Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Double Standard

[click here] for Bad Cop News, Connecticut. Police Misconduct at its finest.

Former Danbury mayor receives warning after crash
Eriquez hit utility pole

By Eugene Driscoll | Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 06/28/2008 08:18:05 AM EDT

DANBURY, Connecticut -- Police issued a verbal warning to Gene Eriquez Monday after the former mayor crashed into a utility pole, leaving 530 nearby customers without power for two hours.

The accident happened at about 10 p.m., according to Danbury Police Capt. Robert Myles.

Eriquez, 55, of Starrs Plain Road, told police he was driving north on East Pembroke Road when a speeding car traveling in the other direction entered his lane.

"He apparently took some evasive action to the right, struck a telephone pole in front of 18 East Pembroke," Myles said.

Eriquez, who was not injured and declined medical attention at the scene, received a verbal warning for failing to stay in his lane.

Danbury Police Chief Al Baker said police smelled alcohol on the former mayor's breath but did not conduct a field sobriety test.

"I talked to the supervisor that was assigned to the accident," Baker said. "He said that there was an odor of alcohol, but that there was no obvious physical impairment and they did not feel alcohol was a factor in the accident."

The crash snapped an AT&T utility pole which held an electrical transformer and knocked out power to 530 Connecticut Light & Power customers for about two hours.

City officials said a state hazardous materials team was called to the scene to deal with the smashed electrical transformer.

The front end of Eriquez's 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee was damaged, but the former mayor was out of the vehicle -- shaken up but lucid -- and on his cell phone immediately after the accident, according to a resident who observed the scene from the balcony of his residence at 20 East Pembroke Road.

About a dozen people came out of their homes after hearing the impact from the crash.

Eriquez, a popular local politician, served 12 years as mayor of Danbury before opting not to seek a seventh two-year term in 2001.

This is the second time Eriquez has been involved in a car accident in Danbury, reportedly had alcohol on his breath but was not asked by police to take a field sobriety test, according to police.

In November 2003, Eriquez crashed his Jeep into the parking garage at Western Connecticut State University on White Street. He told police he was cut off by another car.

In that accident, police said Eriquez smelled of alcohol and was slurring his words. He was also bleeding heavily.

However, no blood samples were taken to test for alcohol after he was taken to Danbury Hospital, which hampered the investigation, then WestConn Police Chief Neil McLaughlin told The News-Times in February 2004.

University police closed the case three months after the crash. No charges were filed.

Regarding the lack of blood samples, WestConn police said at the time they were more concerned with Eriquez's well-being, as the car accident was first investigated as an assault based on initial eyewitness reports from the scene which proved to be incorrect.

Regarding Monday's accident, Eriquez said he had dinner and a cocktail at Koo at the Lake, a new restaurant at 29 East Pembroke Road.

He left the restaurant and said he was surprised by an oncoming vehicle's blinding headlights as he reached for his cell phone. He veered onto the road's shoulder and then struck the pole.

Asked if he had been given a break by police, Eriquez replied, "I was fine. There was no break to give. The airbag went off, which was shocking, but I was not impaired in anyway. There was nothing to it."

Eriquez said he was perfectly sober, as he was in the 2003 accident. Eriquez pointed out that he was involved in two other accidents in which he was rear-ended on Route 7 in Danbury.

"There was nothing that transpired that was out of the ordinary, other than that they were accidents," Eriquez said. "I understand that as a former public official, there will always be questions, but I'm just trying to go on my way as a private citizen."

Baker noted that officers can use discretion before conducting field sobriety tests. It is a judgement call, Baker said, and in this case, the investigating officer and his supervisor both said alcohol did not play a role in the crash.

"There have to be obvious signs of physical impairment. You could have a glass of wine and have an odor of intoxicants on you," he said. "You certainly still have complete control of your faculties. You are not legally intoxicated."

In Eriquez's case, Baker said, "He hit a telephone pole and knocked down some wires, but you also have an explanation that there was a phantom vehicle in his lane."

The accident report states Eriquez was unable to get a description of the vehicle because it was dark.

"He had to take evasive action," the chief said. "The severity of the telephone pole and the wires coming down may not necessarily relate to any type of odor of intoxicants."

Investigating Officer Michael Iaquinto did not complete a written report immediately after the Monday night accident, which is not unusual. He then had the next three days off.

However, Danbury police called the officer into work Wednesday night to complete the report, which The News-Times obtained Friday from the records division -- one day after Myles briefed a reporter on its contents.

Contact Eugene Driscoll


or at (203) 731-3332.


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Rogue cop stories [click here]

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My reasons for wanting to go to Washington, DC [click here]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Just in by email:


An Article
JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS FULL DISCLOSURE LAW Proposed Law To Require Justices, Judges and Other Judicial and Administrative Officers to Disclose Conflicts of Interests
April 14, 2008

By Richard I. Fine

Sacramento, California - Dear AHRC Members and Readers:

America needs a just judiciary and we all need to get involved to create and maintain a Just Judiciary for ALL.

Very often, citizens and their attorneys find themselves before justices, judges and other public official who because of Conflicts of Interests, subject one or both to grave injustices e.g. death, imprisonments, taking away of children, homes, life savings, wages, work licenses, and even public interest websites to silence the truth.

