“It’s not that they want to die…They can’t figure out a way to go on living”
Joe Mantleman, Needham,, Mass Youth Services Director
Writers, advocates, criminologists, physicians, counselors and others walk a fine line when the topic of suicide is broached. It is a sensitive topic filled with complexity in each and every case. However, to the public at large, especially those who have not experienced such a loss, sometimes there is a puzzling curiosity –even a morbid fascination. For surviving family members, it is an abyss of the heart and soul, never to be filled again.
In July 2011 I wrote about the troubling cases of suicide associated with the Coronado Bridge in San Diego and why any architectural structure serves as a vessel for violent death. It remains one of my most widely read blogs, even today.
Why? I don’t know. Perhaps it takes courage to write about such topics and the knowledge that someone else may benefit.
This blog examines attitudes and trends from different perspectives.
A Cultural Perspective:
It is a well-known fact that Asian countries have the highest suicide rates proportionally worldwide. According to data from the World Health Organization between 1996 and 2006, there was a doubling of suicides in South Korea to 21.9 % per 10,000 people. Reportedly suicide has a historical base and is considered “honorable.”
Death is considered honorable in many circumstances. Within the Western cultures of North America and Europe, the reality of the possibility of death and lack of planning that goes with certain professions as in the military, firefighters of 9-11; and bodyguards which would be considered “honorable “given the circumstances.
However, it is entirely different in Asian cultures. When it came to ancient wars in times of political instability, an honorable death was one in which a defeated, captured enemy is given the opportunity to commit suicide in order to salvage his honor. According to sources at http://www.flagcases.net, the defeated man would, “slice open his abdomen and then bend over to receive the final blow…a swordsman was often the best friend or a family member of the enemy, who would in turn be ready to accept a similar fate.
Former South Korean President Roo Moo –Hyun committed suicide, describing his life as difficult and lamenting that a supposed political scandal was the cause of his death. He was a new kind of leader than his predecessors. However, a contribution and payment for a debt turned into something else.
A New York Times article quotes, “Don’t be too sad,” Mr. Roh said in the note, meant for his wife and two children. “Life and death are all parts of nature. Don’t be sorry. Don’t blame anyone. Accept it as fate.” An hour and a half later, as the sun rose through a cloudy sky, Mr. Roh, 62, climbed a hill overlooking his native village of Bongha, on the south coast, and jumped off a cliff.”
A CNN article made reference to sensationalizing suicides, particularly in Hong Kong. I dare say the U.S. does the same with its Hollywood Celebrities.
A study conducted in 2004 by the US National Library of Medicine-National Institute of Health stated:
“Newspapers tended to report on those suicide victims who suffered relationship problems, whereas those who had family problems were significantly underreported. Among the suicides reported in the newspapers, 6.2% were found on the front page and the majority of the reports were presented pictorially. The reporting of suicides was selective and the coverage was incomplete, with student suicides reported excessively. The method of reporting for Hong Kong newspapers was not in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization or international best practices on presenting suicide news”.
Within devout Fundamentalist Islam, the fathers of women who stray from their religion have the duty of honorable death by murdering their daughters in order to restore honor to the family and the woman’s soul.
Trends in Suicide Attempts:
In February 2014, the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center were the sponsoring organizations for research regarding seasonal trends. The information was published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. The two researchers reviewed1.065 million recorded calls to the National Poison Data base System. Essentially, their conclusions were:
- During spring and fall, New Year’s Day and the beginning of the week yielded higher numbers of ingestions in attempts to commit suicide
- Separated by age, Mondays & Tuesdays were the most common time for teenagers to attempt suicide while adults chose Sunday and Mondays most frequently
- Two thirds of those making suicide attempts actually had contact with a physician in the month before their death AND 43% had seen an emergency room physician within the year of their death.
It could be postulated that certain times of the year represent “a new beginning” that they perhaps cannot bear.
Recommendations from the Study:
- It’s a fact that people may have limited access to help during holidays and the weekends to prevent suicide. Therefore, they recommend 24-hour helplines, walk in clinics and access to emergency departments at all times;
- It is recommended that continued studies focus on the seasonality of suicide and that public health officials and physicians become schooled in these factors;
- It is recommended that patterns be identified such that better prevention strategies can be formulated.
The Story of Boston’s Teen Suicides: February 2014
Within five months time, three high school students from Newton South High School had committed suicide. Parents and Administrators death with the situation directly in the form of a letter to parents, the day following Roee Grutman, a 17-year-old student took his life without any hint of his pain.
