Monday, July 30, 2007

No "Three Strikes and You're Out" Law for the Outlaws

Chris Powell, over at the Journal Inquirer, has responded thoughtfully to what has been mislabeled the “tragedy” in Cheshire. Actually, it was a multiple rape and murder and a tragedy only for the victims who could not avoid the unwelcome attentions of the two rapists and murderers who decimated Dr. William Petit’s family.

Connecticut’s so called “three Strikes and You’re Out” legislation is little more than a pretense at law and order. The law, Powell writes, “merely allows prosecutors to seek and courts to impose life sentences when someone is convicted of a third violent felony. Connecticut law also merely allows prosecutors to seek and courts to impose a doubled sentence on people convicted of a second felony.’

There are no mandated requirements in the law. In practice – the only true measurement of the effectiveness of laws – Connecticut, Powell says, “is infinitely indulgent -- as are many state legislators surveyed about what happened in Cheshire.

“That is, what Connecticut calls its "three strikes" laws are like the state's capital punishment law -- misleading the public into thinking that the state is tough on crime and that its elected officials have accomplished something. In practice, as the state saw two years ago with the contrivances in court preceding the execution of the serial murderer Michael B. Ross, the only criminal executed in the state since 1960, Connecticut has capital punishment only for those who insist on being executed.”

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