Families of Connecticut crime victims are outraged after 44 murderers had their sentences commuted, accusing the Board of Pardons and Paroles of amending its policy to favor the state’s most violent criminals.
Critics of the commutation surge have argued the spike in sentence reduction “re-victimizes” families who chose to accept plea bargains in order to avoid the emotional and mental toll of a lengthy trial.
Audrey Carlson, who lost her daughter Elizabeth after she was murdered more than two decades ago, joined “Fox & Friends First” Monday to discuss her concerns over the policy and why the commutations are “outrageous.”
And although her daughter’s killer’s request was fortunately denied, she remembered enduring a “tailspin” after hearing the news, calling it “outrageous.”
“Everything resurfaced from 20 years ago,” Carlson told Todd Piro on Monday. “We buried our daughter and the therapy and the years and the years of navigating through grief and trying to basically find our way resurfaced. I couldn’t breathe. I was struggling. Our daughter, our surviving daughter, Leslie, who escaped the house that day, we all went into a tailspin. My husband, my daughter and I, in a tailspin. When we could catch our breath, we realized that we had work to do.”
Last year alone, there were 71 commutations in Connecticut, according to the state board, compared to only six between 2016 and 2021.
According to Fox 61, the board blames the commutation spike on the pandemic. Commutation applications were halted over COVID, and when they resumed in 2021, this led to the massive influx of applicants, they have argued.
Since resuming the process, the board commuted the sentences of 97 criminals, according to the report, and denied almost 300 of the 400 applications received.
The list of denials included Elizabeth’s killer.
But despite the board’s stance, State Sen. Heather Somers, R., accused the board of acting “in the dark” to reduce criminal sentences after the policy shift post-pandemic.
“This is a policy that was done in the dark by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which is appointed by our Democratic governor here in the state of Connecticut,” Somers said. “They took it upon themselves, or they were given a nudge to revise this policy.”
She noted the rule allows anyone, regardless of the crime, to come before three “unelected” members on the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles to reduce their sentences.
The pair called on Gov. Ned Lamont, D., to take action against the commutations, urging him to halt the process, so legislators can evaluate the implications.
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