Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Open Forum

A lengthy correction was published on the Courant's op-ed page today about Kevin Rennie's Sunday column. Wow.

Opensecrets.org shows that Nancy Johnson has raised a lot more money out of state than Chris Murphy. According to the chart on their site, 44% of Johnson's money comes from out-of-state donors, compared to 10% for Murphy.

The clock is ticking on the legislative session.

What else is going on?

69 comments:

Wrath of Conn said...

Whoops I should have posted this in here and not the other topuc...

I'm a delegate to this year's Democratic convention. I've been researching the candidates for Governor, because I realized I don't know nearly enough to make an informed vote.

My search turned up this Paul Bass article from the Fairfield Weekly, way back in 2002 during the final days of the Curry campaign. I was really bothered by this section about a rally held in New Haven for John Rowland. Does anyone from that area remember this?

It reads:

Just a week earlier, DeStefano hosted an anemic evening "rally" for Curry. One hundred or so party functionaries slumped on chairs for a series of low-energy speeches at a local middle school.

This afternoon, DeStefano has brought out a high school band. He has packed Hillhouse High School with hundreds of people to cheer Rowland for the state's help in building a 105,000-square-foot field house and athletic complex. Rowland gets five times the crowd of last week's Curry event--and 20 times the energy.

This was DeStefano's idea. He took Rowland to lunch a week earlier. He invited him to visit the field house for a public thank-you--just weeks before the election.

Usually, the two poke at each other in public like schoolboys from competing cliques. Today, Rowland soaks in the royal treatment offered by a mayor whose administration, apparently convinced Curry's campaign is dead, worries about keeping the state money spigot open after November. New Haven will still vote for Curry. But don't expect any wildfires.

Suddenly, even New Haven is a Rowland DMZ.

Like a pep rally captain, DeStefano yells to the packed crowd of students, teachers and politicos about the $1.1 billion in school construction that Rowland's administration has backed in New Haven. The crowd yells back.

"We had a state administration that supported our vision for our kids!" DeStefano exclaims.

Then he picks up a theme from last night's debate--one of Rowland's themes. He says he took his son to UConn this fall for his freshman year. "It's a changed campus" from DeStefano's own undergraduate days, the mayor says. All thanks to the money Rowland is investing in education.

Rowland sweeps to the mike like the homecoming king, basking in the adulation.

"Mayor, thank you for that warm endorsement. ... I mean kind words," he quips. Everyone understands.

MightyMouse1 said...

More interesting is to look at money raised in the district, not just in the state. Hartford special interest money dominates in one camp, Washington special interest money dominates in the other.

Murphy can trumpet that his money is from in-state, but his monry like Johnson's comes mostly from people who cannot vote for him.

Quinn said...

What really bugs me is that the legislature made plenty of time, even in the closing days of the session, for useless nanny-state laws. The soda ban, which just deflated in view of the national agreement between soda companies, for one. The other is the totally unconstitutional law that punishes parents for hosting parties in the privacy of their own homes. Anyone with legal experience or money want to help me out suing on that one?

Perhaps if the legislature used the time they have more wisely I would be more inclined to support giving them more time.

TSCowperthwait said...

Quinn, can you explain to me how it unconstitutional to punish parents from performing an illegal act just because it is in their home?

Gabe said...

Quinn - unless you host a party for minors in your home and run afoul of the law, you don't have standing to sue.

Quinn said...

Because the police have no right to right to determine if a crime has happened in a private home without a warrant or permission. If the party is taking place outside in public view, sure, no problem.

So perhaps I should say - mostly unenforcable unless the enforcement is unconstitutional.

Furthermore, this is unconstitional for the same reason that contraception, sodomy, and abortion laws were found unconstitutional. Acts taking place in the privacy of the home, not in the purview of public space or commercial regulation, or clearly infringing upon anothers rights without their assent, are not susceptable to state prosecution.

In America, in the home, the owners make the rules, not the state. Crimes that clearly infringe on other's rights, such as murder, are prosectutable. Even then, a warrant based on probable cause is required.

With this law, the state has made the enforcement of the alcohol laws more intrusive than the enforcement of murder laws. So intrusive is the enforcement that it is in fact in violation of the state Constitution, the Federal Constituion, and countless Supreme Court cases.

