Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why Connecticut can't be trusted with the Death Penalty

Mary Taylor, the wife of Ronald Taylor, breaks down after hearing the judge's ruling. (STEPHEN DUNN / HARTFORD COURANT / March 24, 2010)

By DAVID OWENS The Hartford Courant

Exonerated Inmates Ordered To Be Set Free

12:16 p.m. EDT, March 24, 2010

VERNON (Connecticut) - Two men who have served 16 years in prison for murder were ordered released today by the judge who overturned their convictions a week ago.

Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr. ruled today in Superior Court in Rockville that 51-year-old Ronald Taylor and 48-year-old George Gould should be freed.

He placed a 10-day delay on his order that will expire April 1, the last business day before the end of the 10-day period.

Fuger set bail at $100,000 non-surety each, meaning that they do not have to post bail to be released but would owe that amount if they fail to appear in court.

On March 17, in a sharply worded ruling, Fuger ordered their "immediate" release after DNA evidence and testimony convinced him that the men did not commit the crime. Prosecutors appealed, and the state Appellate Court ruled Monday that Fuger did not have the authority to order their immediate release from prison and that court rules provide for a "stay" of the order to allow for the filing of appeals.

The two men were convicted of killing New Haven shop owner Eugenio Deleon Vega in 1993.

Joseph Visone, Gould's lawyer, argued that "the interests of justice require" that the men be released. He said he did not believe there were grounds for the state's appeal. "[Fuger] is on solid footing," Visone said.

Peter Tsimbidaros, Taylor's lawyer, said Taylor was being treated for cancer and that his imprisonment is cruel.

Prosecutor Michael O'Hare left the courtroom without saying whether he planned to appeal Fuger's ruling.

Comments posted so far to the Hartford Courant article:

COMMENTS (7) | Add Comment | Back to your story

Cyact, I'd trust a "street hooker" over a prosecutor, most of the time. The court-judicial system creates a climate of sloppiness and dishonesty.
And "street hookers" are as honest a days work as are lawyers.

CatMushroom (03/24/2010, 5:51 PM )

Corrupt Prosecutors, & detectives, Plus all those that got power over the courts. In 04/19/06 A Thompson CT. Men shot two Humans as they were running down on a public RD. After he did the shooting he came back in to his property set fire to a small-old-barn to cover his tracks, and at the same time with help from those that got power-over-the-courts. frame a used car dealer owner, of Arson In this case the shooter name is Joseph S Gionet,Prosecutor name Bonnie R Bentley, Kids In College at W.N.E.C. Julia Bentley & Joseph S Gionet Jr. What could clear the used car dealer owner of any wrong doing will be the shooter Mr. Gionet phone records, In 2007 the judge sign a EX-PARTE for those phone records from 2006, but someone alter that EX-PARTE and the phone records that were presented in court were from 2007,not from 2006, The Chief State's Attorneys Office has been inform,plus the CT. Pubic safety office, The big question is are they going to take action on those that got power over-the-courts. And play "DIRTY"???

cantalicio (03/24/2010, 5:48 PM )

If CT's death penalty advocates had their way with the law and it's practice, they may have been exonerrated posthumously. Heh.

I know, it's not a death penalty case. But the system makes mistakes and these are particularly hard to rectify if the wrongly-accused has been executed in an overly-swift fashion.
Thunderhanded (03/24/2010, 3:48 PM )

What about the Cheshire case where two men committed such a horrific crime, know they did it? I am an advocate for the death penalty in such crimes like this one. Thanks

sandjoem (03/24/2010, 5:19 PM )

You guys are surprised the arrogant Ct prosecutor and court system convicted innocent men? There is allot of arrogance in the state of Connecticut. God bless these two men and their families that NEVER gave up on them. I hope the sue and get millions. It should come out of the pocket the prosecutor that convicted them or maybe this prosecutor should spend time in prison so he can feel what it might be like to be innocent but behind bars. Thanks

sandjoem (03/24/2010, 5:16 PM )

These two guys were in jail for 16 years, by the sole testimony of a street hooker.

cyact (03/24/2010, 4:37 PM )

If CT's death penalty advocates had their way with the law and it's practice, they may have been exonerrated posthumously. Heh.