Richard Fine, a respected lawyer with a 35 year work history in government and private practice, discovered that a judge was consistently ruling against people with cases involving a particular entity that was paying the judge $40,000. a year, Mr. Fine asked to have a different judge hear the case so his client would receive a fair hearing.

The judge retaliated by complaining to the California State Bar, the lawyers union that also control lawyers license to work as lawyers who in turn took away Mr. Fine's license to work as a lawyer in California. When Mr. Fine appealed to the California Supreme Court to review and reinstate his license and sent them their requested fee of $590., the Justices responded with 'Denied' postcard.

As all of the judges in the Los Angeles County Courts are receiving $40,000. from the same entity and making rulings benefiting this entity, Mr. Fine has asked the U S Attorney General for a Grand Jury to Investigation into the Conflicts of Interest in the Los Angeles County Courts.

Mr. Fine:is proposing a law and has drafted sample legislation for citizens to send to America's lawmakers to help curb Conflict of Interest Injustices He has also included a sample a cover letter to use.


..and please sign the • Petition Drive of The United States Citizens of the County of Los Angeles, California request that all court cases be revisited or nullified based on evidence of Financial Conflicts of Interest and Fraud committed by judges throughout the United States.


I was in Connecticut, yesterday, and was in close proximity to 3 Homeland Security Officers. They were clearly marked as such with insignias, etc. Were they stalking me, or just wasting taxpayer dollars?

It is dangerous to have operatives operating in secret with a hidden agenda.

It has gotten so bad, Homeland Security Officers are in schools to accuse 13 year old girls of being lesbians for having passed notes to other girls:

I plan on going to Washington, DC, July 12, to share [this] with other media and politicians.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The new citizen journalists keeping them on their toes

There are more witnesses with cameras than ever before ...

Opening thoughts and questions

A hundred years ago in Boston, the Congo Reform Association published a pamphlet by Mark Twain called "King Leopold's Soliloquy, A Defense of His Congo Rule." The text takes the form of a monologue by the Belgian monarch, as he reads through a stack of protest literature, describing crimes perpetrated by his colonial agents against his Congolese subjects: torture, abduction, enslavement, starvation, mutilation, extermination. "Blister the meddlesome missionaries!" the king fulminates. "They seem to be always around, always spying, always eye-witnessing the happenings; and everything they see they commit to paper." But, even as he rails, Leopold comforts himself with the boast that he has never come across a critic (however truthful) whom he could not discredit, stifle, or convert by the application of force or cash. Then he comes upon a pamphlet that contains photographs of mutilated Congolese, and he quakes before the evidence of this "most powerful enemy" - "the incorruptible Kodak":

The only witness I have encountered in my long experience that I couldn't bribe... the pictures get sneaked around everywhere, in spite of all we can do to ferret them out and suppress them. Ten thousand pulpits and ten thousand presses are saying the good word for me all the time and placidly and convincingly denying the mutilations. Then that trivial little Kodak, that a child can carry in its pocket, gets up, uttering never a word, and knocks them dumb!

But even as he frets about the dangers of photography, and sees himself exposed in the grisly images of his mutilated subjects, the old Belgian discovers the true consolation of the political criminal. After all, he tells himself, the world's response to the pictures will surely be to shudder and turn away. With that thought he bucks himself up, defiant as ever. "Why certainly," he says. "That is my protection... I know the human race."

Shuddering and turning away. We did it again at Abu Ghraib.


NAACP goes after bad judges

The Norwalk, Connecticut NAACP asked for the removal of two judges accused of bullying minority defendants.
[from here]

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nepotism and Corruption in the Connecticut Judicial Branch?

[February 11, 2015, post on Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Chase T. Rogers not being re-instated and investigated]

Audio interview of Andrea Wilison by Steven G. Erickson uploaded Dec. 22, 2009:

You can be jailed for just driving through Connecticut if judges and lawyers think they can get away with robbing you blind [more]

Comments to an online Newspaper:

A concerned citizen
Meriden, CT
Caruso should start with his own cousin, Edna Press, who was given the position of official court reporter in Stamford. The position required that the person be a practicing court reporter. Ms. Press was not. Before being employed only as a court monitor, not reporter, she was a day care worker, check her tax return records. Ms. Press had not done court reporting in years. Ms. Press advised one of her employees in Stamford to move to Bridgeport in order to be able to bill for mileage by being outside of the district. The employee fraudulently stated that she lived in Bridgeport for three months, before actually moving to Bridgeport, and was paid for that mileage. Instead of being fired, Ms. Press has now been elevated to Supervisor of Transcript Services, a top management position, with pay increase, and probably a state car, and yet is still "stationed" in Stamford for her convenience, and not in Hartford, although does have her new title.

Mr. Caruso's cousin's daughter, K Mulvihill, just recently acquired the position as "caseflow coordinator trainee." Ms. Press and Ms. Mulvihill are very close, personal friends with Mr. D'Alesio, the executive director for Judicial, number three in command in the State. The position of caseflow coordinator in Danbury was posted at 58k a year, yet the posting for "case flow coordinator trainee," in New Haven, the job K. Mulvihill just recently acquired, was posted for 38k with an asterisk, stating if you had a law degree, the pay was 68k. Let's all guess what her starting salary will be. Nice wedding present, Joe. Those in positions of authority in judicial continually alter the job classifications and qualifications as they deem suitable for their needs in supplying these upper management positions to their friends and family. It is an abuse of authority, it is corrupt, it is discriminatory, illegal, and abusive, in addition to being a gross waste of funds of Connecticut tax payers.