Contagion or Copycat suicides account for one to five percent of suicides in teens, particularly when a peer has died, even if that peer is a stranger. Attention via social media and disclosure of the method used, causes the victim to be romanticized, according to the Project Director, Darcy Haag Granello, of the suicide prevention program at Ohio State University.
Since the recent suicides in the Boston suburb, of Newton, a coalition was formed inclusive of mental health training for high school staff.
Opinions vary as to the vulnerability of school-based suicides from studies in the U. S and Canada. However it is agreed that suicide contagion is more widespread with 12 and 13 year olds in middle school.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that approximately one million adolescents equaling 8 % make the attempt annually with an actual death rate of 1,800. Caution must be used particularly when depressed students note” glowing memorials” for deceased students. Such displays can be misinterpreted and taken as a sign of acceptance.
The Superintendent of the Newton Public Schools wishes to work on removing the stigma of suicide and mental health issues. The key appears to be creating an environment in which discussion is safe and acceptable without repercussions
With the statistical backdrop of suicide as the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds, open communication is a key tool.
Disclaimer: The content and views expressed in this blog is not intended to suggest that suicide is ever a viable option.
When there just isn’t much evidence or many leads to hang your hat on, cold cases can be fraught with speculation, innuendo, false assumptions, “victim guilt by association “and lack of focus. Cold case investigators are a special breed, in that they are charged with unearthing information that is seemingly “not there” and finding that “golden nugget” that will turn the tide. Moreover, when a victim has a past filled with struggle and challenges, those struggles often “become the victim” in the eyes of the law rather than the person the family knew.
A vicious and brutal crime took place on October 29, 1995 beginning in Hartford, CT and ending in Wethersfield, CT. Essentially, a dragging by car took place that can only be described in horrendous terms, which brought 24 year old Leah Ulbrich’s young life to an end! Few specific details are known of the circumstances of the crime. We know that the victim was a caring single mother who was very intelligent, possessing talents in the arts who got caught up in drugs and proceeded to more hard core drugs. She experienced a downward spiral with many attempts at rehabilitation. Just prior to her death, Leah was proud of her accomplishment of a year benchmark of being clean and sober.
In the location where Leah’s body ended abruptly on the curb, at the Hartford/Wethersfield line, the neighborhood is described as follows: Jordan Ln / Ridge Rd is a suburban neighborhood (based on population density) located in Wethersfield, Connecticut.
Jordan Ln / Ridge Rd real estate is primarily made up of small (studio to two bedroom) to medium-sized (three or four bedroom) single-family homes and apartment complexes/high-rise apartments. Most of the residential real estate is occupied by a mixture of owners and renters. Many of the residences in the Jordan Ln / Ridge Rd neighborhood are older, well-established, built between 1940 and 1969. A number of residences were also built between 1970 and 1999.
Real estate vacancies in Jordan Ln / Ridge Rd are 5.1%, which is lower than one will find in 75.8% of American neighborhoods. Demand for real estate in Jordan Ln / Ridge Rd is above average for the U.S.,
Notable & Unique: Diversity
Jordan Ln /Ridge Rd neighborhood has more Yugoslav and Italian ancestry people living in it than nearly any neighborhood in America. It’s true! In fact, 8.9% of this neighborhood’s residents have Yugoslav ancestry and 22.2% have Italian ancestry.
Jordan Ln / Ridge Rd is also special linguistically. Significantly, 5.7% of its residents five years old and above primarily speak Italian at home. While this may seem like a small percentage, it is higher than 99.6% of the neighborhoods in America.
Ethnicity or ancestry: Italian -22.2 %; Puerto Rican a 10.6% Yugoslav – 8.9% , Irish 7.4%,, Polish 6.9%, In addition, 25.2% of the residents of this neighborhood were born in another country!
Wethersfield Avenue is just on block from Franklin Avenue in Hartford known as “Little Italy,” known for its fine restaurants, bakeries and pizza places.
Painting A Picture: Could This be a Possible Scenario?