BRubenstein said...

QUinn..i agree with you on the parent's bill. i think its unconstitutional as well.

BRubenstein said...

Housatonic Harry...there are 2 competing arguments here ( i was a curry insider)

1.That rally happened in mid october and by that time Rowland had a huge lead and the race was virtually over ( curry was broke) so JDS doing what he did didnt effect a losing race, and built up some good will for his city which isnt or wasnt a bad thing.At the time i remember Curry being very pissed at JDS and as a result alot of the curry insiders are supporting DM now ( not me)

2. the 2nd argument is that JDS knowing that he wanted to run for governor ( he was on the race the next week after the election) deliberately did the rally to put a nail in curry's coffin and to make sure that he lost so that JDS would have an open shot in 2006.

bluecoat said...

The Rennie correction is pretty HUGE there GC; thanks for the correction.

On Ragagliagate, there was an apologetic piece for Jodi can't Smell in the CT Post on how tough it is for her to do something about the issue but I can't find it on-line. Poor Jodi; she played the same 'poor me' card on the TV news last night in a couple of interviews with the WTNH one linked here and saying she is hiring outside help to find out what to do. Baloney, Bloomie and Rowland holdover, Yelemini, at DAS should know the answer. But again, Jodi's not responsible for the corruption but whenever the news media picks up on it she'll fight the latest blaze like a champ as if it were spontaneous combustion or something she shouldn't have been able to smell out on her own.

But in the interest of balance stamford is overdeveloping agin to crowd our transportation system; this time with Donald Trump form today's Stamford Advocate

bluecoat said...

ConnDOT constnatly hires contractors or joint venture groups who can't perform but thye are all on their "preferred contractor" list - probably preferred by influential pols and not Dunn & Bradstreet. Here from the New Haven Register is the latest with the usual spin from former Rowland spinner Chris Cooper is their latest "poor me' saga. It's all a bunch of bull. Tommasso Bros who were politically connected long before Rowland used to do highway and bridge work until they ran into "financial difficulty" in the early 90's and then went in to other stuff like parking garages and kids jails thanks to Johnny's Dept. of Corporate welfare.

Gabe said...

Three things about the constitutionality of the House Party law:

First, the law does not give the police any greater right to enter a home than is currently available to the police for any crime. So bursting into a house to arrest parents for violating this law without a warrant or probable cause would still be an unconstitutional violation of their rights (but does not render the law itself unconstitutional - if the police burst into someone's house without a warrant or probable cause and arrested them for murder, it would be an unconstitutional violation of their rights, but the law against murder would not be unconstitutional). That does not render the law unenforceable, however. Here are three scenarios for enforcing the law without a violation of the rights of the parents:

1. A cop witnesses 30 obviously inebriated minors staggering out of a house where there are the obvious signs of a party are evident - probable cause.

2. Similiarly, cops get called to a party on a noise complaint and witness alcohol being consumed by minors - plain view; probable cause.

3. Other parents find out about the party, get mad, and report the crime. Multiple party goers are used as witness in a case that involves no state enterance into the home.

Second, and BRubes (or any of the other actual lawyers), correct me if you think I am wrong, but the constitutionality of this law, assuming you are saying it would run afoul of the due process clause of the 14th A, involving no protected classes, would be evaluated under the rational basis test. Since the rational basis of preventing teenage alcohol consumption exists (butressed by the claims in this press release), and the rational basis test almost never overturns legislation, this law would be judged to pass muster.

Finally, Quin said: Acts taking place in the privacy of the home, not in the purview of public space or commercial regulation, or clearly infringing upon anothers rights without their assent, are not susceptable to state prosecution.

Now I'm just being snarky but: Should a pot smoker feel confident that if the police arrest him for smoking in his private home, he will be let off based on teh constitutionality of the law that renders marijuana illegal?

bluecoat said...

And I should add that interchange and bridge work - unlike straight shots of highway - is the most highly lucrative transportation work going because it is always loaded with change orders among other things. It's one of the reasons (Gabe since you are listening) that the TSB and ConnDOT and Rell and the legislature who all rely on the highway lobby & building trades to keep their jobs - and vice versa - don't want to consolidate or close any of them.

Gabe said...