Hamden, CT
Gov. Rell, Chief Justice, Senators...Stop the corruption in the State Judicial Department. Those in positions of authority have been milking the judicial branch for years now, giving top management positions to their friends and family, all for personal gain...they are bleeding the taxpayers and the State dry...we don't need more deputy directors, program managers, executive supervisors...we need the workers in the courtrooms...CLEAN HOUSE NOW--DO THE RIGHT THING!

Unhappy Union Activist
As a taxpayer I am outraged. Where is the justice? From the sound of it, certainly not in the Judicial Branch!

Derby, CT
There is so much nepotism in the Judicial Branch it is sickening. If your relative is a Judge, you are a shoe in for the top paying jobs. There are no tests administered for jobs, just send in your application w/resume and a phone call from your relative and you got the job!! High paying jobs are given to people without any college education. What message does this send to young people? No one even checks for high school diplomas!! Wake up Governor and clean house in Judicial.

Joined: 19 hrs ago
Comments: 6
Rockfall, CT
I think if our leaders continue to fail to deal with these serious issues, then perhaps in November we should remember that when we vote.
Taxes are supposed to help pay for the things we need in our government, not to give a job to someone because they are related to or friends with someone.

Chris Komuves
I'm very happy this bill finally was passed. But when you take a step back and think about it, it's pretty insane that any public official ever who was removed from office for taking bribes would ever still be paid a pension afterwards.

The allegations of nepotism in our state judiciary made my other commenters are disturbing as well. Does this bill address those sorts of ethics violations? I really wish this article actually stated what the bill that was passed actually does in detail. Is it a comprehensive ethics bill, or just a narrow scope bill to deny pensions to convicted bribe-takers?

New Haven CT
Hamden, CT
It is absolutely disgraceful that judicial workers who do their job and do it well with professionalism and dedication and have the qualifications are unable to attain a promotion not because they don't deserve it but only because someone much less qualified has "the juice" with the powers that be who will ultimately rubberstamp their promotion. Knowledge is no longer a precursor. The old saying It's not what you know but who you know is alive and thriving in the Judicial Branch within the State of Connecticut. To you, Mr. Joseph D'Alesio, and those of you in management enjoying the spoils of your deceipt, your corrupt behavior, and your disregard for those of us who do not matter in your desire to fatten the wallets of your families and friends, when will you have a conscience? I believe you collectively never will until your actions are scrutinized by an outside agency and you're held accountable. Only then will people like myself and the many others who man the wheels of justice day in and day out will truly believe in justice.

Ralph Riglisi
Wallingford, CT
I am very troubled by the allegations made regarding Edna Press being a daycare worker prior to her position in upper-level management with the State of Connecticut.


If these allegations are proven to be true, then
it is indeed time to clean house starting with Mr. Joe D'Alessio himself. Can we get the Connecticut Post to follow this growing story???
Signed, a disgusted taxpayer

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[click here] for the Connecticut Post piece

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Connecticut Judicial Branch Whistleblowers tell of felonies being committed within the branch:

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[click here] for my recent email to Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell and CT Atty General Richard Blumenthal

[click here] for my videos on

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Should judges and lawyers have a license to steal? [more]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sally Roberts on the Connecticut Grand Jury System:

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The need for States to have a Grand Jury System as it once existed to protect all Americans:

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Connecticut’s Grand Jury System
March 4, 2006
By: Sally Roberts


Grand Jury System

By Richard R. Brown, Esq. & Sally A. Roberts, Esq.

I. Introduction

A. Definition and Nature

B. Origin and History

C. Grand Jury takes root in Connecticut

D. Criticism of the Grand Jury

II. Constitutional Grand Jury

A. Grand Jury Clause of United States Constitution

B. Constitutional Grand Jury in Connecticut

III. Common Law Investigatory Grand Jury

IV. Statutory Investigatory Inquiry (“One Man Grand Jury”)

A. Overview

B. Subpoena Powers

C. Right to be Present in the Grand Jury Room

D. Presence of Counsel before Grand Jury

E. Rules of Evidence

F. Alternate Jurors

G. Guidance from Federal Law

H. Immunity from Prosecution

I. Handwriting Exemplars

J. Secrecy of Proceedings

K. Testimony of Accused during Grand Jury Proceedings

L. Transcript of Indicting Grand Jury

M. Transcript of Investigatory Grand Jury

N. Findings and Record of Investigatory Grand Jury

O. Public Disclosure of Investigatory Grand Jury Findings

P. Access to Transcript of Proceedings by State’s Attorney

Q. Access to Transcript of Proceedings by Witness

R. Access to Transcript of Proceedings by Defendant

S. Use of Defendant’s Testimony from an Investigatory Grand Jury

I. Introduction

A. Definition and Nature

A grand jury[1] is a body of qualified persons selected and organized for the purpose of inquiring into the commission of crimes within the county or jurisdiction from which its members are drawn, determining the probability of a particular person’s guilt, and finding indictments against supposed offenders. It is an inquisitorial or investigative body of ancient origin, charged primarily with the duty of investigating infractions of the criminal law occurring within the county or jurisdiction. It is not the final arbiter of guilt or innocence. A grand jury is a part of the machinery of government, having for its object the detection and punishment of crime. It is an adjunct or appendage of the court under whose supervision it is impaneled, and it has no existence aside from that court.[2]

