Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"A house of cards, falling under the slightest breath of scrutiny..." — C.J. Rogers

No matter where you may stand personally on the delicate and important issue of Connecticut's death penalty, a great deal can be learned by carefully reading the decisions issued in the matter of State of Connecticut v. Eduardo Santiago (Case No. SC 17413)

On August 25, 2015, a total of six advanced release opinions were published by the Connecticut Supreme Court. A careful review of these opinions address issues well beyond the matters before the court and, in this authors opinion, expose the lengths our top jurists will go to in order to manufacture opinions, not based in fact or law or the record before them, but apparently based on their own personal bias or desire to feed their respective egos or play God. 

SC17413 Opinion (Palmer, J.)
First Concurrence (Norcott, J. & McDonald, J.) || Second Concurrence (Everleigh, J.)
First Dissent (Rogers, C.J.) || Second Dissent (Zarella, J.) || Third Dissent (Espinosa, J.)

It is somewhat ironic that just a few months earlier, Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers gave public testimony at her judicial re-nomination hearing touting the independence of the judiciary and each jurist. Even though I happen to agree with the sentiments expressed by Rogers in her dissenting opinion, her choice of language seems to be very personal in nature, attacking the very impartiality and integrity of her fellow jurists.

The majority opinion is summarized in the rescript which notes:

"The judgment is reversed insofar as it imposes a sentence of death and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new penalty phase hearing, following a new in camera review, according to law, of the department's files and disclosure of evidence material to the defendant's case in mitigation; the judgment is affirmed in all other respects." 305 Conn. 101 (2012), 319 Conn. 912 (2015)

"The judgment is reversed with respect to the imposition of a sentence of death and the case is remanded with direction to impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release; the judgment is affirmed in all other respects." 318 Conn. 1 (2015)

Further comment on this will follow . . . as this is not the first time in 2015 that we saw a deeply divided Connecticut Supreme Court let their personal opinions about their fellow jurists be known in the official records of the Court itself . . .

Note: Follow this link to view The Hartford Courant news coverage from Sept. 4, 2015.

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