If I can just tag onto what you said, bluecoat, its why the problems on 95 will never be fixed...

bluecoat said...

Be my guest Gabe and if you ever get that law degree and run for state office maybe you can help make the change.

Thomas Craven said...

From that Fairfield Weekly article -

This was DeStefano's idea. He took Rowland to lunch a week earlier. He invited him to visit the field house for a public thank-you--just weeks before the election.

Suddenly, even New Haven is a Rowland DMZ.

"Mayor, thank you for that warm endorsement. ... I mean kind words," he quips. Everyone understands.


Ummmmmmmm, what?

This shows my yet again that JDS submits to the almightly state dollar.

He is willing to throw fellow Dem's under the bus for future political gain.

The fact that Rowland even jokingly refered to JDS's actions as an "endorsement" shows that JDS's motivations are as thinly veiled as Rowland's were.

BRubenstein said...

Gabe..it would be part of the "rational basis" test unless found to be in a protected class..an argument that i or some other lawyer will try to make with a " protected class plaintiff"

Tony Anchillo said...

While I realize that the race may have appeared to be a lost one, couldn't JDS have done something other than have a huge rally for Rowland to thank him for getting some money for the schools? Perhaps he got the money b/c Rowland knew DeStefano wouldn't be all that supportive of Curry. Perhaps Rowland insiders can share their thoughts. And why is a democrat hosting a huge rally for a republican-- who turned out to be one of the state's most notorious and corrupt of republicans? What about party unity? Perhaps that is forgotten because JDS, before his city hall days, was a Republican.

BRubenstein said...

Anonymous 12:27

Your analysis is a sound one in my second theory ( see above)

MolotovCocktails said...

Tim Tagaris has joined the Lamont campaign. Expect a ramp up in internet operations...

BRubenstein said...

Molotov...there had better be a "ramping up" the web page is terrible. I had posted in here last week and emailed to Lamont headquarter's a list of 8 things that needed to be done with the webpage and communications in general..and never heard a word.

disgruntled_republican said...

That's because Lamont doesn't care about bloggers anymore. (Tongue in cheek)

Quinn said...

Gabe, most of the things you point out are fair, as far as they go. We both have differnt views as to how far probably cause goes - one of us is likely wrong in the view of the law, and I honestly am not certain whom.

Let's say there is a noise complaint. The cops have every right to go investigate, knock on a door, ask if everything is all right, and could you please keep the noise down. They could even ask permission to enter the home, but without that permission a noise complaint alone is not probable cause to enter a home. Alcohol would have to be in plain view of either the street or the doorway.

If 30 drunk kids are stumbling out of a house, the police can stop them from getting in their cars. If a kid is getting out of their car drunk, they can search the car under probable cause. But they can't search the house. Probable cause is not suffcient in this case, or in almost any case imaginable, to search the home - that probable cause must be the basis of a warrant. Once the warrant is obtained, then police can enter in the home.

Actually, the ACLU should be all over this one. The instant I find of a friend having a party and a parent being prosecuted under this law, I'll be advising them to go to the CCLU.

bluecoat said...

Quinn, it's not a good idea to practice law without a license or make statements about the law without understanding the law. At least Gabe has some legal standing in the state since he is in law school.

TSCowperthwait said...

Well said, Bluecoat.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

*snort*

bluecoat, the day having no idea what you're talking about stops you from posting your semi-literate ravings, I wanna be there.

bluecoat said...

Speaking of practicing without a license and trying to lower the damn cost of CT State govt., I just posted this link over on Kevin Sullivan's blog because he had put together the Mental Health Cabinet Report
early on as LG based on a request from his boss, the Governor who can't smell. I never fully bought in to sullivan's work for a whole bunch of reasons. I have also written on here before as to why the state needs to refocus its mental health program alphabet soup agency set up to be one of customer service and not disease control.

Quinn said...

Obviously it is a bad idea to practice law without training, and I have no intention of doing so.

It would be quite determinental to society however, if people remained blissfully ignorant of their rights and simply refused to have a public discourse about them.

I have already admitted that I may be wrong about some of my points, being but a layperson. The process of discussion, however, educates myself and all who read this board. I certainly do not expect my word to be taken as absolute truth by anyone, and am in no way offering legal advice to any reader.