Leah had been discharged, successfully completing her addiction rehabilitation program at Elmcrest Hospital (now Rushford Center) in Portland, CT. However, her specific place of residence just prior to her death was unknown to her family. Leah was on the threshold of getting her life together “on the outside” and by all accounts, was a caring mother. However, could she have relapsed again, left to her own devices? Could she have met up with “an old friend” who sent her in the wrong direction that night? Did she have the urge to feed her previous habit and been solicited by the mysterious and evil stranger or “former friend “in the car in which an argument ensued? Leah tried to flee and exit the car, but part of her body was caught in the seatbelt. The fact that she was in the car with her seatbelt attached, leads me to believe that this probably was not a “chance encounter. Perhaps she felt safe, comfortable with this person. Have you ever met a stranger who gets you into their car and asks you to fasten the seatbelt? However, her family believes, as do I, that the murder may have been a “crime of opportunity” i.e. unplanned. Leah may have turned down advances, or a drug deal gone bad and desperately tried to flee when the perpetrator would not let her go.
According to her father, Robert Baskin of Maryland, Leah was dragged half in, half out of the car for FOUR miles from Hartford to the adjacent town of Wethersfield . Her body was found with extensive injuries at the curb on Jordan Lane in Wethersfield by a Hartford Police officer who had been following a car with Leah as occupant after a 911 call. Can anyone envision such a scene? I cannot!
For the Record: Known Facts:
- Hartford Police received a 911 call on Sunday at approximately 4:49am on Sunday, October 29, 1995. This was following Saturday night activities in the neighborhood. The weather would have been a cool, fall temperature;
- Two witnesses/callers, one from an emergency fire-box, made 911 calls regarding the dragging of Leah and the direction of the vehicle south toward the town of Wethersfield.
- The initial witness/caller described the car used as possibly a 1995 Nissan Maxima, brown or dark in color with headlights off
- Ryan Ulbrich, son of Leah told us his conversations with police indicated that a partial New York license plate was noted;
- The female caller was never identified;
- The Hartford Police officer in pursuit of the car was able to “follow a “trail of liquid” to the area of Jordan Lane. Leah’s family speculated that it was most likely bodily fluids;
- Leah’s family indicated that Leah was found holding an object “with wires” and indicated that initial DNA testing was done up to two times over a period of years. However, the samples under her fingernails were too small to yield results at the time;
- The Medical Examiner ruled that the manner of death was a homicide caused by “extensive blunt force trauma”
- The Hartford and Wethersfield Police Department’s worked collaboratively from the beginning. In November 2001 Leah’s Case was assigned to the Cold Case Unit of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney;
- Documents say that “extensive interviews were conducted and that forensic evidence was analyzed”
- Chief State’s Attorney John M. Bailey (Tenure 1993-2002) requested that then Governor John G. Roland authorize a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Leah Ulbrich. This reward still stands.
- The area in which Leah was killed is near “Little Italy” in Hartford…and very ethnically diverse – - lots of Italian speaking people, Slavics, those of Puerto Rican descent; Someone speaking a foreign language had to have heard or witnessed something. Did the police thoroughly interview other ethnic residents in their primary language with trained language interpreters?
- Were all late night/all night business owners interviewed?
- What was the result of license plate analysis with the New York DMV?
- Has the one identifiable witness been re-interviewed in later years in hopes that more information could be gleaned?
- As this murder was so unspeakably brutal, a push for more advanced DNA analysis would be a future goal
- Ryan revealed that Leah underwent another severe attack years earlier in which she was in a coma and was traumatically brain injured, receiving Rehabilitation from Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford. Did the police investigate the initial attack in relation to the October 1995 murder?
- Have her peers enrolled in addiction Rehabilitation between 1994 and 1995 been re-interviewed in 2014?
- Were other similar crimes reviewed in 1995, 2001 and later to try to establish links?
- Putting on my “speech- language pathology hat” it appears that Leah having experienced a brain injury may have had some residual deficits from her first severe attack. (Date unknown). It may have affected her behavior and judgment and some cognitive skills. Would police have known this history and tried to learn what her behavior patterns or challenges were after her brain injury? Of course not!
- Please excuse my blunt language. Most likely, if she had such challenges they would have incorrectly assumed she was “crazy” and/or “Just another drug addict.”
- No one knows for sure how Leah’s behavior may have changed after her first attack, combined with damage from repeated drug use, her ability to sustain a clean and sober life long-term and function independently. However, her father stated that she had a high general intelligence quotient of 183. Rating Scale: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_considered_a_high_IQ
FYI: Cognitive abilities are often categorized as different kinds of intelligence depending upon the part of the brain used. In general, cognitive skills are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. They have more to do with the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention rather than with any actual knowledge.
