Criminals convicted of rape, murder, and other heinous acts are permitted to seek commutation, which [Connecticut State Sen. Heather Somers] warned, is wrong because it is overriding plea deals and judges.
"They are coming in front of this board of three and unknown to us as legislators, and they are shaving decades, not a few years, decades off of these sentences," she said. "Just last week, this board shaved off 67 years off of someone's 95-year sentence. It is outrageous. We are committed to making this stop."
It seems pretty clear-cut that the disappearance of Felicia Cox would never have been solved, and her remains perhaps never found, had David Neal Cox been treated "compassionately," and received a "humane" sentence of life imprisonment.
His deep remorse came only after being sentenced to death, albeit not until hours — not days, not weeks, not months, not years — before his execution. I.e., only when, and only because (!), all hope was gone…
Within hours of taking office … George Gascón [supported by George Soros] … started reviewing the sentences of some 20,000 state prisoners for possible early release. In March 2021, a convicted murderer in Sacramento’s Folsom State Prison recorded a video of himself and another inmate toasting Gascón for his retroactive sentence shortenings.
In addition, during the Covid "epidemic", tens of thousands of prisoners were simply released without input from the board of parole or without input from the victims or the surviving members of the victims' families (never mind informing them of the release in the first place) — all the while, incidentally, jailing law-abiding citizens for defying the lockdown. Bailee Hill of Fox News, again:
Families of Connecticut crime victims are outraged after 44 murderers had their sentences commuted, accusing the Board of Pardons and Paroles of amending its policy to favor the state's most violent criminals.
Critics of the commutation surge have argued the spike in sentence reduction "re-victimizes" families who chose to accept plea bargains in order to avoid the emotional and mental toll of a lengthy trial.
Audrey Carlson, who lost her daughter Elizabeth after she was murdered more than two decades ago, joined "Fox & Friends First" Monday to discuss her concerns over the policy and why the commutations are "outrageous."
And although her daughter's killer's request was fortunately denied, she remembered enduring a "tailspin" after hearing the news, calling it "outrageous."
"Everything resurfaced from 20 years ago," Carlson told Todd Piro on Monday. "We buried our daughter and the therapy and the years and the years of navigating through grief and trying to basically find our way resurfaced. I couldn't breathe. I was struggling. Our daughter, our surviving daughter, Leslie, who escaped the house that day, we all went into a tailspin. My husband, my daughter and I, in a tailspin. When we could catch our breath, we realized that we had work to do."
Last year alone, there were 71 commutations in Connecticut, according to the state board, compared to only six between 2016 and 2021.
According to Fox 61, the board blames the commutation spike on the pandemic. Commutation applications were halted over COVID, and when they resumed in 2021, this led to the massive influx of applicants, they have argued.
Since resuming the process, the board commuted the sentences of 97 criminals, according to the report, and denied almost 300 of the 400 applications received.
The list of denials included Elizabeth's killer.
But despite the board's stance, State Sen. Heather Somers, R., accused the board of acting "in the dark" to reduce criminal sentences after the policy shift post-pandemic.
"This is a policy that was done in the dark by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which is appointed by our Democratic governor here in the state of Connecticut," Somers said. "They took it upon themselves, or they were given a nudge to revise this policy."
She noted the rule allows anyone, regardless of the crime, to come before three "unelected" members on the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles to reduce their sentences.
The pair called on Gov. Ned Lamont, D., to take action against the commutations, urging him to halt the process, so legislators can evaluate the implications.
… "We feel that Connecticut has turned its back on all the victims and survivors who have taken these plea deals," Carlson said. "We reluctantly took this 42-year plea deal, largely because if he had gone to trial, it probably would have been 60 years with a lot of wiggle room and a lot of appeals, and to have to dredge that up and be revictimized again and again and again, I'm not sure we could have handled that."
"The bottom line is no one ever thinks anything bad is ever going to happen to them. It happens to somebody else. We are that someone else," she continued. "They need to do what's right and ethical and moral."
Here is part of the transcript (italics mine):
… the gulf is unbridgeable between those of us who believe that some murderers – and I emphasize some murderers – should be put to death and those who believe that no murderer should ever be put to death.
… Opponents of capital punishment … argue that keeping all murderers alive sanctifies the value of human life. But the opposite is true. Keeping every murderer alive cheapens human life because it belittles murder. That’s easily proven. Imagine that the punishment for murder were the same as the punishment for driving over the speed limit. Wouldn’t that belittle murder and thereby cheapen human life? Of course, it would. Society teaches how bad an action is by the punishment it metes out.
And what about the pain inflicted on the loved ones of those murdered? For most people, their suffering is immeasurably increased knowing that the person who murdered their family member or friend – and who, in many cases, inflicted unimaginable terror on that person – is alive and being cared for.
Of course, putting the murderer to death doesn’t bring back their loved one, but it sure does provide some sense of justice. That’s why Dr. [William] Petit, a physician whose life is devoted to saving lives, wants the murderers of his wife and daughters put to death. In his words, death "is really the only true just punishment for certain heinous and depraved murders." Is the doctor wrong? Is he immoral? Well, if you think capital punishment is immoral, then Dr. Petit is immoral.
And what about opponents’ argument that an innocent person may be executed? This argument may be sincerely held, but it’s not honest. Why? Because opponents of capital punishment oppose the death penalty even when there is absolute proof of the murderer’s guilt. If there were a video of a man burning a family alive, opponents of capital punishment would still oppose taking that man’s life.
Moreover, by keeping every murderer alive, many MORE people are murdered -– other prisoners, guards and people outside of prison in case of escape or early release -- than the infinitesimally small number of people who might be wrongly executed. And now, with DNA testing and other advanced forensic tools, it is virtually impossible to execute an innocent person.
Then there is the argument offered by some people in the name of religion that only God has the right to take human life. I always wonder what religion these people are referring to, since the holiest book of no religion of which I am aware ever made that claim. People just made that argument up. …