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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: Crime

Re: “Shumlin's Unlikely Legacy: A Judiciary of His Appointees

Remember that the Brigham decision was issued as a "per curiam" decision, meaning that its authorship came from the Supreme Court as a whole, not Justice Dooley or any other member of the Court. (I am aware that there is a common belief in the state that Justice Dooley wrote the opinion, but I am not aware that he or the Court has ever confirmed this.) Per curiam decisions are rare for the Vermont Supreme Court. Perhaps when Justice Dooley retires, he will share how this came to be.

Posted by Tom Little on 10/16/2016 at 5:41 AM

Re: “Shumlin's Unlikely Legacy: A Judiciary of His Appointees

I think it's fair to say that Dooley's Brigham decision (that changed school-funding) was very well-intentioned but ultimately a practical failure in terms of how the Legislature has implemented it. Act 60, Act 68, Act 46, etc.

When you get your local property tax bill, you have no idea how much of your money actually goes to your local school versus how much the state is taking for redistribution around the state. The school-funding mechanism is so complicated that a Democratic representative told me that no more than 3 or 4 people in the entire state understand it. Even the chair of the House Education Committee, Dave Sharpe (Bristol) has admitted he doesn't get it. He provided school administrations who were working on their budgets with inaccurate information about Act 46.

Because of this consolidation of power to Montpelier away from local school districts and local taxpayers, there has been an unintended consequence from Dooley's Brigham decision of weakening local community spirit and support for local schools. In ostensibly "solving" one problem (unequal school financing), the Dooley Supreme Court unfortunately created other new problems.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 10/12/2016 at 4:21 PM

Re: “Packed Prisons Retain Inmates Past Their Release Dates

I don't hear any remorse about taking my son's father away and now he will never know him or have any relationship with Sean EVER! None of you seem to care how his father's MURDER has affected Sean's son. He has his father's picture on his nightstand and it's been there since the day he was told his father was dead. He had to sign legal permission to have his father cremated when he was only 14 years old. And none of you seem to care at all about that, not Wendy's family or Sean's family either. You all make me ill.

Posted by amyj on 10/08/2016 at 6:42 AM

Re: “Representing: A Busy Public Defender Stands Up for Her Clients

Great story on a seriously under-reported issue, Molly. The award winning documentary "Gideon's Army" follows several public defenders across the country, and would be a great source for anyone looking to learn more.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ryan on 10/05/2016 at 4:09 PM

Re: “Representing: A Busy Public Defender Stands Up for Her Clients

I so appreciate learning about the current status of public defenders in the state and Lanthiers' particular professionalism, commitment, and compassion. It's commendable. That said, it is difficult to hear about someone violating protection from abuse orders and know the plight of women and children in the state without acknowledging the complexity of this, too. Obviously, underlying, core issues like educational access and multi-generational poverty need to be addressed. But while we're looking humanisticly at one person's fate, let's not forget the whole picture. Deb Sherrer, Shelburne

Posted by Deb S on 10/04/2016 at 7:32 AM

Re: “Two Paths Converge With Fatal Consequences in Winooski

Hey seven days, I find it a bit suspect that you purposefully skated over the reasons palmier left his first two jobs. From the way you worded it one could assume that he left willingly when it's public knowledge that he was TERMINATED from both the winooski dept AND the st Albans dept. I thought you guys were better than that...

11 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Margarita Gonzalez on 10/03/2016 at 11:34 AM

Re: “'TV T.J.' Donovan: The Likely Next AG Pushes Criminal Justice Reform

Good for TVTJ but a word of advice - learn what the AGs office actually has the authority to do and the scope of subject matter handled by the AGs office or keep quiet. Criminal justice is just a small part of it all. For those if us who are aware of the breadth of matters that the AGs office handles TJ comes across as a know nothing ninny every time he opens his mouth. Surely he must know people in the AGs office. He really needs to talk to them and get a clue!

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Roy on 09/28/2016 at 5:52 PM

Re: “Two Paths Converge With Fatal Consequences in Winooski

What makes cops see every individual who fits one of the profiles they are obviously taught as criminal? Secondly, why do they believe their perception means they can murder that person, even though they have not been fired at or otherwise attacked?

It seems to me that law enforcement should be taught that even those whom they believe to be criminally involved have rights that should be respected. Besides the basic human right to life, one of those other rights is the right to be afforded a trial. When police murder suspects, at the least they deprive those suspects of those human and civil rights. The fact that law enforcement does not appear to see suspects as either having the right to life or the right to a trial says to me that they are not police officers, but military forces trained to kill anything that moves. The fact that so many police have served in combat zones where they could kill anything that moved is something that needs to be looked at when hiring new recruits. The fact that police act this way in their own nation and community is indicative of a police state.

That’s not what we signed up for.

8 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by ronj1955 on 09/28/2016 at 1:03 PM

Re: “'TV T.J.' Donovan: The Likely Next AG Pushes Criminal Justice Reform

Maybe Mr Donovan can reign in Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage who seems to be all about kicking people when they are down . Perhaps he can show her the error of her vindictive ways .

Normally I wouldn't support such a nakedly ambitious politico but in this case I'll wave my suspicions .
Love the fact that Donovan's favorite group is the Tragically Hip .

