Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick refuses to sign repeat offender bill, why the rest of America should care
Back in 1999, 27 year old Melissa Gosule was raped and murdered by a man who had 27 convictions under his belt yet served only two years in jail. Melissa’s father has made it his mission to ensure that what happened to his daughter would not happen to another person in Massachusetts; for twelve years he fought for passage of what has been dubbed Melissa’s bill, which is basically a three strikes you’re out law. If you are convicted of three violent crimes you are sent to jail for life with no chance for parole. Finally last week the Massachusetts legislature voted to pass Melissa’s bill and it was sent to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk for his approval.
Deval Patrick sat on this bill until Sunday when he amended it and sent it back to the legislature; his amendment allowed for judicial discretion when considering parole for violent criminals, thereby gutting the entire intent of the law. There is a reason why he sat on the bill for so long before making his decision and I will get to that in a moment.
Today the state legislature rejected the governor’s amendment and sent it back to his desk one more time. Deval Partick now has ten more days to either sign or veto the bill and that is where the problem lies, and this problem is the reason he delayed his original decision on the bill. The state legislature has the votes to override a potential veto but is only in session until the end of the day tomorrow. Deval Patrick is simply trying to run out the clock and this will effectively kill the bill. The state legislature would have to start from scratch next session and all the work they have done to ensure career violent criminals remain behind bars where they can do no harm to anyone but themselves will be for not.
It really isn’t surprising that Deval Patrick decided to side with the criminals instead of the victims because this is how he made his living before he ran for governor. When he worked in the Justice Department he fought to ensure violent criminals were provided properly inflated basketballs and tuna fish sandwiches which weren’t too warm, but this is nothing for it gets worse.
Shortly after he became governor of Massachusetts he defended the Parole Board’s decision to release a violent criminal who was serving three life sentences, and before that he spent some time arguing of the early release of Benjamin LaGuer.
Benjamin LaGuer brutally raped his 59 year old neighbor after trying to strangle her with a telephone cable, and even after Deval Patrick spent his own money to provide LaGuer with a DNA test which proved his guilt he said he still found the man “eloquent” and “charming.”
Deval Patrick has a long history for siding with violent criminals and Melissa’s bill is just the latest example. This should concern us all because Deval Patrick and Barack Obama are friends (Obama even plagiarized a Patrick speech during the 2008 election) and it is rumored that Deval Patrick was a finalist in the Supreme Court sweepstakes before Elana Kagan was selected by Barack Obama and it is very likely that he will be the next Supreme Court justice if Barack Obama is reelected.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: First the correction; I mistakenly wrote that after a third strike a violent criminal would be locked up for life without parole. The law states that after the third strike a violent criminal must serve his or her full sentence without the possibility of an early parole. And now for the update; Deval Patrick announced today that he will sign the bill, but will work to get his amendment passed in the next legislative session. This was a bill which had wide ranging support from the people of Massachusetts and it appears as if they put enough pressure on Deval Patrick fo force him to change his mind.