TSCowperthwait said...

In any event, Quinn, you are mistaken. If the police observe 30 individuals stumbling out of a house intoxicated, they may question the individuals, determine if they are minors, if they are intoxicated, where they were drinking, and then search the house without a warrant. Generally, however, police cannot search private property without a warrant absent exigent circumstances.

bluecoat said...

Thanks for the disclaimer there Quinn. And ravings are what since I am only semi-literate? there DA.

bluecoat said...

And with or without a warrant they must have probable cause??

TSCowperthwait said...

Correct, with or without a warrant they must have probable cause...

ctkeith said...

Rennie should Resign,

This correction is just to massive to ignore.

He Smeared Lawlor in order to try to convince readers that the corruption being exposed was a bipartisan issue when it was really entirely owned by Republicans just like the national Republican goons in the media tried to portray the Abramoff scandal.

Quinn said...

Then we have a departure between the real world and the world of the constitutional. If police interviewed people with blood on their shirts and it was apparant that the blood came from a scene at a private home, they would still have to get a warrant to search that private home (clearly that warrant would be very easy to get). The fact that minors drinking alcohol is seen as an exigent circumstance is in my view appalling. Underage drinking should not be classified as a different sort of crime than any other, either less serious or more serious in terms of the necessary legal steps (like obtaining a warrant) needed to ensure the rights of those accussed. Apparantly they think that 18-21 year olds won't excercise their legal rights.

Tim said...

BRubenstein,

Please send me those thoughts you had on Lamont's webpage -- ttagaris at yahoo dot com.

Tim

TSCowperthwait said...

Quinn, in your scenario the police still would not need a warrant if a reasonable, well-trained police officer would actually believe that a crime was still being committed.

bluecoat said...

Thank you again, Professor Cowperthwaite.

On the mental health issue I guess I should not have expected to pick up any bleeding hearts on this blog but how about folks whose pocketbooks are bleeding tax money because of the issue? Here from today's ultra liberal publication, the Wall Street Journal, is Trapped by Rules,
The Mentally Ill
Languish in Prison
, which talks about the issue on a ntional basis.

BRubenstein said...

Tim..i have forwarded you my suggestions that i had forwarded to Lamont's web or media person on 4/28/06 ..and never heard a word back from them.i am a supporter and someone should have gotten back to me in a timely fashion.

Tim said...

I can't always promise I'll be this timely... but, replied.

Tim

mod.dem.like.jfk said...

Quinn- No offense, but go to law school before you argue the law. Gabe is correct and its time to back down.

Rather than get into the Supreme Court history of probable cause, here is the scenario that most likely occured and gave the Farmington PD every right to arrest the parents...

There was a noise complaint that brought the police to the house. Upon arrival the police observed what seemed to be minors consuming alcohol. At that point, the police are 1) responding to a complaint and 2) have concluded that a crime may be in process (risk of injury to a minor).

Ergo, they have standing to enter the house and arrest the parents to stop a crime that is in process. That same probable cause would include an alarm bringing the cops to the house, a trail of blood, or a similar scenario.

Its not as if they are indescriminatly kicking in doors here.

Plus, I know you are in college, but underage drinking is serious and the parents in Farmington got what they deserve. Having a beer with your Dad is one thing, having a party with 15year olds and the Dad supplying beer is something totally different.

If you are worried about constitutional rights, start worrying about quaker organizations being put on watch lists, our phones being tapped, or this conversation being documented by the FBI.

mod.dem.like.jfk said...

I want to retract part of that last statement. There is no need to go to law school to argue the law. That was arrogant and I'm sorry...

What I should have said was, do some reading on Constitutional law before you argue Con Law. There is no need to be a lawyer, but there is a need to be informed before you decree something unconstitutional.

BRubenstein said...

I am pleased...Tim got back to me right away and thought my suggestions were uselfull and he seems very on top of his game...im pleased that Lamont attracted a man of his caliber.

TrueBlueCT said...

Bruce--
Was that Tim Tagaris asking for your input? What a welcome change!

Nothing against Aldon, but he was trying to be a one-man band... The best productions are always collaborations.

BRubenstein said...

TrueblueCt....i agree, this is a most welcome change....