There is great debate among psychologists regarding how intelligence is analyzed and categorized.
Cognitive Intelligence is what is usually being referred to when talking about IQ. It is the ability to think and reason logically without using the part of the brain concerned with feelings or emotions. Cognitive intelligence does not involve social skills but rather analytical, reading and writing skills. Emotional Intelligence involves the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Cognitive-Intelligence-Vs-Emotional-Intelligtence-In-932567.html
Areas of cognition which can be impaired after brain injury include: Perception, attention, memory, motor skills, language stills, visual &spatial processing, goal oriented behaviors called executive functioning enabling a person to plan (i.e. flexibility, insight, anticipation, problem solving, working memory, emotional self- regulation, the ability to sequence a task, action and inhibition (of distractions) See: http://sharpbrains.com/blog/2006/12/18/what-are-cognitive-abilities/
Questions, questions and more questions, leading to the need for more answers. I do not profess to hold the key to this crime. However, perhaps collectively, we can assist the Ulbrich family!
“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” George Elliot.
Ryan Ulbrich and his family are a testament that Leah is not forgotten!
- Memories from Leah’s Father
- The circumstances known and investigative efforts to date
- Ryan’s quest to find answers and a resolution to his mother’s murder
- The status of Leah’s parent’s today including Bob’s work at: http://peacealliance.org/
- Tipline: 1-866-623-8058 or 860-548-0606
- State of Connecticut: Open Cold Cases:
- For Tips s Contact: Ryan Ulbrich at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.
But for the Grace of God Go I: The Cold Case of Leah Ulbrich
As I reflect on another “life without Dad” anniversary… 33 years, certain thoughts pervade. He was a man struck down in the fourth decade of his life…so young relatively speaking. One way to look at it would be “by the numbers.”
August 26, 1933- His birthdate, an only child.,. number one child;
11 days separated husband and wife in birthdate and year- August 15th for my Mom
Wedding Date- August 21st…Such a busy month!
The number three- for three children
Of the three, I was the first born and born I was “by surprise on December 24th” rather than Lincoln’s birthday…
Double three makes 33, the number of surgeries Don’s Gore’s little girl had “pertaining just to her vocal cords”
Throw in the number 17 or so orthopedic surgeries that same little girl had for cerebral palsy and even more later on….
Number 17 was also the “death anniversary day”
Number 47 was very significant as….
It was my father’s assigned motorcycle racing number as a New England Motocross Scrambles- Hill climb Champion for many years running.
Number 47 was also the age at which he was murdered.
I remember… His photos emblazoned on the cover of Cycle Sport Magazine in the early 1960’s;
The many, many gleaming trophies won and displayed in his special trophy case;
I recall the spike and penny nails he skillfully and quickly drove, pieces of wood precisely measured as a Master carpenter.
I remember the worn leather tool belt around his waist and the endless hours I would spend watching him work as he built strong and sturdy works of art in the garage…
I remember the many efforts he made to come and visit me at the hospital… even for a few minutes… The effort was always made…
My adult memories are not as plentiful… for I was on my collegiate and beginning career path.. and he on his multiple businesses path with a workaholic nature.
BUT… if he could visit for only a day, I hope he would be pleased with what he saw… for the endeavors of family members are like jewels on the crown of life.
He would have been proud last year, as we “fought the good fight” and were victorious in changing several State of Connecticut Victim’s Rights policies with the Board of Pardons and Parole, in addition to influencing the outcome such that the perpetrator is incarcerated for five more years!
In 2014, I have had my share of shining moments as well. I am truly blessed and guided well by friends and colleagues who embrace what is “just over the hill for me and on my horizon” … wherever it may take me…
Although murder taketh away and a vital piece of you goes with it, the life that can be re-formulated if given the chance, is as strong, as resilient, and more passionate than one could imagine!
In that manner, I am doing exactly what my Dad would have wanted.
Another Year- In Memory of Donald W. Gore
“War … What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing… Say it again… War… What is it good for? It ain’t nothin’ but a Heartbreaker… Friend Only to the Undertaker…”
As Motown vocalist Edwin Starr sings of the ravages of the Vietnam War in 1969 in the video above, he could just as well be singing about the terror in the streets of 2014, for there is a war of a different kind… Gang life is not about fighting and killing for a cause… but for “the sport of it, one-upmanship“if you will!