I know, it's not a death penalty case. But the system makes mistakes and these are particularly hard to rectify if the wrongly-accused has been executed in an overly-swift fashion.

Thunderhanded (03/24/2010, 2:48 PM )

The arrogence of state prosecutor O'Hare to appeal should be grounds for his dismissal. As well as for the original prosecuter & those lying cops. Even the highest courts are stymied by the corrupt prosecutorial corps. They serve themselves,not justice.

ricbee (03/24/2010, 2:22 PM )

Back to your story

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The Rockville Vernon Superior Court, and other Connecticut courts, should be shut down. This blogger, without a record, got sentenced to a year in prison for resisting being mugged at a time when prisons were too crowded to give child molesters raping children prison sentences.

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Rell Nominates New Supreme Court Justice, 10 Superior Court Judges; Move Sets Up Legislative Confirmation Fight

| | Comments (4)

Gov. M. Jodi Rell Wednesday nominated Superior Court Judge Dennis G. Eveleigh of Hamden to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille -- and nominated 10 new judges to fill vacancies on the Superior Court bench.

The nomination of the 10 Superior Court judges sets up a potentially bitter conflict between the governor and key legislators who say that the state doesn't need the judges -- and before they'll vote to confirm any new ones, the governor must join them in addressing severe funding shortages in the state's judicial branch.

The two most prominent of the 10 Superior Court nominees are public safety commissioner John Danaher and state budget director Robert Genuario. The others are Republicans Laura Flynn Baldini, Susan A. Connors, and Brian J. Leslie, along with Democrats Susan Q. Cobb, Jane B. Emons, Kathleen McNamara, and David Sheridan. Unaffiliated voter John Carbonneau was also nominated.

The nomination of Eveleigh, 62, to the Supreme Court came quickly after the disclosure Wednesday morning that Vertefeuille will retire and become a senior justice effective June 1, at age 59 after 10 years on the high court. Vertefeuille gave no reason for her decision to step down 11 years shy of the court's mandatory retirement age.

Eveleigh has served at Waterbury Superior Court since October 1998. He graduated in 1969 from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and got his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1972. He worked as an attorney in private practice prior to being nominated to the bench.

"I have every confidence in Judge Eveleigh and I am grateful he is willing to take on the task of serving on our state's highest court," Rell said. "I know that Judge Eveleigh possesses these qualities and shares my commitment to openness - and I believe the Legislature will agree."

The legislature's judiciary committee co-chairman Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said he and fellow lawmakers don't have a problem with filling the Supreme Court vacancy -- but the 10 Superior Court nominees are a different story.

He said his committee is obligated to hold hearings and vote favorably or unfavorably on the nominees no later than seven days before the scheduled May 5 adjournment of the legislative session.

But, unless Rell agrees to legislation that relieves severe budgetary problems - which are forcing plans to close courthouses and causing manpower shortages among court marshals who maintain security - Lawlor said he expects that he and the majority of judiciary committee members will vote to give "unfavorable" reports to the full General Assembly regarding confirmation of the Superior Court nominees.

Beyond that, Lawlor said he's had enough conversations with members of the Democrat-controlled legislator to convince him that none of Rell's 10 Superior Court nominations would even be acted on by the House or Senate during the current session - no matter whether they are reported out of the committee favorably or unfavorably.

Lawlor said that the 10 nominees seem to be qualified, and he is familiar with some of them personally, but "we can't afford this." Each one would cost the state about $250,000 a year, including salary and benefits, and that $2.5 million should be used for "core" judicial functions such as keeping courthouses open and providing security.

