Connecticut was fast becoming a scary place to live. As yesterday’s post shows, residents of a small section of Southbury, a suburban town in Connecticut, were becoming increasingly concerned and paranoid with the news that one of their own was about to take in her brother – a convicted sexual offender – upon his release from prison. Mr. David Pollitt is scheduled to be released tomorrow after serving the full length of his sentence and will embark on a torturous journey of five years’ probation.
Residents of that nook of Southbury, rightly concerned and wrongly outraged, embarked on a full-press lobbying of the Governor to keep this from happening. Scarily, she bit. This morning, she wrote a letter to Attorney General Blumenthal asking him if Mr. Pollitt could be confined beyond his legal discharge date.
While recognizing that Mr. Pollitt has served his sentence and that his release and probation are statutorily governed, we also have a duty to ensure that we have left no stone unturned in safeguarding the safety and welfare of the Southbury residents. Numerous children and elderly residents reside in the Fox Run Drive neighborhood. I am asking that you explore immediately the possibility of filing a motion in Superior Court seeking the delay of Mr. Pollitt’s release. This additional time will allow all interested parties to carefully review all possible safety measures that may be implemented to protect the Southbury residents.
There are several, several problems with this request that I intended to outline in full detail, but in light of recent happenings, will only mention briefly:
First, this exhibits a blatant disregard for law in the State of Connecticut and flouts the Constitutions of both the Constitution State and the United States of America. I cannot imagine that Gov. Rell is not adequately advised as to the illegality of her request.
Second, assuming that she is advised as to the illegality of her request, this can be nothing but blatant political pandering. Which is abhorrable abhorrent. You do not play with people’s liberty to further your political goal.
Third, she makes this request of Attorney General Blumenthal, who has zero standing to request changes in the conditions of probation. An appropriate request would have been one made to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, who I suspect might not have indulged her to the extent the AG did by filing this motion.
Fourth, her request indicates that the State agencies have not had time to evaluate the impact of his release into the community and make adequate preparations to safeguard the community. What, 24 years wasn’t enough to get their act together? [By all accounts, let it be noted, probation has done an excellent job of going out to the community and spending a significant amount of time attempting to assuage the fears of the residents. Paranoia, however, cannot be easily reassured.]
Finally, a half-way house or an in-patient facility is not an alternative form of probation, but an alternative form of incarceration. Mr. Pollitt has fully satisfied his period of incarceration and any such admission to a half-way house or in-patient facility would be the equivalent of keeping him in a correctional facility.
So, as you might know by now, AG Blumenthal did file a motion in New London Superior Court this afternoon, which was, by all accounts, summarily dismissed by Judge Susan Handy. She may not realize it (she probably does), but she has single-handedly saved the rule of law in the “Constitution” state.
Judge Susan Handy told Attorney General Richard Blumenthal that he has no standing to intervene in the case. Blumenthal said he was acting on behalf of Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
[She] said 54-year-old David Pollitt has served his sentence and is entitled to his freedom.
If this motion were granted (or if it is granted on appeal – if they appeal), it will mark the end of the rule of law in Connecticut. What it will signal is that the State has the power to confine individuals beyond their legal sentences for specious reasons.
Gov. Rell has just issued a statement in light of Judge Handy’s ruling:
“I am very disappointed that this reasonable and prudent request was rejected,” she said. “Public safety is our top priority — I empathize completely with the residents of the Fox Run Drive community [in Southbury], and despite this decision I want them to know that everything possible is being done to safeguard their homes and families.
Forgive me if I scoff. I’m sure every community in the State has received such assurances when sex offenders are released to them on a weekly basis.