When it’s a strangulation. Yes, as of 2008, the Connecticut legislature has created the crime of “Strangulation” (I’d link to it, but it isn’t up on the website yet).
Is it redundant? What does it really mean? Let’s find out! The first step, of course, is to conduct an elements analysis. There are two degrees of strangulation, both felonies. Let’s start with Strangulation in the First Degree:
(a) A person is guilty of strangulation in the first degree when such person commits strangulation in the second degree as provided in section 53a-64bb and (1) in the commission of such offense, such person (A) uses or attempts to use a dangerous instrument, or (B) causes serious physical injury to such other person, or (2) such person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section or section 53a-64bb.
Huh? Okay, let’s look at Strangulation in the Second Degree (53a-64bb):
(a) A person is guilty of strangulation in the second degree when such person restrains another person by the neck or throat with the intent to impede the ability of such other person to breathe or restrict blood circulation of such other person and such person impedes the ability of such other person to breathe or restricts blood circulation of such other person.
Here’s what I don’t understand. How do you commit strangulation in the second degree without using a “dangerous instrument”? Especially in light of the fact that hands (or fists or feet or limbs) may be “dangerous instruments”: Continue reading
Now, now, rest your beating heart. I don’t really oppose abolition of the death penalty (don’t be silly). It is merely this abomination of a bill that I oppose. This bill was scheduled for a public hearing today, but given the gruesome weather we had, the hearing has been postponed to Wednesday.
The bill calls for prospective abolition of the death penalty. It is precisely this hackneyed idea that I cannot in good conscience support. Here is the pertinent new subsection of the bill:
Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 53a-46a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
(a) A person shall be subjected to the penalty of death for a capital felony committed prior to the effective date of this section only if a hearing is held in accordance with the provisions of this section.
That’s one of the most absurd pieces of legislation that I have seen in a bit. There are currently 10 (11?) members of CT’s death row and there are many, many more “capital” prosecutions currently pending in the State of CT. None of those would fall under this new bill and all of those defendants would still be subject to the death penalty. Continue reading
This post was initially titled “knock me over with a feather” because the CT Supreme Court actually granted [concurrence] a habeas corpus petition today on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. But to go on and on about that would be petty and I am not a petty person, so I’ll restrict my glee to these opening sentences and instead focus on the merits of the claim instead: that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present testimony from 4 neutral eyewitnesses who would have supported the third-party culpability defense.
If nothing else, this decision serves as a primer on the law of third-party culpability, so it’s more for me than you.
As with everything else, the inquiry starts and ends with relevance: Continue reading
I know no one asked, but I am nothing if not a bloviator, so these are my suggestions for reducing (even in small part) the current budget deficit that CT faces. In the style of a letter to our Governor.
Dear Governor Rell,
You and I haven’t always gotten along. In fact, it’s no secret that I don’t like your views on criminal justice and your disregard for the “rule of law”. But these are strange times and strange times make strange bedfellows – or in our case, strange letter writers and recipients.
So, in the spirit of bi-partisanship so convincingly advocated for by our C-in-C, I propose the following changes that could save the State some money, even if it isn’t much. Perhaps it can save a job or two. Continue reading
Ever since the Governor announced her proposed budget earlier this week, the cost-cutting proposals have received a lot of scrutiny both in the press and on the web. So it is only in this troublesome climate that eliminating a measure that would reduce incarceration costs can be considered a cost-saving measure.
One of the things she mentioned in her speech was that, in order to save money, 130 “obsolete” laws would be repealed. An interesting idea, to be sure, until you look at one of the statutes on that list. That would be Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-125d. If you’re too lazy to click on the link, I’ll tell you what it is: the deportation parole statute. Continue reading
It was a longshot, but by definition, it means that it was worth a shot. The CT Supreme Court recently held in State v. Carrasquillo that mandatory-minimum sentences for juvenile offenders don’t violate the Eight Amendment to the Constitution. This properly should be considered a companion case to the “Life without parole is not cruel and unusual” decision from a few months ago (my post on that decision here).
Like the previous case, the defendant in this case relies heavily on Roper v. Simmons. The defendant argued that juvenile possess characteristics different from adults that make the application of a mandatory-minimum sentence unconstitutional. The defendant did not argue that juveniles cannot be sentenced to 30, 40 or even 50 years in prison, but that a sentencing scheme that deprives a judge the ability to take into consideration the mental development of a teen and sentence less than 25 years is cruel and unusual punishment.
Once again, the court relies on a tested phrase to justify its decision: death is different. Roper spoke only to death, not to any other punishment and thus is inapplicable.
This, in my opinion, is too literal a reading of Roper. While Roper may have dealt only with the death penalty, the studies cited in Roper should have some applicability in the general field of juvenile punishment. Continue reading
Folks, don’t ever again say I don’t call things. I called this.
Finally, it seems that legislators might be getting “smart” on drugs and drug crimes. And no, the impetus isn’t a wake up call on the inherent unfairness of the drug crimes and the racially disproportionate impact they have. It’s the economy, stupid.
Sen. Toni Harp, chairwoman of the powerful appropriations committee, and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney hope economics will succeed where other arguments have failed in convincing their colleagues that the costs of prosecuting and punishing pot smokers is an expense Connecticut can no longer afford.
“We’ve got to take a strong look at what we want to pay for as a state,” said Harp, D- New Haven, who with Looney is co-sponsoring a bill that would punish low-level marijuana users with a fine, not a criminal charge.
“To waste our resources on this small problem is not a good use of the people’s money.”
Now, they’re not going as far as I would go, so simmer down (and you know who you are). The proposed bill would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana – essentially what Massachussetts did this past November. People found using that small an amount would be fined: akin to a parking ticket. Continue reading