David LaBahn “Gangs are nothing new…”
We could offer excuses; poverty, lack of parents to provide a moral compass, unemployment, lack of money, easy access to drugs, accessibility of weapons, racial-cultural intolerance etc., etc. In fact, these very excuses have become the tools of the trade. However, we know that many, many others grow up in such environments and somehow with the grace of God and moral fortitude and courage, do not get consumed by gang life. Others become victims by “merely by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Nevertheless, the “wrong place, wrong time” scenario that frequently comforts some parents may in fact be a fallacy as we learned in this episode of Shattered Lives Radio. Examining the underbelly of the gang culture is not for the faint of heart. As an introduction to this show, the following You-Tube Videos shed further light on the pretense of power and devaluation of life both in the streets and behind prison walls.
Clothing, (Sports Apparel) Status & Appearance with Gangs
- National Crime Victims Rights Week
- Introduction to our Guest- David LaBahn
- Overview of the prosecution of gangs
- “Jumping in & Jumping out” – the focuses of today’s gangs
- Discussion of types of gangs- invisibility, paybacks….
- Delilah asks about activities and the money trail
- Detroit- Dying because of marijuana- WHY??
- Baltimore – deaths due to heroin and gangs
- Driving in the wrong neighborhood- Gang on alert!
- Prosecutions- Triangle Intervention Suppression & Prevention Efforts
- Target Gang Program – Orange County California- A model Program
- Strategies to improve safety… Are they a victim, defendant, or witness
- Street corner gang to the prison gangs….
- Baltimore Corruption: Gang Leader Impregnating Correction Officers http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/bs-md-bgf-jail-reaction-20130424,0,4725658,full.story
- Discussion of wire taps
- If and when gang members become tired….
- Give the kids something to do: Options: MAG:
- Getting junior and middle school girls not to think gang members are cool
- Money, prestige, “being cool”, Cops & Gang members in the same family
- Ladyjustice on the influence of sports and music
- Delilah on the impact of school cuts with extracurricular activities –the prevention side
- Wearing the wrong color and “going hunting”
- Parents – My child didn’t do anything wrong”
- Heroes – The Garza Family & Mothers Against Gangs http://donnagore.com/2013/05/19/mothers-men-against-gangs/
- Parting Words about parents and children who are perceived as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- CONTACT INFORMATION:
Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
1615 L St. NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-861-2480 Fax: 202-223-4688
e-mail – email@example.com
- Where was the original gang unit and of what was it comprised?
- What are the differences between the gangs of old and today’s gangs?
- Is it likely that one can one escape a gang without being killed?
- Where do gangs hang out?
- Access to the open market – What’s it all about?
- How do we reduce violence of gangs via leadership, and civil injunctions?
- How do you track the activities of gang members inside prison?
- What is the knowledge level and pressures of correction officers?
- How do gang members get out?
- What are girl gangs about?
- How can we shift through the stereotypes of reasons for involvement of gangs?
- What is the average age and academic standing of a gang member as a witness?
- What is flying the rag?”
- How can we “turn “a gang member?
Terror in the Streets: Prosecution & Gang Culture: David LaBahn
Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a Long, Long Time, (Wrongful Incarceration – the Best Kept Secret)
INCARCERATION- or the state of being imprisoned or confined is what is typically known as “just punishment” for a variety of crimes. However, when it comes to the wrongfully incarcerated, imprisonment is like that old Johnny Mathis song, “Until the Twelfth of Never and that a long, long time,” for a prisoner incarcerated under such circumstances is doubly victimized. For years on end, they will be treated as if they are a criminal in every sense of the word, not knowing if anyone will ever listen to their true accounts amongst the “sea of true murderous liars feigning innocence.” As if it couldn’t get any worse, very few attorneys are in the position to financially carry such a case, which typically can last for several years.
Just One Case in a Crime Ridden City
Brooklyn, New York is a hot spot for crime, interwoven with the most diverse “ethnic-culture and socio-economic complexion” in the US. With a current population of has a population of 2,504,700 residents.
According to NeighborhoodScout.com, the crime rate in Brooklyn is considerably higher than the national average across all communities in America from the largest to the smallest. They found that the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation. Violent offenses tracked included forcible rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. According to their analysis of FBI reported crime data, your chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes in Brooklyn is one in 167.
By the numbers, skeptics would say, it’s not really that bad, as the data is taken out of context. However, private investigators and attorneys who invest in this work have no reason to lie or exaggerate when it comes to the cold hard truth of their workload.