B. Origin and History

Originally transported to America from England by the early colonists, the grand jury has historically enjoyed considerable affection in this country as a shield or buffer against unfounded or unjust prosecutions. As explained in 1884 by the United States Supreme Court in Hurtado v. California:

The right of individual citizens to be secure from an open and public accusation of crime, and from the trouble, expense, and anxiety of a public trial before a probable cause is established by the presentment and indictment of a grand jury, in case of high offences, is justly regarded as one of the securities to the innocent against hasty, malicious, and oppressive public prosecutions, and as one of the ancient immunities and privileges of English liberty.[3]

These sentiments have been echoed by the Connecticut Supreme Court: “The purpose of a requirement of an indictment by a grand jury is, no doubt, to prevent the harassment and suffering of an innocent person by compelling him to appear in court to respond to malicious or unfounded charges. Kennedy v. Walker, 135 Conn. 262, 260 (1948), aff’d, 337 U.S. 901, reh’g denied, 337 U.S. 934 (1949). See also State v. Menillo, 159 Conn. 264, 275 (1970).

The grand jury’s history as an Anglo institution is believed to have originated with a command of Henry II at the Assize of Clarendon in 1166 for twelve knights, or twelve “good and lawful men” of every hundred and four lawful men, to disclose under oath the names of those in the community believed guilty of criminal offenses.[4] Gradually grand jury accusations began to be premised on information supplied by others as the grand jurors took to examining witnesses in private; by the time its role as a shielding device was first established in 17th century England, the grand jury had been operating in an investigatory capacity for at least three hundred years.[5]

C. Grand Jury takes root in Connecticut

In Connecticut, the grand jury originated during the colonial period, where it became the practice by custom and later by statute for the court to summon grand juries in all cases where an accused was charged with a capital crime. In this capacity, the grand jury appears to have achieved great popularity by ignoring technical guilt and refusing to indict in the numerous cases were (as was common in that period) capital punishment was imposed for relatively minor offenses. [6]

In the preface to the first volume of the Connecticut Reports, Thomas Day wrote of the history of the grand jury in Connecticut.[7] The earliest enactment in regard to grand juries was passed in 1643, which provided that a grand jury of twelve men was required to assemble annually in September “or as many & oft as the Governor or Courte shall thinke meet” in order to “make presentment” of any crimes in their jurisdiction of which they had knowledge.[8] The Superior Court was established as a court of general jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters in 1711,[9] and in 1784,[10] the Superior Court and the County Courts were authorized by statute to order a grand jury of eighteen chosen from the Grand Jurors of the respective towns “to enquire after and present such criminal offenses as should be cognizable by said courts respectively, where there should be occasion.”[11]

Under this statute, which remains essentially unchanged to this day,[12] the inquisitorial powers of the common-law grand jury have been utilized by state prosecutors to conduct investigations not preceded by formal charges into complex criminal schemes involving public officials.[13]

D. Criticism of the Grand Jury

Despite its popularity, the grand jury has been attacked as inefficient and incompetent. In the late nineteenth century, a movement toward abolition of the grand jury took hold, which was fueled in part by the United States Supreme Court’s refusal to impose the Fifth Amendment’s indictment requirement on the states as a matter of fourteenth amendment due process.[14] This movement culminated ultimately with the abolishment of grand juries in Great Britain.[15]

Much of the criticism has centered on the grand jury’s perceived role as a “rubber stamp” for a prosecutor who drafts the indictments, determines the evidence to be reviewed, provides legal advice, examines witnesses, and otherwise controls the timing of a proceeding, which takes place in secret and ex parte and therefore without benefit of the defendant’s input and presence. In addition, the United States Supreme Court’s refusal[16] to invalidate federal indictments based entirely on hearsay evidence, and the ensuing judicial reluctance to prescribe the nature and quantity of evidence required for grand jury accusation, has been regarded as a severe impediment to the quality of grand jury review. In its place, many critics advocate use of a preliminary hearing, conducted before a single knowledgeable judicial official in a public adversarial setting, as simpler, cheaper, relatively impervious to procedural attack, and much more effective and reliable as a screening device.[17]

Proponents contend, on the other hand, that the grand jury offers a more independent and democratically desirable screening alternative, since it invests a panel of anonymous lay representatives with authority to define the appropriate exercise of prosecutorial power in light of community notions of fairness, in a setting insulated from public pressure and criticism.[18]

Many of the criticisms outlined above have less impact when applied to Connecticut, where the independence and impartial character of the grand jury is supported and buttressed by many unique features.[19]

The durability of the Connecticut grand jury is highlighted by the virtual absence, until recently, of legislative enactments governing its powers and operation, despite the fact that grand juries have functioned in Connecticut since the Colonial period. With the exception of the relatively recent statutes governing grand jury transcripts and witness immunity, the only sources of authority defining the function of the grand jury prior to the adoption of the Practice Book Rules in 1976 have been Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-45 (enacted in 1784 and essentially unchanged to this day), and the original constitutional provision mandating prosecution by indictment for capital offenses.

