The circus is in town along with Laci Peterson.....
We are now a little over 1 week into the session, and lets see what's been accomplished, shall we?
We now have a "Laci Peterson" bill (Senate Bill 146) that has already passed the Senate (if I remember correctly, the vote was like 34-2), and by all accounts, will probably pass the House too. This bill creates a second crime if you kill a fetus in an attack on the mother. I have to wonder, what exactly is the purpose of this bill? If you murder the mom, and get life in prison with no mercy, what extra advantage does it have in giving you another life in prison without mercy sentence for killing the fetus? West Virginia doesn't have the death penalty, so what exactly is the point of this bill? Are they going to somehow make the convicted murderer die of old age in prison TWICE somehow?
The fact that it flew through the Senate, and probably will also fly through the House, within days of the start of the session, really has to make you question where the priorities are in the Legislature. Isn't West Virginia losing population at a record pace? Isn't West Virginia basically an economic hellhole for businesses? The schools are all struggling for money, and manufacturing plants are leaving as fast as they can pack up their gear. Yet, the Legislature is concerned right out of the gate with a "Laci Peterson" bill? Thanks, WV Legislature, for wasting good legislative time on nonsense like this.
But hey, just like today's Charleston Gazette says, the Senators didn't vote their conscience, they voted out of fear for their seat at the public trough. They sure did show their yellow stripes on this issue. Don't do the "right" thing, do the thing that keeps your ass in power.
On another front, there was an article in the paper a few weeks ago, about this guy who was a real punk. Typical drug dealing, domestic abusing, violent jackass. His name was Raymond Richardson. He basically beat up his pregnant girlfriend back in like 1999. He forced her to strip naked, and he poured gasonline on her and threatened to burn her, he threatened to shoot her. He gets convicted and sentenced to 20 years with no parole. In May 2004, he got his conviction reduced to 10 years and he's now eligible for parole by the West Virginia Supreme Court. Because he had served roughly 5 years, he was eligible for parole and got out. Amazingly, however, the WVSC decided to issue this decision "per curiam" which means it comes out without any formal vote on the decision. It's very suspicious why they issued this decision per curiam, and the Kanawha County Prosecutor stated so in the media.
Just a couple weeks ago, Richardson was picked up again, after his "new" girlfriend accuses him of many of the same things that he was convicted of in 1999. However, evidently after spending some serious time with Richardson's family, she's now changed her story, and retracts many of the accusations that led to the felony charges against Richardson. The Magistrate has no option but to drop the felony charges. He's still on the hook for a misdemeanor or two, but the real serious charges are dismissed. The prosecutor's office at least alludes to the fact the girlfriend may have been pressured by the Richardson's family to change her story.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Richardson's mom works as a secretary for the West Virginia Supreme Court. Anyone have any theories why they issued the decision to let Richardson out?