Daily Archives: March 29, 2010

Vengeance at its most shameful

Jordan Brown, a resident of western Pennsylvania, is charged with shooting Kenzie Marie Houk and her unborn child. Police say that Brown shot her once at point blank range. Today, a judge ruled [thanks to Doc Berman via Gamso] that the prosecution against Brown can remain in his court and denied the defense’s motion for transfer of venue.

Jordan Brown is 12. At the time of the death of Houk, he was 11.

I repeat. Jordan Brown is 12. And a judge ruled that he can be tried as an adult. A state in these United States is about to prosecute an eleven year old as an adult murderer.

Here is a file picture of him, taken from CNN. Look at it. This cherubic 12 year old now faces life in prison. The rest of the post after the photo and the jump.

It’s 5 p.m. Do you know where your bills are?

Today, at 5:00pm, the Judiciary Committee of the state legislature closed for business, just like any other day. But today is important for two reasons: 1) It was the last day on which the committee could vote on bills; 2) This marked the first year that the eyewitness identification reform bill passed and will now head to the legislature for a full vote.

There are several bills I’ve been tracking for a while now, of interest to me and the regular reader. We now know the fate of all those bills (here’s a list of all bills voted out of committee and here’s a list of those that were on the agenda).

Good news:

The biggest news, in my opinion, is that the eyewitness identification reform bill received enough votes to make it out of committee (it died in committee last year). This is a tremendous step forward in the quest for adoption of best practices in lineups and photo arrays.

In addition, the sex offender residency restriction bill was never called to vote, and so unless it’s added as an amendment to a bill that did pass, it has died. (My problems with this bill were documented in this post.)

Another year and another assault on the dignity of The Great Writ has been turned away. The habeas corpus “reform” bill also died in committee, never being called to a vote.

For the second year in a row, the Adam Walsh fearmongering and bleeding money Act also failed to make it out of committee.

The innocuously titled “Act Concerning Subpoenas for Property” also wasn’t called to a vote and went away quietly. Don’t get fooled by the title. This was a very, very dangerous investigative subpoena bill, essentially granting the state to subpoena whatever the hell they wanted from whomever they wanted, even in the absence of a pending criminal prosecution/investigation. It essentially spat in the face of the Fourth Amendment.

An act seeking to create a mandatory-minimum sentence for assault of a public safety officer made it out of committee, but if I recall correctly, without the mandatory minimum.

Three bills hell bent on pushing Connecticut closer to fulfilling Orwell’s prophecy, one to remove the statute of limitations on perjury in murder cases; one to remove the statute of limitations for hindering murder prosecutions and one making it a crime to fail to report a “serious crime” against a child.

The “sexting” bill made it out of committee. But that could be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. Me, personally? I don’t care either way.

Bad news:

I’ve always viewed the eyewitness ID bill and the videotaping of interrogations bill as two peas in a pod. Fraternal twins, if you will. Where one goes, so should the other. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case today. I’m not even sure the videotaping of interrogations bill was called for a vote. One step at a time, I guess. There’s always next year (says he, sounding awfully like a Red Sox fan. I need a shower).

The big-ticket news item of the day is the passage of the bill eliminating the statute of limitations for civil suits in child sexual assault cases. It’s not criminal, per se, but a stupid idea nonetheless.

A statewide ban the box proposal was called for a vote, but derailed and then “held”, which is lege-speak for killed.

For the second year, a bill seeking to reduce the zone around schools within which drug offenses triggered an enhanced penalty from 1500 feet to 200 feet. In addition, the penalty would have been triggered only for sales made within school hours. This was a much needed bill and I’m sad that it died.

I’m sure there are others that I’ve missed. Which bill did you want to see make it out of committee and which bill are you glad/mad didn’t?

Monday Morning Jumpstart

You know the drill:

Now, back to work you lot.