II. Constitutional Grand Jury

A. Grand Jury Clause of United States Constitution

The Grand Jury Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that, except in certain military cases, “no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.”[20] While the Fifth Amendment's grand jury indictment clause imposes certain constraints on prosecutions in federal courts,[21] this provision of the Bill of Rights has not been incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Lanfranco v. Murray, 313 F.3d 112, 118 (2d Cir. 2002); Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 688 n.25 (1972) (citing Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 534-35 (1884));[22] Fields v. Soloff, 920 F.2d 1114, 1118 (2d Cir. 1990). [23] “The Hurtado case has been followed or accepted as authoritative in a long line of decisions of the United States Supreme Court.” Kennedy v. Walker, 135 Conn. 262, 273 (1948).

B. Constitutional Grand Jury in Connecticut

When Connecticut’s constitution was originally adopted in 1818, it required that prosecutions for certain offenses be commenced by grand jury indictment: “And no person shall be holden to answer for any crime, the punishment of which may be death or imprisonment for life, unless on a presentment or an indictment of a grand jury; except in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war, or public danger.” Conn. Const. art. 1, § 9 (1818).[24] From 1818 until 1982, that provision remained substantially unchanged.[25] All persons charged with a crime punishable on conviction by death or life imprisonment had a constitutional right to a grand jury determination that there was probable cause to believe the charge before being required to stand trial.

This requirement for grand jury screening of capital charges was eliminated from the Connecticut Constitution in 1982, and replaced with a requirement for a preliminary hearing as a result of a state-wide voter referendum.[26] The amendment provides in relevant part, that: “Section 8 of article first of the constitution is amended to read as follows: .... No person shall be held to answer for any crime, punishable by death or life imprisonment, unless upon probable cause shown at a hearing in accordance with procedures prescribed by law....” (Emphasis added.)

The Constitutional Amendment contemplated a probable cause hearing “in accordance with procedures contemplated by law.” However, on November 24, 1982, the date the Amendment was certified by the Secretary of State, there was neither statutory nor Practice Book “procedures” in place and the legislation establishing a statutory right to grand jury indictment, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-45, had not yet been repealed.[27] The Supreme Court resolved the issues of the effective dates of the new legislation in State v. Sanabria, 192 Conn. 671 (1984), which held that although amendment seventeen became a part of the constitution on November 24, 1982, it did not take effect until May26, 1983, the effective date of enabling legislation, and that defendants’ right to a probable cause hearing did not vest until that date. All defendants, therefore, who were indicted before May 26, 1983, had no right to any further pretrial determination of probable cause.[28]

The repeal of the grand jury provision of article first, § 8 of the constitution, however, did not simultaneously nullify the statutory grand jury provisions that complemented the former article. See Conn. Gen. Gen. Stat. § 54-45. It merely substituted a constitutionally mandated court determination of probable cause for what had been a constitutionally mandated grand jury indictment. The legislature’s authority to enact a statute providing for grand jury indictment, as § 54-45 did, did not depend on the repealed constitutional provision. Subsequently, portions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-45 [29] were repealed in 1983 and put in place as Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-46a, a statutory provision establishing procedures for a probable cause hearing for persons charged with crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment.

III. Common Law Investigatory Grand Jury

The grand jury is a creature of common law and was adopted by statute in Connecticut long before it was mandated by the first constitution in 1818.[30] Grand jury procedure has been almost entirely governed by the common law in Connecticut.[31] Throughout this period, there also existed a statutory right to a grand jury indictment as a precondition to trial for such offenses. Before the 1983 amendments, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-45 (b) provided, in relevant part: “No person shall be put to plea or held to trial for any crime the punishment of which may be death or imprisonment for life unless an indictment has been found against him for such crime by a grand jury legally impaneled and sworn....”

IV. Statutory Investigatory Inquiry (“One Man Grand Jury”)[32]

A. Overview

In comparison to indicting grand juries, which have long existed at common law, the investigatory grand jury is purely a creature of statute.[33] Originally enacted in 1941,[34] the legislature instituted far-reaching procedural reforms in 1985.[35] Because the investigatory grand jury has no common law power, its powers necessarily are limited by the language of the enabling statute which authorizes its creation, now codified at Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 54-47a through 54-47i.[36]

This statute provides for grand jury inquiries by one or more judges of the Superior Court, who sit as grand jurors and exercise the same powers as the common-law investigative grand jury, except for the absence of authority to return indictments. The One Man Grand Jury has supplanted the common-law grand jury because of its greater attractiveness as a prosecutorial investigatory tool. The statutory procedure permits the prosecutor to apply directly for the convening of the grand jury; to attend the proceedings accompanied by investigatory staff; to question witnesses directly in the absence of counsel; and to retain control over the charging decision, since grand jurors conducting a judicial inquiry are without authority to make formal accusations. The One Man Grand Jury has enormous power to compel the attendance of virtually any person or object it deems relevant to the subject it was convened to investigate at the behest of the prosecutor and his investigatory staff. Accordingly, it has been hailed by prosecutors as an important, even necessary tool for the investigation of sophisticated, complex criminal schemes when there is good reason for believing that a crime has been committed, but no apparent demonstration that it has.[37]