When discussing this topic in hushed tones, one would ask, so what is the answer when as a society, we are faced with ever increasing crime juxtaposed with poverty, and high unemployment, mixed with shoddy investigations, combined with a “rush to judgment “trial and a “throw away the key “ mentality?
You get what you get. More unjustly accused and imprisoned people who may have been victims of circumstance and false identifications. Do we know the exact numbers? No. But it’s certainly more than a handful. As of 2010, 29 people were exonerated worldwide.
How do they ever recover even when exonerated? That is the $64,000 question. There are a few “lights at the end of the tunnel.” Namely, the creation of a few Conviction Integrity Units and…. Like knights in shining armor, skilled private investigators like Robert Rahn and Kim Anklin of Management Resources LTD of New York (New Jersey and Florida). Their current shining achievement is a huge case on a number of levels: The Case of Jonathan Fleming: UNJUSTLY INCARCERATED As they are close to a resolution, the case was used for illustrative purposes only, speaking in generalities. However, Kim Anklin told me that the whole truth and nothing but the truth is just as incredible! So stay tuned for the next chapter!
Bob, Kim, and Defense Attorneys, Anthony Mayol, and Taylor Koss, spent an intriguing hour with Delilah and this writer on Shattered Lives Radio. Listen with us! The information is life altering!
- National Crime Victim’s Rights Week
- Defender of the Innocence Awards
- Introduction to our Guests- Management Resources, Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss, Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Another wrongful conviction case with a bad detective that opened up Pandora’s box and shed light the workings of the Conviction Integrity Unit
- The role of the PI versus the DA’s office
- Discussion of resources, skills of private investigators
- More victims…..
- Retaliation or gratitude?
- Tears, apologies, the relevant facts
- Kim speaks about the comments of Mr. Fleming’s mother
- “Believed by who?” and the Conviction Integrity Unit
- The percentages… and the “light at the end of the tunnel” to assist private attorneys
- A GROUND BREAKING COLLABORATION!
- What is in store what resources are in place for those exonerated?
- A select few: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/nyregion/exonerated-now-what.html?_r=0;
- “The Hurricane” Movie about the Wrongfully Convicted Ruben Carter: http://www.psychologicalscience.com/psylaw/2012/08/the-hurricane.html
|New York||The Court of Claims determines what amount will fairly and reasonably compensate the wrongfully convicted person. His request will be expedited by the court of claims.||The wrongfully convicted person must show “he did not by his own conduct cause or bring about his conviction.” This provision may prevent people who falsely confessed or pled guilty from receiving compensation.|
- The David Ranta Case – A ground breaking procedural outcome and 6.4 million dollars- http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/21/justice/new-york-overturned-conviction-settlement/index.html
- How do we fill in the gaps IMMEDIATELY?
- Status of the Murder victim’s family- is it known? How is it handled?
- Concluding message from Taylor- People convicted of crimes is not necessarily the end of the story!
- A recent Connecticut Case: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-wrongful-incarceration-compensation-20140403,0,1170344,full.story;
- CONTACT INFORMATION:
- 2)Anthony Mayol, Esq.
Law Office of Anthony Mayol P.C.
116-55 Queens Blvd. Suite 201
Forest Hills, New York 11375
3) Taylor Koss: Everett & Everett 452 Fifth Avenue, 12th Floor New York, NY 10018 Office: 212-300-6104
Questions from the “Interrogation Room”
- How did each of the guests become involved on the James Fleming case?
- What is the scope of the cases in Brooklyn, New York- the former murder capital of the country?
- Who funds experts needed to help the case go forward?
- Is the passage of time “the enemy?”
- What is the greatest concern of witnesses who come forward with the truth?
- What was the point that “turned the tide” in the Fleming case?
- What was Mr. Fleming’s approach to his innocence with his team?
- How are cases chosen and what are the challenges faced by attorneys?
- How did an adversarial system turn into a sharing experience?
- What are the “two bites at the apple” in New York after incarceration?
- What are the options via the legislature and civilly with these cases?
- What is the significance of the immediacy of need for resources and help versus the foot dragging” of compensation?
- How is David Ranta doing now?
The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.
Even 15 months after the most horrendous mass killing of children and adults in recent history, the wounds are still fresh…
A year anniversary passed in December….
A Governor appointed Advisory Council is still grappling with the “why of it” in hopes of gaining insight into the prevention of another mass tragedy of its kind.
