Showing posts with label Connecticut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Connecticut. Show all posts

Friday, October 11, 2013

Connecticut: Commutation of Sentence

The Connecticut Mirror reports 66-year old Bonnie Jean Foreshaw has been granted clemency State's thre-person Board of Paroles. Foreshaw was convicted for the 1986 shooting (and killing) of a pregnant woman and given a 45-year prison sentences. Oddly, the Mirror notes it was "the longest ever given to a woman" (What is this? 1950?).

The Board found that both Foreshaw and her victim were "abused by their partners so badly they were hospitalized" and concluded the judicial system "failed" with respect to Foreshaw, "who was bounced between 22 lawyers." The relatives of the victim, however, doubted Foreshaw was sincerely remorseful and could not agree with her early release.

Foreshaw did not know her victim but claimed she was being harassed by a man who was with her. In fear that she was about to be assaulted, she pulled out a gun, fired and accidentally shot the woman. It was later argued that Foreshaw's lawyer "failed to challenge a questionable confession and present an effective mental state defense." See story here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Connecticut: Secrecy as a Problem? or a Solution?

The Hartford Current reports there is a legislative attempt to "draw the curtain of secrecy around state government" by exempting pardon applications from the Freedom of Information Act. The Current editorializes that this "baneful" proposal:
... amounts to an attack on transparency that, if left unchecked, will breed even more cynicism and distrust of government. 
In addition to denying "public access to pardon applications and other records of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles" legislation "would also exclude the public from hearings."

It is argued that these changes are needed to "encourage offenders applying for pardons to be forthcoming in giving sensitive details — such as their mental health treatment or substance abuse recovery — in their applications about their efforts to rehabilitate." But, the Current notes, the Freedom of Information Commission argues the proposals are "a catastrophic blow to government transparency," and the public's "right to know" that "the decision-making process with respect to the granting of all pardons is fair, unbiased and free from influence."

See full story here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Connecticut: More Sensible than Florida

The long-dead Jim Morrison may be up for pardon in Florida, but in Connecticut, where he was arrested, it simply does not matter. Morrison was arrested in December of 1967 in New Haven. He was fined $25, but the Connecticut Post quotes the director of the State Board of Pardons as saying:
"We don't do that ... Our position has always been that the request for a pardon has to come from the person himself. It's come up before regarding the people convicted as witches. People have gone to the Legislature seeking to exonerate the witches too. The Legislature can pass a resolution, but it can't pardon anybody."
A spokesperson for the governor also says that he does not have the authority to do anything either. See story here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Grant Grants a Pardon

The New York Times beat up on Ulysses S. Grant a bit for a pardon he signed in March of 1874. Ira Gladwin (alias George Gladwin, alias George Gladding) had been convicted of mail robbery and sentenced to a total of fifteen years in prison. But Grant commuted the sentence to seven years and eight months. The pardon was obtained by a woman who was impressed by a fancy writing desk that was hand made by Gladding and wound up in the office of a literary paper in New York. The woman learned the story of the prisoner and decided to personally lobby for a pardon.Eventually, it was said that "many prominent citizens" of Connecticut supported clemency for the unhealthy prisoner Gladwin.

Gladwin left prison and dramatically announced a new life, beyond reproach lay before him. But, on the very day of the announcement, he had passed a bad check. He also took up “George Case” as an alias and passed several more forged checks, for hundreds of dollars, before being caught and arrested once again. The forty-two year old told officials that he was led to crime by an “irresistible impulse.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dodd to Retire

CBS News offered this explanation for the Christopher Dodd's troubled situation last month:
Dodd's close connections to leading bankers are coming back to haunt him. One such connection is to former Bear Stearns director Edward Downe Jr., who once shared a condo with Dodd. After Downe's conviction for insider trading, Dodd leaned on President Clinton to pardon Downe at the end of his presidency. Dodd's reputation also took a hit amid allegations that insurance giant Countrywide gave him "VIP" treatment in refinancing his home.
See story here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Senator Dodd: Pardon for a Partner

Kevin Rennie, a former state legislator, has a piece at the Hartford Courant which discusses Sen. Christopher Dodd's support for the 2001 pardon of Edward R. Downe. The pardon was one of many that was granted "without the traditional review by the Justice Department" at the end of the Clinton administration. Downe had been convicted of tax and securities fraud. Rennie notes that Downe's real estate development partner, William "Bucky" Kessinger, had purchased a 1,700-square-foot home in Ireland with Dodd in 1994 for $160,000. Dodd and Downe also purchased a condominium together in Washington, D.C., in 1986. Says Rennie:

A presidential pardon is a rare possession, especially when the man pardoned, Downe, still owed millions to the Securities and Exchange Commission for his violations. Rarer still, however, is the real estate developer, like Kessinger, who appears to have left hundreds of thousands of dollars in appreciated value on the table for his minority-share partner. Dodd appears to have latched onto one — and, on paper, has turned a profit like the Wall Street pirates he once loved but now disdains.

See full article here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Connecticut: The Pardon Team

The Norwich Bulletin has a great "inside" story on the Connecticut "Pardon Team," a Norwich-based organization run by a former alderman that has "helped guide thousands of people through the first steps of the application process." That initial form for that process is actually 17 pages long! The Team, founded by a husband and wife in 2004, notes, "You might make one mistake. But once you’ve served your sentence, you keep serving. The bars are just invisible. Having a criminal record is like wearing a scarlet letter." The article also notes that "a few years ago, 58 percent of the applicants were turned down in the initial screening stage without a hearing,” but the figure was down to 21 percent in 2007.” See story here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Connecticut: The Audacity to Float

Protestant ministers are fond of saying witty things like: "If God does not punish [fill in the blank] then he will have to dig up Sodom and Gamorah and apologize." It is a line that never fails to amuse, or drum up high quality righteous indignation. Perhaps that is what Timothy M. Kaine (D), governor of Virginia, was thinking a couple of years ago, when he granted a "ceremonial pardon" to a woman long-since dead, but convicted of witchcraft because she had the audacity to float in the Lynnhaven River (Virginia Beach). That is to say, 300 years ago, sinking in water would have cleared her of the charges. After seven years in prison, Grace Sherwood (a.k.a. "the Witch of Pungo") was released. I cannot yet discover if there was a follow-up administration of the sinking/floating test as she exited the premises. Maybe, rehabilitation was not considered a primary goal of incarceration back in the day.

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