Former Rockville Connecticut Judge and former Connecticut State Police Commissioner Arthur L. Spada
My Comment to Arthur L. Spada in a Hartford Courant forum thread:
didn't you demote the highest ranking police woman because she was a woman while you were Connecticut State Police Commissioner?
I emailed you the text of a letter I sent to the USDOJ asking that the USDOJ webpage on Community Policing (COPS) be taken off the official Connecticut State Police website.
It was a day before I was to be sentenced for pepper spraying a mugger. I knew that if a former fellow Rockville Judge, Jonathan J. Kaplan went ballistic on me, I'd know that you contacted Kaplan and were illegally colluding with him to railroad me to prison.
I believe that is a felony that you committed among others.
Mr. Arthur L. Spada didn't you have chauffeurs haul you around at taxpayer expense? Didn't you falsify official records to hide that you were stealing from taxpayers as you were being driven around to golf ranges? An officer can be felony arrested for taking his cruiser home for lunch for the gas used. Why shouldn't you, Mr. Spada; be arrested for felony theft and fraud? Why couldn't you account for homeland security funds?
Who did more damage to the overall ethics of the Connecticut State Police, you or Lee?
Mr. Spada, you had no police powers, yet you were pulling people over on the highway, what is up with that, shouldn't you have your ego checked for this:
There are police officer rumors that you were either a client or helped run a prostitution ring that ran out of the Webster theatre in Hartford to service cops, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges, is that true? Was it called, "Spada's rub and tug"?
So, Mr. Spada, if you are felony arrested and convicted, should you be wearing the GPS at home arrest bracelet?
If there is ever real justice in Connecticut and the State gets Un-Mobbed up, I feel you will have to pay the piper. I would like an answer from you in writing regarding my belief that you illegally put me in prison for my having proposed Civilian Oversight of Police, for my being critical of State Police in letters to the editor, for attempting to sue police for violating my civil rights, and for upsetting your inflated ego by complaining about you to Rowland's former governor's office?
My email address and mailing address can be found in post on lawyers, here:
Mr. Spada, do you have the guts to answer me honestly?
Steven G. Erickson
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Arthur L. Spada's Hartford Courant piece:
Change Parole Rules - And Monitor Those Released
Arthur L. Spada
August 6, 2007
The Petit family tragedy is a metaphor for the pivotal failure of the Connecticut criminal justice system. Interlocking failures culminated in a night of terror orchestrated by recently paroled Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. The use of electronic ankle bracelets would have prevented this carnage.
The federal government and many of our sister states now embrace the use of attached ankle bracelets for all released felons. Connecticut needs to adopt a similar program. To do otherwise endangers innocents.
The state's prisons have become revolving doors for career criminals. The great wash of criminals cannot be tried because of the state's anachronistic, time-consuming, protracted voir dire requirement. Voir dire is a procedure by which prospective jurors are questioned. In Connecticut, they are questioned individually rather than in a group. Neither the federal government nor any of our sister states employ Connecticut's individual voir dire selection for juries.
This results in an abnormally high rate of plea bargaining and an abysmally low rate of trials. Every defendant in a plea-bargained disposition negotiates his own sentence. The result? Excessively short sentences for serious crimes.
Hayes, harnessed with a conviction record of 20 robberies and six larcenies, had plea-bargained for a five-year sentence to a charge of burglary. Hayes served two years and was paroled administratively, without benefit of a public hearing; nor were his victims notified. This miscue was legitimized by the recent enactment of Public Act 04-234.
This law must be repealed or seriously amended. Its unabashed purpose is "to reduce by 20 percent the number of inmates jailed due to technical violations of probation or parole." The message to parolees is no re-incarceration unless you repeatedly violate your conditions of parole or commit a serious crime.
But Public Act 04-234 causes additional harm to our citizenry. Except for a handful of heinous crimes, sentenced inmates are now eligible for administrative parole almost immediately. A staff clerk reviews a file without notifying the victims and then submits a recommendation - but there is no public record of the reason for the recommendation.