"These nominations will not be confirmed unless the [judicial branch] budget situation is resolved, in some way," Lawlor said. "The bottom line is that these nominations will have to wait until we know what the situation is at Judicial."

He said the governor shouldn't be exercising her political prerogative to hand out judgeships before addressing the budget crisis in the judicial branch.

"The governor is putting the cart before the horse," Lawlor said. "Step 1 is address the problems of the judicial branch." Then, he said, after the judicial branch's budgetary needs are addressed with legislation that the governor agrees not to block. "Step 2" would be to "find out how many judges they really need."

Only after those first two steps should the governor have thought of nominating judges, Lawlor said.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont released a statement Wednesday consistent with Lawlor's view.

"At a time when Connecticut is facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit and more than 170,000 Connecticut residents are unemployed, the last thing our governor should be doing is nominating new people for high-paying state jobs with eight-year terms," Lamont said. "I'm not questioning the qualifications of these nominees, but I'm very concerned about the timing of their nomination. As Governor, I'm going to look for every way to make our state run more efficiently, starting at the top, with my own salary, the commissioners, and the middle management."

Here is a detailed account of the controversy's background from Courant Staff Writer Edmund H. Mahony:

For weeks, judges have been grumbling and some legislators complained aloud about what they suspected was Rell's plan to reward political allies with as many as a dozen highly sought-after judgeships.

The belief that Rell would exercise her patronage perquisite on the $150,000-a-year positions was particularly troubling to supporters of the judiciary, who said that the judicial branch is under such sustained attack by administration budget-cutters that it is making plans to close courthouses and forgo a top personnel goal of expanding its thin court security staff.

The governor's office has been silent, declining to comment about how many judges Rell might nominate, when she might do it and who the candidates were going to be. But despite silence from her office, it had been clear since early last winter that the governor was making arrangements.

Both of the legislature's Democratic majority's legislative leaders - state Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams and House Speaker Christopher Donovan - disclosed in January that the governor asked them a month earlier to each recommend two lawyers as candidates for judgeships. Both admitted submitting recommendations, but would not name them.

With the patronage machine working in the back ground, Chief Court Administrator Barbara M. Quinn told the judiciary committee in mid January that "a series of extraordinary, unprecedented and unworkable allotment reductions" imposed on the judiciary by the administration has caused the judicial branch to draw plans to close three courthouses, as well as six of the law libraries on which judges rely to research decisions.

In addition, with a hiring freeze that began in June 2008, Quinn said the branch needed to fill vacancies among court security officers, juvenile and adult probation officers, juvenile detention staff, court monitors, interpreters and the staff that supports judges in the courtroom.

The governor's desire to appoint new judges was widely criticized by state judges themselves, many of whom called an addition to their ranks unnecessary and difficult to justify even in good economic times. But apart from Quinn's legislative testimony, judicial branch administrators were reluctant to speak candidly about new judges or budget talks for fear of angering budget officials in the governor's office.

Whenever the subject of new judges arises, there is always talk about increasing judicial efficiency. But there is just as much talk of patronage. Governors and legislative leaders have created a rich tradition of rewarding friends and supporters with judgeships - prestigious, safe, good-paying positions with superior benefits. Judges' terms are eight years, but they normally are renominated and reconfirmed for new terms until mandatory retirement at age 70. Even after that, they can work as senior judges for $220 a day.

Genuario, Rell's budget director, and Danaher, the public safety commissioner, Danaher had long been mentioned as potential nominees -- and the talk proved true Wednesday with Rell's announcement.

Quinn has said in recent months that the state judicial branch could use six new judges. But others, Lawlor among them, suggest that the statement was a diplomatic response to Rell's desire to make new appointments.


It's interesting that Robert Genuario signed the letter to the State Employee Unions demanding concessions. Perhaps he could have exercised some fiscal restraint and denied the proposed appointment. I wonder if he will be willing to take a pay cut if he becomes a Superior Court Judge?


if it goes down, Donovan and Williams are to blame as well.


