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Senator Is Ok With Release Of White Collar Criminals

by Hugh McQuaid | Aug 3, 2012 2:51pm
(17) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Town News, Meriden, Public Safety, State Capitol

Hugh McQuaid photo

Sen. Len Suzio and Fapyo Ghazil

As Sen. Len Suzio was holding his second press conference in opposition to an inmate early release program, the Malloy administration was blasting him as a hypocrite for advocating the early release of a white collar criminal who’d served only 10 percent of his sentence.

Suzio was in Meriden Friday outside the EZ Mart, where 70-year-old shop owner Ibrahim Ghazal was murdered during a robbery in June. Police have charged Frankie Resto with his murder.

Resto was recently released from prison and earned 199 days risk reduction credits, according to the Department of Corrections. However, not all of the credits were applied, and unlike most inmates, Resto served 91 percent of his sentence. Typically prisoners serve 85 percent of their sentence before they are released on probation.

Suzio was collecting signatures for a petition to suspend the program with Ghazal’s son. But just weeks before Ghazal’s murder, Suzio was recommending the program be used to release John Papandrea, a Meriden resident sentenced to prison on embezzlement charges.

On June 12 Suzio wrote this letter on behalf of Papandrea, whom he said would still be a productive member of society when he gets out of prison.

“I believe that it makes more sense for the residents of Connecticut to have nonviolent prisoners released early versus those with a violent record,” Suzio wrote.

Michael P. Lawlor, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s criminal justice adviser, released a statement calling the Meriden Republican a hypocrite and saying that Papandrea’s crimes impacted many people.

“The hypocrisy of Sen. Suzio’s actions is that much more outrageous when you consider he recently requested that a convicted felon be reìeased after serving only 10 percent of his sentence. Inmate John Papandrea was convicted for a Bernie Madoff-like crime of embezzling over $1 million from his employer in order to buy artwork for his home,” Lawlor said.

The company Papandrea had been working for was forced to lay off 18 employees because of the embezzlement, he said.

“Does he not think anyone was hurt by Mr. Papandrea’s actions? Maybe he can tell that to the innocent employees who lost their jobs,” Lawlor said.

Hugh McQuaid photo

EZ Mart in Meriden

Asked about Papandrea, Suzio said he was a non-violent criminal who received an unusually severe sentence. He accused the administration of trying to confuse the media on the issue, which he said has nothing to do with non-violent criminals.

“Don’t let them play rope-a-dope with you. That’s what they want to do. They want to shuck and jive and get you off the issue because they know they’ve got problems,” Suzio said. “... We’re not talking about non-violent offenders and to confuse that and let the administration get away with that confusion is a disservice to the public.”

In issuing the statement, Lawlor said he was just “pointing out the obvious inconsistencies” in Suzio’s position on the early release program. But he said Suzio’s decision to hold a press event with a family member of a man who’s been recently murdered was “outrageous” and “sort of a last straw.”

“Sen. Suzio ought to be ashamed of himself. His insistence on spreading inaccurate information about this case does nothing but exploit a tragedy, its victim, and its victim’s family. It should be beneath the office he holds,” Lawlor said.

But Ghazal’s son Fapyo said he agreed with Suzio’s position on the early release law.

“What Mr. Senator said about how he left the prison—he left the prison to kill my dad. That’s what I believe and I agree with what he said about it,” Fapyo Ghazal said. “If this guy, he were sitting in prison now, he not kill my dad.”

Suzio said, as far as he was concerned, the program allowed Ghazal to be killed.

“I would say, without the early release law, Mr. Ghazal would be alive today. And I think that’s what the media ought to focus on,” Suzio said.

Following the press conference some of the onlookers gathered at the gas station signed Suzio’s petition. One of them was 69-year-old Meriden resident Dusty Beaty, who knew the late Ghazal.

Beaty said he would frequently stop by Ghazal’s shop after the bars closed and chat with the shopkeeper. For simplicity’s sake he said he referred to Ibrahim Ghazal as “Joe.”

“Nicest guy in the world. Everybody liked him,” Beaty said.

Though he signed the early release petition, the risk reduction credit program was not Beaty’s most pressing criminal justice concern.

“The only thing I don’t agree with is the fricken state abolishing the death penalty. I don’t agree with that,” he said.

Beaty said he thought Resto deserved the death penalty if he’s convicted of killing Ghazal.