There is even more harm contained in the law: Inmates can be transferred to halfway houses 18 months before their release date. The Department of Correction can release inmates charged with a misdemeanor and Class D felons who cannot make bail. (This raises a serious separation of powers issue because bail-setting is a judicial function.) The Correction Department can release inmates for work or educational purposes to a community or private residence. The commissioner can issue renewable 30-day furloughs. Drug-dependent sellers can twice enter a treatment program in lieu of prosecution or jail.
The most contemptible provision of Public Act 04-234 is the shift of responsibility: It places the onus on the parole board to show why it should not grant parole rather than putting the burden on the prisoner to prove why he should be released: "The Board must give specific reasons why the person and public would not benefit from the person's parole while transitioning to the community."
This new standard is a stark affront to the law-abiding citizens of our state.
Connecticut's prisons must accommodate the influx of 5,000 prisoners annually. Because the prison population is at near-maximum, that means 5,000 inmates must be transferred or paroled to the community. The political resistance to building new prisons or placing inmates in out-of-state prisons mandates the use of electronic ankle bracelets.
These bracelets are electronically connected to global positioning satellites. The satellite can continuously transmit digital radio signals pinpointing the parolee's location. Currently, 268 sex offenders are electronically monitored by the state's parole division.
To protect citizens and to ensure against another Cheshire redux, we now need to use electronic ankle bracelets on all released felons during their entire parole period and on career criminals during fixed time periods beyond parole.
Ironically, the GPS solution would save taxpayers money, although saving lives and property, not saving dollars, would be the reason to use ankle bracelets. Inmates cost an average $30,000 per year; the GPS system costs an average $4,650 per year. The GPS can help parole officers enforce curfews and keep parolees within circumscribed boundaries.
The repeal of Public Act 04-234, the removal of voir dire in criminal cases and the use of electronic ankle bracelets for all paroled and career criminals will usher a new day of domestic tranquility. Such changes would burnish the images of the Cheshire innocents.
Arthur L. Spada, a former Superior Court judge, was state commissioner of public safety in the Rowland administration.
Copyright © 2007, The Hartford Courant
[click here] for the above on the Courant
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Friday, June 09, 2006
The Connecticut State Police Omerta Crumbling?
Arthur L. Spada, former Connecticut State Police Commissioner
Witness Reveals `Secret' Meeting Says Session Involved Public Safety Chief, Father Of Slain Man
June 9, 2006 By TRACY GORDON FOX And ALAINE GRIFFIN, Courant Staff Writers
MERIDEN -- A former state police commissioner went behind the backs of detectives feverishly tracking leads in the 2003 mob-style killing of a Middletown businessman, holding a "secret meeting" with the victim's father and attorney, according to testimony in the larceny trial of former state police Maj. Greg Senick.
Timothy Barry, a former commander and colonel of the state police, made the accusations against his former boss, Public Safety Commissioner Arthur Spada, during testimony Wednesday in Senick's trial in Superior Court in Meriden. The trial has become a fish bowl of the dysfunctional state police hierarchy during Spada's tenure, which ended in 2004.
Through his pointed cross-examinations, Senick's attorney, James Wade, has tried to show that Senick's arrest was fueled by politics from outside and within the department. Under Wade's questioning, Barry, a prosecution witness, disclosed the meeting Spada and Senick held in 2003 concerning one of Middletown's most notorious unsolved homicides, the slaying of Joseph Mazzotta.
It was "a secret meeting that was completely undisclosed and undocumented and after that, Mr. Wade, I told your client if he ever did anything like that again I would run him right out of the state police," Barry said.
"And I told him, don't ever do that again. If that ever occurs where the commissioner is going to do something unethical as that, you have to tell me about that," said Barry, who now works in fraud management for a Hartford insurance company.
Senick, who is accused of charging thousands of dollars in bills to the state while living in state-owned property, had been Spada's chief of staff.
Reached at home Thursday, Spada, a former Superior Court judge, acknowledged meeting with Salvatore Mazzotta, the father of Joseph Mazzotta, who had been shot in the face and neck at point-blank range in Middletown. But he vehemently denied there was anything secretive or unethical about it and said that Barry was bitter and out to get him because he drummed Barry out of the department, after he learned Barry was trying to get his job.