The issue is NOT JUST ABOUT JUDGES. The Judicial Branch has other positions which are handed out. There are numerous Deputy Directors, Program Managers, and Court Planners (all with great upward mobility). These are not union positions but rather managerial positions (and many are given to those hand picked by certain Directors). The Branch does need support. The law libraries are used by all and yet are being closed (of course there was a change in the job description for supervising law librarian so that a librarian who works in the managerial offices could receive a promotion just last year).
While judges really are necessary (perhaps the 10 really can wait) others are collecting huge paychecks for jobs that they acquire for reasons other than just need. And the union workers are understaffed and punished as a result.

years ago, the courthouses were not locked. You didn't have groups of marshals at the courthouse entrances manning metal detectors. We don't need that now, either, but the paranoid state of our society demands it. Courthouses, however, are not understaffed, whether you want to believe that or not.

Judges. I know I sound old, maybe I am. There was a time when judges were able to make decisions based on their experience. They were "brief" and to the point. Quick. Some were right, some were wrong, just like now. Supreme Court decisions were 6 or 7 pages. Now they are 20 pages on average. Very hard to read, and lawyers generally don't. No need for this style of profundity, but everyone wants to be a "judicial scholar." They used to write their own decisions. Then the were assigned a clerk to help out. Now they have two clerks each. What's next? They have computers, it's not that hard. It's funny, but these new appointees, very quickly they will have all kinds of new ideas to improve a system they really know nothing about. They will need a lot of new hires to implement their plans . . . Hello judicial budget.

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Danaher came in amid all sorts of Connecticut State Police scandals. I would if he was chosen to keep investigations from going anywhere.

Police State Domestic Spy King?

Text with video:
more info:

US Domestic Spying and Abuse, Poster Boy?

This video is about my concerns of the rigging of the law enforcement, the courts, oversight, and ethical checks and balances of the whole system of government in Connecticut. It has long been broken and the way judges are nominated is only making a monumentally big problem, worse. Connecticut and rogue states like it need to be investigated and cleaned up from the outside.

John A. Danaher III has had an interesting work history and comes from a line of powerful people. I believe that Danaher is a plant into the Connecticut Judicial System to corrupt the system for elected officials who have to worry about being investigated and prosecuted, and for fixing cases in favor of the Connecticut State Police, their operatives, and to keep the court systems from being exposed for the taxpayer bilking fraud that it is.

John A. Danaher III went from Connecticut US Attorney, to Connecticut State Police Commissioner, to be nominated by Republican Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell who has some serious election rigging allegations against her administration. Political rivals can be arrested on sight once put on the Connecticut State Police Enemies List. Just ask Ken Krayeske. There has also been a history of racism, sexism, and abuse of citizens. Retaliation of whistle blowers and big mouth citizens is unwritten policy. Danaher is allegedly responsible for covering up a perpetrator in possession of military grade Anthrax during the Anthrax scare of 2001. Check out the links with this video for the smoking gun racist emails and more.

Should an alleged corrupt, law breaking Governor nominate and alleged case and investigation rigging insider to the position of judge in Connecticut? No matter where you live, please look into this scandal and express outrage to the appropriate prominent citizens and investigating bodies. Thank you.

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Added April 5, 2010:

Prosecutors Challenge Order Overturning Murder Convictions

Associated Press

April 5, 2010

ROCKVILLE - Connecticut prosecutors are challenging a judge's order that overturned the murder convictions of two men who served 16 years in prison.

Prosecutors say in their court appeal that they were denied a chance to challenge the circumstances around a woman's decision to recant her 1993 testimony against Ronald Taylor and George Gould.

Taylor and Gould were released last week after a judge said they were wrongly convicted of the killing of a New Haven store owner. The star witness now says she was not there and was "dopesick" from drug withdrawal when police interviewed her.

The statute of limitations to prosecute her for perjury has expired, and prosecutors say they should get the chance to question the timing, motives and candor of her recantation.


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