

Other violent criminals have been let loose early by Mr. Lawlor; precisely how many have returned to prison is something of a mystery, because Mr. Lawlor – once co-chair of the judiciary committee along with Andrew McDonald, appointed by Mr. Malloy to Connecticut’s Supreme Court – is adept at hiding the data necessary to evaluate the success of his program in a welter of other data.

After former State Senator Len Suzio, along with Victims Advocate Michelle Cruz, had made a public fuss over the murder by “The Razor," they were politically  disappeared: Ms. Cruz, a longtime  energetic and committed Victims Advocate, was replaced by a political mule who soon left, and Mr. Suzio lost an election in an overwhelmingly Democratic District by a few hundred votes of almost 30,000 cast. Mr. Suzio once again is running for his old seat, and if the Republican Party in Connecticut is alert and awake, it should support him vigorously.

By persistently  overreaching – Mr. Lawlor recently initiated a new program that would allow low-level convicted criminals to attend in-state colleges without, one leading Republican legislator has noted, adequate supervision  – those in charge of public safety, Mr. Malloy included, have not been tending to the work-a-day business of government, the primary mission of which is public safety.

At Mr. Malloy’s urging, the Democratic dominated General Assembly repealed the death penalty for eleven convicted criminals who had been sentenced to death by multiple juries for having committed heinous crimes. Among other reasons for abolishing the death penalty, Democrat legislators argued that the penalty did not deter felons from committing murder, little noticing that the acceptance of that proposition would logically require the abolition of all penalties. The death penalties of the Cheshire murderers who wiped out an entire family, but for Dr. William Petit, who managed to escape the arson murder of his wife and two daughters, have recently been commuted; one of the murderer-rapists was resentenced to six life-terms plus an additional 106 years in prison.

Presumably, if the multiple murderer-rapist managed to kill a guard or another prisoner, his sentence might be upped to – horrors! -- SEVEN life terms. Not even Mr. Lawlor, whose questionable programs are rooted in the therapeutic value schooling for cons, would dare to assert that the additional life term would be a greater deterrent to incarcerated murderers than the prospect of death, about which Ben Johnson once said, "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

Six months after he had been released from a Connecticut prison, Jean Jacques, an illegal alien convicted and incarcerated in Connecticut for 17 years on an attempted murder charge, was let loose upon the general public. Mr. Jacques should have been turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation upon his release from prison. The deportation, which ought to have been a routine matter, never occurred. Set loose upon the general public, Mr. Jacques murdered a woman, stabbing her 17 times, one thrust for each year he had spent in prison. This gruesome crime recently has been repeated by yet another illegal alien who also had been convicted and imprisoned in Connecticut for attempted murder but who had not been deported to his country of origin upon completion of his sentence.

Mr. Suzio and other legislators concerned with public safety have been pressuring Mr. Lawlor for several years to compile and release data that would allow monitoring legislators to determine the effectiveness of his programs on recidivism rates. Mr. Lawlor should have been monitoring his own programs, releasing pertinent data on a regular basis to both legislators and the general public. But Mr. Lawlor, a public safety administrator who operates as if he were a separate nation in what is perhaps the most secretive gubernatorial administration in recent memory, has not been obliging.  A suit bought by Mr. Suzio to compel the release of necessary data on recidivism rates is wending its way through Connecticut’s court system.


As we all know, judicial gears grind exceedingly slowly. Perhaps before the judicial issue is decided, an awakened public will realize that legislative monitoring is necessary to keep the public informed and safe. Knowledge is power, but especially in a republican form of government, is not a power that should belong exclusively to the powerful.  
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