The Cheshire , Ct., triple became a partisan political issue yesterday in the state legislature, reports the Hartford Courant. Republicans and Democrats clashed over whether the legislature should be in a special session on crime, largely a symbolic distinction since no legislation is ready for action. The Republican push for votes is an early effort to brand the GOP as the force behind any reforms and the Democrats as culpable if nothing happens. “No question about it, we’re saying it is our issue,” said Republican Sen. David Cappiello. Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the legislature’s Democratic majority have promised reforms, but only after study by criminal-justice professionals and public hearings.
The attack on the Petit family of Cheshire in July came to overshadow other legisaltive issues. House Republicans said they were ready to adopt a mandatory life sentence for three-time felons, without hearings or waiting for the governor’s task force. They tried to amend another bill to create a “three strikes” penalty, as well as tougher penalties for burglary. The amendment was flawed, imposing a mandatory life sentence for a third conviction for armed robbery, but not murder. “It’s pure politics,” said Rep. Michael Lawlor, judiciary committee co-chairman.