Friday, November 30, 2007

Parole Ban Challenged


by Christine Stuart

Seven violent offenders currently serving time in MacDougal-Walker Correctional Institute in Suffield filed a petition in Hartford Superior Court this week alleging Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s ban on parole for all violent offenders violates ex post facto laws.

Ex post facto laws retrospectively change the legal consequences or legal status of facts that existed prior to the enactment of the law. The petition, a writ of mandamus, is generally filed in cases where there is a specific right, but no specific legal remedy for enforcing that right.

Gary Sadler, 28, the prisoner who wrote the legal brief, says in his affidavit that “prior to entering a guilty plea to the offense my court appointed counsel advised me that I would become eligible for parole after serving 50 percent of my sentence, which influenced my decision to make the plea.”

Sadler is currently serving a 30 year sentence for first degree manslaughter with a firearm. In his affidavit Sadler said his parole eligibility date is scheduled for June 2011, but that was before Rell announced the ban on parole for all violent offenders. Sadler has been in prison since the age of 17 and has served 11 years. If he serves his entire sentence, he will be released in November 2026.

“I have worked and continue to work hard to become better suited for society. I should not have to pay for the mistakes of others,” Sadler said in the affidavit.

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