Go_Huskies_2006 said...

I looked at opensecrets for the info about the Murphy and Johnson money that you mentioned, and what it shows is that Murphy actually has raised MORE MONEY than Johnson from people in Connecticut! That's pretty amazing. I guess if it wasn't for her Washington friends Johnson wouldn't have all that money for TV ads!

mightymouse, I couldn;'t find where it said if the money came from in the district. Where do you get the info about that?

TSCowperthwait said...

The legislature has just passed a bill giving the Governor the authority to order the U.S. flag lowered to half-mast when a U.S. military service member has died.

Tim White said...

I'm not a lawyer... but am curious if anyone has any comments about this scenario... if an 18 yr old is drinking, it's illegal, but he/she is an adult. What if a 13 yr old is drinking? Does that start to infringe on the rights of his/her parent(s)? From what I understand, cell phones now carry tracking devices. What if a parent calls the police and says they believe their child is drinking? And thru the child's cell phone, the police have pinpointed the location of the child inside another family's home. Does that give the police the right to simply enter the home without a search warrant?

I realize this may be a stretch, but I think it's plausible (assuming that story about tracking devices in cell phones is true.)

Tim White said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TSCowperthwait said...

Well, the legislature is really trying to end this session with a bang. They have now passed a bill shielding the press from being forced to reveal confidential sources. I am for freedom of the press, but I see some serious issues with this law, such as issues related to obstruction of justice. According to the Hartford Courant's website, 31 other states have similar laws.

bluecoat said...

I am not an expert on cell phone technology BUT from what I know the police or anybody else can't "pinpoint" a location of a cell phone without some technology that requires a warrant to use or a provider to disclose beyond a violation of some reasonable expectation of privacy - a land line is a different story.

Tim White said...

hypothetically... would a 13 yr old's parent(s) have the right to disclose that information/technology?

Tim White said...

Does this get similar to arguments that are used for/against "parental notification" laws?

bluecoat said...

No, the same thing is true with the listening device parents have in babies bedromms - if the kid is crying they are not allowed to go and provide comfort, it must be entirely random. How the hell do I know; I am not a lawyer but it seems logical that if a minor is in peril and the parents know where the minor is they can tell the police what they know to get the kid out of peril.

Tim White said...

bluecoat... hahaha... I don't know either. But based on all the discussion here, it seems to me that this law is probably, at least to some extent, in a grey area.

TSCowperthwait said...

Some recent court decisions across the country have split as to whether the tracking of person's location via cell phone is an unreasonable warrantless search. However, minors have limited rights and I doubt that it would be considered a warrantless search for the police to track down a child via a cell phone (which the parent most likely pays for).

KerryGuy said...

The Senate passed a version of Jessica's Law early this morning - makes the sexual assault of kids under 13 punishable by 25 years for the first offense and life in prison for the second. The House won't bring it up in time to pass it tonight. As one with two young daughters, I'd like to see some sort of resolution to this one.

TrueBlueCT said...

KerryGuy--
That's good news. I hope it passes in both houses. Far too often childhood sexual abuse gets shoved under the rug.

MikeCT said...

Chris Murphy is highlighted in today's New York Times story about Democratic challengers in the Northeast.

Independent analysts say there are at least a dozen competitive races in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Connecticut, many involving districts where voters have supported Democrats for president in recent elections while electing Republicans to Congress.
....
"In the past, the success of Northeast Republicans has been due to their ability to distance themselves from the national Republican agenda," Mr. Murphy said in a recent interview. "But Johnson has been in step with the national Republican agenda. And her claims that she is different have not been holding water."

...His feisty campaign has prompted the Johnson camp to respond with an early string of television advertisements attacking him.


More important than the in-state/out of state distinction is the source of Nancy Johnson's contributions - overwhelmingly health & insurance industry money for her work on their behalf. For example, the $82,000 she received from the pharmaceutical industry for protecting their interests during the three weeks when her Committe was considering the Medicare drug bill.

Gabe said...

Sorry I missed a good discussion (three hour study group for Employment Discrimination)!


Here is my disclaimer: I am a law student and not a lawyer; I'm a 1L and thus haven't taken some of the necessary classes to address these questions (i.e. Crim Pro); DO NOT rely on anything that I say as legal advice!

