05.31.2010 0

Editorial: Democrat Senate to Promote Rapist, Serial Killer Apologist to 2nd Circuit Court

  • On: 06/20/2010 19:38:09
  • In: Appointments
  • This week, the Senate may take up the controversial nomination of Robert Chatigny for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appleals, after being reported from the Judiciary Committee on June 10th. Chatigny currently serves for the U.S. District Court of Connecticut, where he made his claim to fame by ordering a stay of execution in 2005 for convicted serial rapist and murderer Michael Ross.

    In a last-minute hearing before Ross’ scheduled execution, Chatigny infamously opined that Ross, who had confessed to raping and killing eight young women aged between 14 to 25, “never should have been convicted”. In that hearing, Chatigny chastised Ross’ attorney, T.R. Paulding, and threatened to have his law license pulled for not more vigorously pursuing Ross’ defense.

    Although the hearing was supposed to be examining Ross’ competence to waive his right to appeal, Chatigny saw a wider context for presiding authority. He said, “looking at the record in a light most favorable to Mr. Ross, he never should have been convicted. Or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death because his sexual sadism, which was found by every single person who looked at him, is clearly a mitigating factor.”

    Of course, having confessed to the rape-murders, coupled with overwhelming evidence, Ross most certainly should have been convicted. Nobody would dispute the sadistic nature of the crimes involved, either. Clearly Ross took pleasure in what he did. But by no means was Ross’ motive a “mitigating factor.” Instead, it recommended a death sentence.

    Chatigny thought otherwise. The irony is that the judge was not even presiding over a sentencing hearing. The question before Chatigny concerned Ross’ competence to waive his right to appeal. But instead, Chatigny used the hearing as a means to coerce Ross’ attorney to continue appealing — against his client’s wishes. Paulding gave in, and pursued another hearing in state court on Ross’ competency. Ross was deemed competent, and finally convicted, against Chatigny’s wishes.

    Chatigny’s conduct in this case alone should be enough to disqualify him. The bias he exhibited calls into question whether he can remain impartial. The rest of his record, however, calls into question whether he can remain impartial in any case involving sex offenders. As reported by the Washington Times, “[i]n 12 child-pornography cases, Judge Chatigny imposed a sentence either at or more lenient than the recommended minimum — with most downward departures involving sentences less than half as long.”
    But that’s not all. In 2000, Chatigny overturned Connecticut’s sex offender registry law. As noted by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, “Even more disturbing than this result, however, is the way he reached it. The only way that Judge Chatigny could reach this result was to fundamentally mischaracterize the statute. The statute he struck down was, in effect, one of his own making, not the one that the Connecticut legislature had passed.”

    Hatch continued, “The real statute required all sex offenders to register for one simple reason, that they are sex offenders. The Department of Public Safety website said that there had been no assessment of the risk of re-offense or the dangerousness of individual offenders. There was no such assessment because the registry did not exist for that purpose or to convey such information. Judge Chatigny struck it down anyway, saying that the Constitution required a hearing to distinguish between violent and non-violent offenders. By inventing this requirement out of thin air, he insisted that the statute do something the legislature had not designed it to do.”

    Chatigny was ultimately reversed in Public Safety v. Doe, but in so doing, Chatigny revealed once again that his bias and personal preferences — in favor of sexual offenders, and against victims of sexual crimes. In case after case, they trumped his actual reading of the law. This should be disturbing, not just to Senator Hatch, but to every senator who is being asked to confirm Chatigny on the basis of his highly controversial rulings.


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