Says law specifies that Victim Advocate is to be Independent from other state agencies
Lawlor wants new Victim Advocate to be “Rubber Stamp” for “Early Release” Scandal
Former State Senator Len Suzio, Connecticut's leading critic of the Early Release program, said Mike Lawlor should not serve on the Victim Advisory Committee because of his role in advocating for the Early Release of violent criminals from Connecticut prisons. Also, Connecticut law makes him ineligible for membership – “he never should have been appointed by the Governor in the first place”, Suzio said.
"The Early Release Law, of which Mike Lawlor is the chief architect and defender, is an outrageous violation of the rights of crime victims and their families. Under the Early Release law, thousands of violent criminals have been released or discharged prematurely from prison, free to maraud and free to murder innocent citizens and free to terrorize their victims," said Suzio.
Suzio stated that State law prohibits Lawlor from serving on the Committee. "The legislature intended the Office of Victim Advocate to be an 'independent' office and explicitly states, 'the Victim Advocate shall act independently (emphasis added) of any state department in the performance of the Advocate's duties' (see Section 46a-13(b)). The statute is very clear, 'No member of the advisory committee shall be a person who is a volunteer for, a board member of, or is employed by any entity or agency subject to the review of, or evaluation or monitoring by the Victim Advocate . . .' (Sec. 46a-13h) Clearly Mike Lawlor runs a division whose policies and practices have a history of being criticized and objected to by the Victim Advocate. In fact, Mike Lawlor used his role on the Advisory Committee to effectively fire previous Victim Advocate, Michelle Cruz, who had independently criticized Lawlor's Early Release law as an abuse of Victims' rights. That is why I call upon Mike Lawlor to resign from the Committee today" Suzio said.
"I also call upon the Advisory Committee to hold public hearings on the process by which a new Victim Advocate will be selected. Thousands of Connecticut crime victims and their families are served by the Victim Advocate. They should have a say in how the most highly qualified candidates for Victim Advocate are determined. We need to assure that only the most highly qualified and independent person is hired to represent their interests.
Len Suzio is a member of the Victim Advocate Advisory Committee.
Contact: Len Suzio (203)-530-1544