“Dig a hole, kill him, and put him in there,” he said.

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(17) Comments

posted by: CT Jim | August 3, 2012  3:36pm

Atta Boy Lenny,
Come to the defense of a guy who stole more than a million dollars while basing your re-election campaign on a false premise that you care for working class people. So it’s ok to rob people as long as your white collar???? This is why the only wallstreet guy to go to jail after robbing the american public of $8trillion was Bernie Madoff. Why??? Cause he had the guts to rob the rich!!! If it was poor or middleclass he’d be on the golf course now. Lenny time to give it up you are a phoney

posted by: CT Jim | August 3, 2012  3:45pm

Many many white collar crimals that get out of prison go on to commit other white collar crimes. I guess Lenny see’s that as ok. Others get jobs as the jobs czar for Waterbury and become radio personalities while being investigated for more white collar crimes. just saying….

posted by: panderbear | August 3, 2012  3:48pm

Biased title much?

posted by: wmwallace | August 4, 2012  1:47am

I would rather see white collar criminals released than those with violent criminals. There is no comparison, politics aside CT Jim.  A man died because of early release program. No halfway house, no monitoring system, just let go. Is that the system we are citizens of Connecticut deserve. I think not.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | August 4, 2012  8:19am

DrHunterSThompson

Well, I get the criticism of suzio. He hasn’t gotten the distinction between rizzo’s release and the RREC legislation, which is to bad because he is misleading people and causing hysteria. But advocating for a white collar criminal is not a biggie. Many white collar criminals should be doing 10 years of fulltime public service rather than 5 years in jail.

HST

posted by: CT Jim | August 4, 2012  10:36am

So when a white collar crimanal scams law abiding citizens TOTALLY destroying thier lives and the lives of thier children and grandchildren leading up to divorces and in some cases suicides and others resorting to crime to survive this to you mr wallace is fine???? Really??? What about the 18 families that where destroyed by this white collar criminal??? Your fine with that??? All politics aside is the fact that white collar crimes lead to lots of death and destruction its just not done with a gun. If a wallstreet banker destroys hundreds of lives he should get life in prison without parole period!! Not saying this guy was ok in what he did it was wrong and he will be punished and from what I read is he was let out 199 days early and under the old rules he still would have gotten out more than 100 days early so was leaving him in there another 2 months going to stop him from commiting more crimes??? Not all criminals come out to committ more crimes some do it’s hard to see in a persons head. And there are plenty of repeat white collar criminal to fill a 100 prisons. Heck look no further that the felon ex gov

posted by: CT Jim | August 4, 2012  11:34am

This whole Suzio grandstanding does absolutley nothing to prevent this type of crime from happening in the future and the underlying issues need to be looked at but are often ignored with just keep the prisons full. We already have the highest incarceration rate in the world which says a whole lot about our society for sure. There should be better ways to prevent these crimes but I lack the expertise for sure so wont tell you how. As for decriminilizing white collar crime well now thats send a fine message for sure. I You rob a bank with a note and fake gun for $10,000 you get 15-25 years of hard time but if you figure out a way to gut a pension fund of $150 million you get to volunteer at the YMCA once a week for 5 years…..Gee then we should make sure all our children go to a great white crime school. They could advertise saying we gaurantee you’ll never have to spend a day in jail and yet be able to steal hundreds of millions and we have the record to prove it LOL this is too funny

posted by: SalRomano | August 4, 2012  7:28pm

Ct Jim & DrHunterSThompson:
White collar criminals receivng early relese from prison—aren’t the type of career, savage robbery attack criminals responsible for the multiple Cheshire and recent Meriden killings. Only William Wallace is accurate in his appraisal. White collar felons will steal from—but not murder defenseless victims.

posted by: wmwallace | August 4, 2012  10:22pm

CT Jim you are missing the point. The law is a bad law and the governor should suspend it until they can work something out. To give good time before the program was law is a joke. 

I for one care more about the safety of the public. That is one thing government should do. 

I get it you don’t like Senator Suzio. But that is not the point. The point being that the law is a bad law and because he was released early “Resto” who committed the murder. 