Supporters of the judicial inquiry contend that it is a superior alternative to the common-law investigative grand jury, since the judge-juror can be expected to exert greater control over the proceedings, and since its activities (most notably, the decision to issue a report) are subject to the supervision and review of the Superior Court. On the other hand, those critical of the inquiry stress that judges, even appointed judges, are more subject to political pressures than a panel of anonymous laymen;[38] that in a non-inquisitorial system such as ours, it is improper and ultimately damaging to judicial prestige to cast judges in an investigative rather than a deliberative role; and that a grand jury composed of professional jurists sacrifices the vital democratic characteristic of an institution traditionally composed of ordinary citizens. Despite repeated constitutional challenges, neither the state nor federal courts have demonstrated any willingness to tamper with the scope or conduct of a statutory judicial inquiry.[39]

An investigating grand jury is not engaged in an adversary proceeding. Neither is an indicting grand jury. The distinction between the two is that “[g]rand-juries [of the indicting type] do not try, but enquire; they do not condemn, but only accuse....” State v. Wolcott, 21 Conn. 272, 280 (1851). Investigating grand juries neither try nor condemn nor accuse; they only inquire and report. [40]

B. Subpoena Powers

The attendance of witnesses and the production of documents at such investigation may be compelled by subpoena. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47f (b).

C. Right to be Present in the Grand Jury Room

The right to be present in the grand jury room during the interrogation of witnesses was first accorded a suspect in Lung’s Case, 1 Conn. 428 (1815), and has been continued by the “liberality of [the Connecticut] practice’ State v. Fasset, 16 Conn. 457, 468 (1844), up to the present time.[41] “While the accused is not, as a matter of right, entitled to be present within the grand jury room, in practice ... he is allowed the privilege of being present in the grand jury room during the taking of evidence by the grand jury although not during their deliberations.”[42]

D. Presence of Counsel before Grand Jury

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47f (d) presently states: “At the hearing, the official conducting the investigation shall inform the witness that he has the right to have counsel present and to consult with such counsel.” However, there is no reported decision indicating that the witness has the right to counsel inside the hearing room itself.[43] “It is well established that an accused person has no constitutional right to the presence of counsel before a grand jury. ... This is ‘the settled law of this state.’... Lung’s Case, 1 Conn. 428 (1815). Federal authorities take the same view.” State v. Canady, 187 Conn. 281, 289-90 (1982) (Citations omitted.)[44] “[T]he state’s attorney submits a list of witnesses, but neither he nor any counsel for the accused is in the grand jury room.... The grand jury proceedings ... are conducted in secret.” State v. Coffee, 56 Conn. 399, 410 (1888). “Recently, we had occasion to examine the grand jury procedure in this state, in State v. Menillo, 159 Conn. 264, 274 (1970. In that case, we reaffirmed that an accused has no right to the presence of counsel during the proceedings.” See State v. Stallings, 154 Conn. 272, 282-83 (1966).”[45]

Although the issue of the right to counsel is a question of federal constitutional law, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held that the grand jury is not a “critical stage” of a criminal proceeding under Connecticut law, nor does the suspect become “the accused” until an indictment is returned against him. Stallings, id. [46]As summarized by the Second Circuit: “If ....every suspect whose case is before the grand jury, is granted the right to be accompanied by his counsel while he is in the grand jury room, it would inevitably and speedily follow that the State’s Attorney would also be granted the right to be there to present the State’s case. The Connecticut grand jury would thereupon become an adversary proceeding, and it would entirely lose its character and purpose. We do not find that there is any constitutional mandated which requires or permits the petitioner to have his attorney with him when petitioner exercises his right to be present in the jury room during the questioning of witnesses by the Connecticut grand jury.” Cobbs v. Robinson, 528 F.2d 1331, 1340 (2d Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 424 U.S. 947 (1976).

E. Rules of Evidence

The Connecticut Code of Evidence is explicitly made inapplicable to an investigatory grand jury.[47] Moreover, because such a jury seeks only to find “probable cause,” its proceedings are not governed by any other “technical rules” of evidence.[48]

F. Alternate Jurors

Several alternate jurors may be added to the grand jury panel, in the discretion of the court.[49]

G. Guidance from Federal Law

Connecticut courts have traditionally sought guidance from federal case law on issues involving grand jury proceedings.[50]

H. Immunity from Prosecution

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47a empowers a state’s attorney to grant immunity from prosecution in order to obtain testimony from a reluctant witness. The protection from prosecution is coextensive with the privilege of immunity and completely fulfills all federal constitutional requirements.[51] The immunity is intended to provide witnesses compelled to testify in criminal proceedings against others with protection at least equivalent to that available under the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination.[52] The protection afforded by this provision, like that inherent in the privilege, is expressly restricted to the immunized witness. Historically, the statute has been used only for prosecution witnesses, and courts have routinely rejected claims that the immunity should also be granted to a defense witness.[53]

I. Handwriting Exemplars

Neither the Fifth Amendment for the Fourth Amendment protects a witness before a grand jury from submitting handwriting exemplars. In re Fernandez, 31 Conn. Supp. 53 (1974).

J. Secrecy of Proceedings

As a matter of history, grand jury proceedings have always been presumptively secret.[54] The Connecticut Supreme Court has stated: “We have not in the past distinguished between investigating and indicting grand juries in recognizing the need to encourage citizen cooperation which underlies the expectation that grand juries normally operate in secrecy. We decline to do so now.”[55] The traditional secrecy of grand jury proceedings is well entrenched in the common law - “older than our Nation itself.”[56] Historically, the only exceptions to this rule of grand jury secrecy have been in a trial for perjury committed by a witness before the grand jury, or impeachment of a witness at trial who has testified differently from his grand jury testimony. State v. Fasset, 16 Conn. 457, 467 (1844).

