Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has called for the overhaul of the state’s complicated law for dangerous criminals. She immediately received support from top Democrats after a double shooting in New Britain this week, reports the Hartford Courant. The state’s current “three strikes” law, more formally known as the persistent felony offender law, needs to be rewritten in order for it to become workable, Rell said. Sen. Andrew McDonald, co-chairman of the judiciary committee – said he is open to negotiating a compromise before the General Assembly adjourns on May 7.
Last month, the Democratic-dominated committee rejected a version of a “three strikes-and-you’re-out” proposal that would have taken away discretion from the sentencing judge and made a life prison sentence mandatory upon conviction of a third violent felony. “The current persistent felony offender law is like the tax code,” said Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, a longtime prosecutor. “You’ve got to be a Philadelphia lawyer to understand it.” The suspect in the New Britain case, longtime criminal and convicted felon Leslie T. Williams, was living at a homeless shelter before the shootings. He had been released from prison three weeks earlier after an eight-year sentence on a charge of sexually assaulting his 5-year-old niece.