Victims should have more rights than the criminals.

posted by: CT Jim | August 5, 2012  5:22am

I’m not missing any point here. And for you to say the law is bad so suspend it immediately is based on your judgement and not on any research saying the suspension of this law would have prevented the crime that happened. I think the report will show that is not the case. I’m also appalled mr Wallace and the Dr here poo poo the effects of white collar crime and what it does to the victims and their families. I’m sure the reason is that they and the people they associate themselves with are more likely to commit white collar crime so obviously it must be victimless right? This is a joke

posted by: CT Jim | August 5, 2012  8:16am

Also It’s not that I don’t like Suzio, he seems like a likeable type of guy. Fact is he’s a horrible legislator who for two years has done nothing except for look for gimmics to get re-elected. If it wasn’t this issue he’d be back on the we need a gas tax holiday. Really? Are you kidding me? Thats all he’s got? Something that has no chance at all. He has spent the last two years attaching right wing teaparty amendments to bills and wasting time while they get plucked off. Another of his favorites is to attach an amendment on behalf of a towing company in Meriden so they can get a raise from the state on towing vehicles and then getting the rates indexed for inflation costing tax payers even more. Yet he was against indexing minimum wage. You see bad legislator not bad guy. And Sal PLEEAASSE cut the garbage out. If a white collar criminal who by the way took some time and planned on screwing people out of thier life savings does just that and the now penniless victim who lost all thier savings and home and marriage to this con wake up and one day kill themselves because of this….Is that anyless of a murder???

posted by: SalRomano | August 5, 2012  11:16am

CTJim: Let’s face it—you don’t like Len Suzio because he is a Republican. Your limited Democratic psychology provokes you to attack the views of all Republicans.  You can’t be more insulting to Republicans, than you are already—“so why continue your hateful political gobblygook?”  Everyone already knows you for being a GOP hate-monger. So, what else is new?

posted by: wmwallace | August 5, 2012  10:27pm

The safety of the public comes first CT Jim. Maybe in your mind it doesn’t. One life is one to many to lose because you and others think violent criminals should be released early. As for white collar crimes they are called they don’t put the public in physical danger.

Suzio wants to cut taxes, what a horrible thing, that the taxpayer keeps more of their money. What a scandal…. Cutting our ridiculous gross receipts tax was one step but we could have used a summer break on the high taxes as well. You on the other hand seem to like bloated government from what I have heard from you here.

posted by: wmwallace | August 5, 2012  10:29pm

CT Jim here are some facts about early release program.

http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2012/08/04/opinion/doc501c24e35c5c0246174554.txt?viewmode=fullstory

posted by: CT Jim | August 6, 2012  9:22am

@wmwallace i"ll check out the early release program stuff but never click on a link for obvious reasons. Your defense of white collar criminals is disturbing when you think its ok to destroy a families future as long as your not beating them over the head with a bat. But hey didn’t expect anyless. As for Sal LOL your a joke and if thats hate to you then so be it. The questioning of intelligence is an art you republicans have mastered even though it makes no sense at all but if thats all you got use it. As for this conversation good by

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | August 6, 2012  10:33am

DrHunterSThompson

Y’all need to get a grip. No one is poo pooing white collar crime, nor is anyone suggesting working one day a week at some non-profit. White collar crimes need to be punished, no question, but incarceration needs to be saved for violent and dangerous criminals. If there was no overcrowding and no enormous budget issue no one would be getting out early. White collar criminals should be considered for house arrest and a lengthy community service commitment that puts their skills to work for us, for free.

HST

posted by: BrianO | August 6, 2012  6:11pm

Criminal justice policy can never be decided by examining one case.  What happened to Mr. Ghazal is a horrible tragedy and Mr. Resto has established himself as someone that has completely lost his right to freedom, if not his life.  The real issue being addressed is whether the risk reduction program is just and makes sense.  Of course it does, especially in light of Connecticut criminal justice practices.  For over 20 years, our state’s prison population has skyrocketed as crime decreased to its lowest levels in 45 years. Our criminal justice system is disproportionate to our state need, as we rank in the 40s in all major crime categories, but mid 20s in incarceration.  Politicians choose to be tough on crime because they cannot be smart about anything else.  We now have the highest rates of incarceration of any state in our region:  higher than New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island etc.  Mr. Resto would have killed someone if he served 50%, 75% or 125% of his sentence because he was violent and prison did nothing to change that fact.  Most of the 35,000 people that leave incarceration each year have established that they should be provided an opportunity to create a new life and that instinct should be encouraged.  We all benefit if they are successful.