The secrecy of the testimony obtained during proceedings before the grand jury remain inviolate unless, in the discretion of the court, it is persuaded that statements made are inconsistent with statements made at trial, or that testimony is needed to impeach a witness or to attack the credibility of a witness.[57] In determining whether to pierce the secrecy of grand jury proceedings in cases where the testimony of a witness at trial is different from his testimony before the grand jury, the court may consider the extent to which other evidence can adequately provide the jury with the theory that the introduction of the grand jury testimony would provide.[58]

Grand jury proceedings have repeatedly been exempted from recently expanded rights of public access to public records and proceedings. Although constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and freedom of speech provide public access to many governmental proceedings, these constitutional rights do not apply to proceedings before grand juries.[59] The constitution confers upon a defendant in a criminal case the right to a public trial, and hence affords access to the public, but no such right pertains to the inquiry of an investigatory grand jury, which is not a criminal proceeding.[60] The Freedom of Information Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-7, et seq., expressly exempts records that pertain to “the detection or investigation of crime.” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-19 (b) (3).

K. Testimony of Accused during Grand Jury Proceedings

Since the grand jury does not consider the guilt or innocence of the accused but only determines whether he or she should stand trial, the accused is not allowed to testify or to introduce evidence tending to prove his innocence except insofar as his questioning of the state’s witnesses may disclose the weakness of the state’s case.[61]

L. Transcript of Indicting Grand Jury

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-45a (b), which governs indicting grand juries, expressly prohibits subsequent use of the witness’s testimony in the state’s case-in-chief.[62] This section applies to grand jury proceedings ordered pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-45, which, while still “on the books,” has been essentially supplanted by the probable cause hearing established by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-46a (after the 1982 constitutional amendment which provided for such a hearing in lieu of grand jury indictment). Thus, by its terms, § 54-45a (b) does not apply to investigatory grand juries appointed in accordance with § 54-47a, et seq.

M. Transcript of Investigatory Grand Jury

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g governs the disclosure of and access to the record of the investigation. A hearing is required to determine whether disclosure of the transcripts is in the public interest.[63] Investigatory grand jury’s records are open to the public unless the court orders that all or a part of such records not be disclosed. Even where such nondisclosure order is entered, witnesses may obtain the record of their own testimony, unless the court finds that the best interests of justice do not permit it. The accused also has a right to a record of his own testimony. Any person aggrieved by an order of the investigatory grand jury has an immediate right to appeal such order to the appellate court.[64]

N. Findings and Record of Investigatory Grand Jury

Within sixty days of the conclusion of the investigation, the investigatory grand jury is to file its findings with the court. The findings and record include the report of the grand juror, the transcript and documentation submitted to the grand juror.[65] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g (a) authorizes “any person” to file an application with the grand jury panel for disclosure of any part of the record and empowers the panel to grant such application if, after notice and a hearing, it determines, by a majority vote, that disclosure would be in the public interest.[66]

O. Public Disclosure of Investigatory Grand Jury Findings

The legislative genealogy of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g reveals a distinct trend away from the policy of rigid nondisclosure in grand jury matters. Prior to the 1985 legislative changes, the authority to release grand jury reports was vested in the Superior Court:[67] In 1985, a grand jury “panel”[68] was empowered, by majority vote, to disclose the findings and record upon a determination that such disclosure would be in the “public interest.”[69] The standard for release prior to the 1985 amendment was “a particularized need.”[70]

In 1988, the legislature cut back even further on the confidentiality of the grand juror’s findings and conclusions by establishing, in effect, a rebuttable presumption of disclosure. The amendment provided, in relevant part, that “the finding of the investigation shall be open to public inspection and copying ... seven calendar days after it has been filed, unless within that period the chief state’s attorney or a state’s attorney ... [requests] that a part or all of such finding not be so disclosed. The finding may include all or such part of the record as the investigatory grand jury may determine....”[71]

P. Access to Transcript of Proceedings by State’s Attorney

The state’s attorney may be allowed to receive the record and transcripts of the grand jury proceedings upon request and without a hearing. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g (a).[72]

Q. Access to Transcript of Proceedings by Witness

A witness may be allowed access to the transcript of his own testimony, regardless of whether there has been an order of nondisclosure. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g (f).

R. Access to Transcript of Proceedings by Defendant

A defendant also has an absolute right to obtain the transcript of his own testimony, regardless of whether there has been an order of nondisclosure. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g (g). However, a criminal defendant is not entitled to the transcripts of testimony of any and all grand jury witnesses on demand. “ ‘A defendant has no absolute right to inspect investigative grand jury testimony for the purpose of assisting him in preparation of a defense.’ State v. Waterman, 7 Conn. App. 326, 345, cert. denied, 200 Conn. 807 (1986).” State v. Rado, 14 Conn. App. 322, 331 (1987).[73]

S. Use of Defendant’s Testimony from an Investigatory Grand Jury

The State’s right of access to the testimony of a grand jury witness includes the right to use that testimony in its case-in-chief in a subsequent criminal prosecution of that witness.[74] Such use by the State of the defendant’s testimony would not violate the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself, where the defendant was advised of his rights immediately prior to testifying before the grand jury, including his Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to answer any question if doing so would have tended to incriminate him.[75] The trial court is not required to find that such disclosure is in the public interest in a subsequent prosecution, since the State has the absolute right to obtain the grand jury testimony from the clerk of the court. The State’s use of the defendant’s testimony given in such proceedings.