That said, here is my belated $0.02: I am in agreement with mod.dem.jfk and TSCowperthwait above in that there are different rules for what a police officer can and can't constitutionally do with respect to someone's home when they have probable cause to believe that a crime is in process or to prevent an immenant threat.

CCLU would likely not be that interested in case like this because of their limited resources.

Quinn, in your example above regarding plain sight, I believe that for a crime like this, the cops would not just be restricted to seeing alcohol; if they saw drunk minors they would be able to prevent the crime in progress.

BRubenstein - What you said above tweaked my interest (especially since I will be taking my Con Law exam in a few short weeks).

Two things:

1. Are you saying that a hypothetical lawyer with a client in a protected class would try to argue that a stricter test should be used? Wouldn't they also have to show a) that the law had a discriminatory effect and b) that the law had a discriminatory purpose? It seems that this law would apply evenly to all adults and that the legislature had no intention to discriminate; how would you make that argument? (If I understand you correctly)

2. Even if the strictest level of scrutiny was used, and with the understanding that laws viewed with this level are scrutiny are almost always overturned and the government will have the burden of persuasion, couldn't a case be made that the legislation is necessary to the compelling state interest of preventing teenagers from drinking illegally?

Sorry to unload on you like that, but I really enjoyed this discussion!

Gary Holder-Winfield said...

Destefano visited Southern Connecticut State University Monday see article

BRubenstein said...

gabe.... with respect to number 1 ...an expert will need to track the law and its effect...if the law unduly burdened a protected class more then the % of their population it might be proof that it was intended ro discriminate against them and also certainly the effect was discriminatory by the number of convictions of the protected class...and i could think of more senerio's

as to 2...you are correct that the state has the burden....but that "compelling state need" i think would give way to the protection of a "protected class" and most certainly if the "privacy right" of some kind of the protected class is violated.

ctkeith said...

Gary Holder-Winfield,

Thats Embarrassing.



For Southern.

Its the worst written article I've seen in a college Newspaper.The Editor of that newspaper should return to his freshman year in High School and start over.

ctkeith said...

Gary Holder-Winfield,

Do you really believe that knowing the percentage of people in jail on "technical violations of Parole" is the most important thing The mayor of New Haven should know?

Shilling for Malloy is fine but please don't take us as fools.

Chris MC said...

Sounds like DeStefano faced a tough crowd at Southern.

Wonder how Malloy got to those Southern kids? Is Holder-Winfield, as Keith says, a Malloy shill?

On another subject, I saw the CT-N piece on the announcement of legislation addressing many of the concerns raised in this space over the campaign finance reform legislation passed last year. I was particularly impressed with Speaker Amann's firm and no-nonsense reply to a reporter's challenge on the prerogative of the leadership to paritcipate in the process.

But more to the point for our purposes, I trust that the voices raised last year in protest of the shortcomings of the campaign finance bill will find an opportunity to applaud the work of the GAE and the Democratic leadership in both houses this spring. They've done us prouder still.

Gabe said...

Fair enough, but I can't seem to get past two things:

1. That this law would disproportionately affect a protected class.

2. That discriminatory intent could be shown (as opposed to discrimnatory effect).

Gary Holder-Winfield said...

It is not whether he knew the stats or not it is that he did not know anything. By the way after admitting he had no idea what to do about the situation with recidivism he turned to me and asked if I had a plan. I am not running for governor, he is.

Gary Holder-Winfield said...

And by the way a mayor who has to deal with this issue now being clueless about it is important. Call me what you like that is important. I do support malloy but that is because I was involved in politics in New Haven. Not a ringing endorsement of Destafano.

TSCowperthwait said...

DeStefano is very unimpressive as a public speaker. I lived in New Haven for five years and couldn't handle listening to him. On the other hand, I had the privilege of hearing Malloy speak last year at an event (not politically related) and he was very impressive. The only thing I wasn't sure I liked about Malloy's style was that he delivered his speech as if he was giving a sermon.

BRubenstein said...

Gabe..i admit..that will be difficult to prove....and the evidence ( if any) is yet to exist)

BRubenstein said...

Gabe..i admit..that will be difficult to prove....and the evidence ( if any) is yet to exist)