"It's an outrage. It's the mad ranting of a disturbed and paranoid mind," Spada said of Barry, whom he had appointed colonel.
"It was the worst appointment I ever made, and I regret it."
Spada said he frequently met with citizens who wrote to him about cases or problems.
"Mr. Mazzotta is a citizen. He lost a son in a very gruesome killing," he said.
"I conducted hundreds of these sessions when I had a complaint."
Spada said the meeting was held in the library of his office and that state police attorney Dawn Hellier was there.
"It was on the calendar," he said.
Spada said Mazzotta had asked the state police to take over the investigation of his son's death from Middletown police. He said the major crime unit had already completed its investigation and had turned over any evidence to Middletown detectives.
But according to Barry and other sources, the state police Statewide Narcotics Task Force and Organized Crime Task Force were still involved when that meeting took place.
Friends found Mazzotta's body in the offices of the family's equipment-rental business on Boston Road in Middletown on April 14, 2003. Police never determined a motive for the killing.
Mazzotta, 40, was a member of one of Middletown's wealthiest families, prominent in local construction and real estate.
Investigators have examined the family's investments in the Schaghticoke Indian tribe in Kent and Joseph Mazzotta's involvement in Cocktails on the Green, the Cromwell bar in which Mazzotta had a silent interest. The bar was in financial trouble, and police sources said low-level transactions of narcotics and stolen goods took place there. Before his son was killed, Salvatore Mazzotta had hired bodyguards to keep order at the bar. He also paid tens of thousands of dollars to settle the bar's debts so it could be sold.
About a month before the slaying, a severed pig's head was left at the bar's front stoop.
In December 2003, Middletown investigators went to Springfield, Mass., looking for possible connections between Mazzotta's slaying and the Nov. 23, 2003, killing of Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, a reputed mobster for the New York-based Genovese crime family.
Bruno attended Mazzotta's wake and funeral and is known to have associated with Salvatore Mazzotta, sources close to the investigation have said. Last December, Frankie Roche, a Massachusetts man with reputed mob ties, was charged with murder in Bruno's death.
Salvatore Mazzotta had been meeting regularly with Middletown police for updates, police sources said, but the meetings are now less frequent. Sources have said Mazzotta's involvement has been awkward at times, partially because in 1990, Salvatore Mazzotta was charged and later acquitted in a cocaine-trafficking case.
On Thursday, Mazzotta recalled meeting with state police after his son was killed, but he could not remember meeting with Spada. He said a stroke he had four months ago has affected his memory.
Mazzotta said his greatest frustration has been police officers' insistence that he knows more about this than he is saying.
"Instead of looking for who killed my son, they were looking at me," Mazzotta said about Middletown detectives.
"They go to Springfield, they follow me. I'd be a damn fool if I know who did it and don't tell."
Mazzotta, who had asked for state police help days after the slaying, said he lacked confidence Middletown police could find his son's killer and was disheartened when state police pulled out of the case just months after the slaying. He said no one has contacted him about the investigation in 2½ years.
"They left me hanging. I don't know nothing," Mazzotta said.
"I don't have faith in nobody no more. I lost a son."
Middletown Deputy Police Chief Lynn Baldoni declined to comment on the investigation Thursday.
Spada's name had come up at a March 4, 2004, meeting between state police investigators, Drug Enforcement Administration officials and officers from the Statewide Narcotics Task Force.
At that meeting, state police Capt. Peter Terenzi, then head of the narcotics task force, voiced concern about Spada's involvement in the Mazzotta case
In a report, Terenzi said that Spada had friends and associates in the area who "were also some of the people we were looking at as possible or potential targets."
Terenzi was later transferred and disciplined after allegations surfaced that he disparaged Spada's familiarity with Italians.
In his testimony, Barry said Senick was "obligated" to disclose the 2003 meeting with Mazzotta, which occurred "while an investigation is going out and dozens of officers are trying to solve the case."
"You know, Mr. Wade, as a criminal defense attorney the consequences of actions like that," Barry said, referring to how the meeting may have affected the case.