[1] Compare a petit jury, usually consisting of 6 or 12 persons, summoned and impaneled in the trial of a specific case. Also termed petty jury; trial jury; common jury.

[2] See generally, 38 Am. Jur. 2d, Grand Jury.

[3] Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 522 (quoting Jones v. Robbins, 74 Mass. 329, 344 (8 Gray) (1867).

[4] Morse, A Survey of the Grand Jury System, 10 Ore. L. Rev. 101, 110 (1931).

[5] Note, The Grand Jury as an Investigatory Body, 74 Harv. L. Rev. 590 (1961); G. Edwards, The Grand Jury (1906).

[6] See Milton Nahum & Lewis Schatz, The Grand Jury in Connecticut, 5 Conn. B.J. 111 (1931).

[7] Day, Preface to Connecticut Reports, 1 Conn. ix (1817).

[8] 1 Col. Rec. 91; Kennedy v. Walker, 135 Conn. 262, 267-68 (1948).

[9] 5 Col. Rec. 238.

[10] Prior to 1784, there was no constitutional or statutory requirement in Connecticut for an indictment by a grand jury as the basis for the trial of one accused by a crime, whatever the nature of the offense. Neither the fundamental orders of 1683, nor the Bill of Rights

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bill Moyers says volumes

[click here] for the video I shot of Moyers in Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In by email:

Add sender to Contacts


Re-release of Paradise Costs—A Victim’s Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse
Marks International Elder Awareness Day; June 15, 2008

NEW YORK, NY: Bennett Blum, M.D., internationally acclaimed forensic and geriatric psychiatrist and an expert in undue influence, has added his pioneering work to that of author Irene A. Masiello in Paradise Costs-A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse, the heart-wrenching story of an infirm, 80-year-old man with Alzheimer's who was taken from his family, stripped of his assets and exploited despite the pleas of his next of kin.

Driven by grim statistics from national elder advocacy groups indicating there may be more than 25 million cases of elder exploitation in America, Dr. Blum and Ms. Masiello have joined forces to inform readers via a compelling true story while providing professional assessment guidelines that are used internationally.

Masiello supports her father's tragic story with his suspicious forensic report exemplifying a terrifying reality facing the elderly in America today. Mario Masiello, a hearing-impaired, honorably discharged, World War II veteran, retired from the NYC Transit Authority and relocated to the quaint town of Walterboro, SC. Twenty years later, his blissful life was ravaged by the death of his wife and by several illnesses including diabetes, Alzheimer's and depression. Paradise Costs tells the chilling true story of the last years of his life when he was "grandpa-napped" from his family by neighbors and "friends."

The American Psychological Association estimates that approximately 2.1 million senior citizens are victims of physical and psychological neglect and abuse every year. Many cases go unreported. Ms. Masiello's objective is to provide a voice to the millions of silent or ignored victims. "I never thought this type of betrayal and brutality could happen in my family," says his daughter. "My experience has made me realize how little people know about the deadly American pandemic that is elder abuse."

Created in a workbook format, Paradise Costs shows Americans how to take action in support of federal legislation to stop elder abuse now. The sample letters and petitions (which are also available at are designed to help readers voice their concerns to federal officials.

"I'm urging participation via our interactive book and web site to lobby legislators to pass the Elder Justice Act now on the floor of both Houses of Congress," says the author. "Hopefully, others will be spared the suffering my father was forced to endure, and their families will not have to look on helplessly in horror as mine did."

Dr. Blum states, "Paradise Costs is a tragic, true-life tale. Unfortunately, the behaviors depicted in this book are all too common. No one knows how often criminals, 'brand new best friends' or family members exploit the elderly…Money has always been associated with the worst of human behavior. Elder financial abuse is no exception. Some of those taking assets from the elderly have been tied to gang violence, prostitution and drug trafficking. Their elderly victims are often subjected to physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse and murder."

Recognizing the difficulty of the aftermath of this tragedy, Ms. Masiello is determined not to let her father's death be in vain. "My goal now is to take my story to the nation and raise awareness of this deplorable social ill that's plaguing America," she says.


Dr. Blum and Ms. Masiello are Members of the Elder Justice Coalition

Revised book includes Dr. Blum's PARADISE-2 & IDEAL models for assessing
undue influence and diminishing capacity.

CONTACT: Irene A. Masiello

CONTACT: Bennett Blum, M.D.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Using the Grand Jury System

to keep Judges, Lawyers, Prosecutors, and Police more honest and working honestly, and in the best interest of the public. [more]

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The National Inoculation Scam

Ten or so victims of the dangerous drug Lyme-rix testified in front of the FDA back in the late 1990's. A dangerous drug was taken off the market. The American Public was not subjected to a vaccine that would have caused harm, suffering, and did not work as promised. The "perps" named in the below video are still involved in Bio-weapons research, testing, and proliferation AND the treatment of contagious and other diseases!

Names named in the Lyme Disease testing and treatment worldwide fraud:

Lyme Disease fraud made simple by showing the patent numbers and what they mean:

Randy Sykes message to Lyme Patients

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