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 09/21/2016 at 7:37 PM

Re: “Not-So-Rapid Intervention: Plan to Help Addicted Defendants Falls Short

Legalize. Take it out of the courts.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by lorinduckman on 09/09/2016 at 9:20 AM

Re: “Not-So-Rapid Intervention: Plan to Help Addicted Defendants Falls Short

They need to review restorative justice programs as well. Huge money drain, utilizing misdirected grant funds, with little positive impact on recidivism and victim rights. Because they are portrayed as pillars of the community by law enforcement, as though they could do no wrong, they slide under the radar. Oh, and the megalomaniacs that run these programs are free to wreak havoc on volunteers, offenders and staff with little oversight at all. Everyone will continue to turn a blind eye, acting as though these programs are truly progressive and beneficial, but soon the word will be out.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by John Powers on 09/08/2016 at 3:58 PM

Re: “Brothers' Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons' Overdose Deaths

NW State Correctional Facility is in St. Albans Town, not Swanton.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan Parent on 09/06/2016 at 7:20 AM

Re: “Brothers' Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons' Overdose Deaths

Being a progressive with a libertarian bent, I have sympathy for these parents as I would for anyone who loses a loved one. Just not on board with the idea of going after the drug dealer, any more than I would have supported going after her sons for using illegal drugs. Putting these people in prison wouldn't serve justice or our society as the problem has only gotten worse despite our country having the highest incarceration rate in the world due to drug offenses.

I would like people to take personal responsibility for their choices but have the freedom to make those choices. These men chose to take heroin, a drug that scares the crap out of me and I would never consider doing because it is well known how often it is laced with harmful additives. I strongly support the district attorney's decision and hope this office will continue resisting public pressure to prosecute drug offenses .

9 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Penelope on 09/02/2016 at 1:36 PM

Re: “Brothers' Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons' Overdose Deaths

Catie - I couldn't agree more. A tragedy I still cannot fathom for my dear Penny and family. So much unending love to you all. -Kristen Toy

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Kristen Ninneman Toy on 08/31/2016 at 7:39 PM

Re: “Brothers' Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons' Overdose Deaths

In all the articles written, and the final autopsy concluded, Dennis and Sean's death was caused by FENTANYL INTOXICATION. No other drugs were found in their system. I ask you, the unbiased and biased audience, the drugs sold and given was in fact NOT HEROIN BUT PURE FENTANYL. In the state of VT my understanding is" if you buy heroin, and know it is heroin,and you overdose on that drug, it is all on you." If you buy what you are told is heroin and it IS NOT heroin, that in my opinion, and I believe a law in the state of VT, constitutes murder. I will try to help my sister and our families to move past this unbelievable tragedy, but I will never ever give up on making the person responsible for Dennis and Sean's death, to be held accountable for his part in causing their deaths.

Catie Barnier

18 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Catie Barnier on 08/31/2016 at 3:19 PM

Re: “Brothers' Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons' Overdose Deaths

Dennis and Sean were kind souls. I remember the first time meeting them and thinking "who are these tough guy, heavy metal dudes?", but I couldn't have been more wrong. Over the years of playing softball together, poker games, or nerding out to cell phone gadgetry, I learned how passionate and caring they were. Often it's the people with the biggest hearts that get into using. So tragic...I think of them often. My heart hurts for the family.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jeremy H on 08/31/2016 at 2:21 PM

Re: “Brothers' Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons' Overdose Deaths

Sad story . My sympathies to the Thibaults . It's too bad you didn't discover your sons drug use but unfortunately this is not surprising . Drug users usually hide their habits well especially with their parents and family's.

I am disappointed that it took 7days hundreds of words to put a name , Bobby Robidoux , to the suspected drug dealer selling spiked heroin . Are you afraid of slandering him ?

As for the professor , guns and motorcycles are not illegal . Additionally if either of these products had been altered to vastly increase the potential death of their users , yes you would be responsible for any resulting deaths , You can only shake your head at the Professor Sands of the world where everything is a law school debate .

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 08/31/2016 at 12:10 PM

Re: “Bennington Locks Up More People Than Any Other Vermont County

The Bennington DOC is the most corrupt unfair agency I have had the displeasure to have to deal with. They have no rules to follow and are given the discretion to do what they want to you for as long as they want to with no consequences to them whatsoever. If they don't like you it matters not if your charge was a misdemeanor. They have kept my three year old from access to her father for over two and a half years for no explainable reason with no end in sight. Years of begging for mercy and trying to find help did nothing but make things worse. If it's so known what they do why haven't they been stopped?

Posted by victim of doc on 08/26/2016 at 5:39 PM

Re: “Case Dismissed: Echoes of National Police Issues in a Vermont Courtroom

That should assuage Rainville's White Guilt except he put the Public in danger once again as I agree wholeheartedly with Carolyn Hanson's argument as well. If there is a THIRD impaired driving event with this young man and someone is injured the next time I wonder if Rainville will suffer another feeling of guilt?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by JimM on 08/16/2016 at 6:05 PM

Re: “Case Dismissed: Echoes of National Police Issues in a Vermont Courtroom

This decision seems to reinforce the need for people of color to be "well behaved" in situations involving police when the real national issue is the behavior of police in these interactions. While Louard benefits from a decision that looks compassionate on the surface, it may send the message that subservience is rewarded.

2 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Paul Fixx on 08/14/2016 at 8:57 PM

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