Guns, mental health, school oversight, and parental responsibility aside, a town grieves daily. But there are signs of renewed hope with a new architectural design for a new school just completed and a Selectwoman who continues to lead with grace and thoughtfulness. Using a delicate balance of completing town business and always keeping those who died in our hearts and minds., Pat Llodra accomplishes her mission to ensure the safety and best interests of her residents.
A MATTER OF PRIVACY
Release of the 911 tapes: “Release of the audio recordings will also allow the public to consider and weigh what improvements, if any, should be made to law enforcement’s response to such incidents,” Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said.
Pat Llodra, First Selectwoman of Newtown compared the steady leak of information about the investigation of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School to “Chinese water torture she now believes recordings of 911 calls from the school should be made public.
“Every day, there is something in the media that drags us back to that terrible day,” Llodra said. “I think everything that can be released should be released.” She asked that media “treat us kindly” in December 2013, just three months ago.
Although each and every victim has their own opinion regarding what is appropriate and what they can personally tolerate, in the final analysis, dispatchers were calm and handled the situation as trained. However, this event has opened up a Pandora’s box in that victim’s privacy issues have never been so exposed. Does anyone really want or need to see photographs of dead children and carnage from perpetrator Adam Lanza?
Does the “principles of Free speech” and journalism trump human decency? Should we rein in the Freedom of Information Act in certain circumstances?
Raised Bill 388 of the Connecticut General Assembly-
AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE TASK FORCE ON VICTIM PRIVACY AND THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO KNOW.
Link to Text of the Bill: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2014/TOB/S/2014SB-00381-R00-SB.htm
This bill seemingly covers all bases in scope with 29 separate provisions stating: “Nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of…” in situations in which various documents, files or images, it has been determined that the withholding of such in the public’s interest clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure and such disclosures would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.
Specific provisions added as they relate to crime victims include 27 through 29:
(27) Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state, or municipal governmental agency consisting of a photograph, film, video or digital or other visual image depicting the body or any portion of the body of a victim of a homicide, to the extent that the disclosure of such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, [of the victim or the victim's surviving family members.] provided nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the inspection of such a record in accordance with section 2 of this act;
(28) Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state or municipal governmental agency consisting of an audio recording of an emergency 9-1-1 call or other call for assistance that is made by a member of the public when such call (A) relates to a homicide, and (B) captures, conveys or relates to the impaired physical condition of the caller or another person, to the extent that the disclosure of such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, provided nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit listening to such record in accordance with section 2 of this act;
(29) Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state or municipal governmental agency consisting of an audio recording that is an operative communication among law enforcement personnel when such communication (A) relates to a homicide, and (B) captures, conveys or relates the impaired physical condition of the caller or another person, to the extent that the disclosure of such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, provided nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit listening to such record in accordance with section 2 of this act.
(Bracketed text is recommended for deletion while the remainder of 27-29 was underlined in the Bill, meaning that it is new information to be added). As can be noted, this language covers records, photos, videos created by law enforcement,, depicting a body or a portion thereof, audio recordings that convey information concerning a homicide or the impaired physical conditions of victims, and requests for copies of images and audio recordings, including copying of images in which victim families have submitted a written objection to the image.
The other provisions include “everything but the kitchen sink” such as medical files, trade secrets, financial and commercial, content of real estate appraisals , records between those with privileged relationships, school enrollment records, investigative records, adoptive records, town petitions, educational and mental health records, security manuals, emergency plans, correctional institution material, records from government owned or leased institutions, security system information, Department of Transportation records, parks and recreation minor attendees, etc.
This Bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee as of 3-4-2014 after which a Public Hearing of the Government Administration and Elections Committee was held on 3-10-2014, lasting 5½ hours (inclusive of all bills within that committee.) Link: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=10015
The number of entities testifying on behalf and against this bill is listed as follows:
To date, the GAE Committee voted 8 to 6 in favor of the bill. It may pass on to other committees prior to the end of the session on May 7th (a short legislative session this year.)
IN MY OPINION:
The Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and the public’s right to know need to be forever balanced. When respect and human dignity are “thrown out the window” in favor of media ratings than we have sunk to a new low in society. I am not sure when we veered off course in favor of sensationalism and gore. However, I do know that the pendulum needs to swing back. Crime victims need to take control and draw clear boundaries for themselves. This is an area with which we should not have to be concerned. However, we are placed in this position by the sheer number of atrocities occurring. Let’s stop the madness and use some common sense and human decency. Government should not have to legislate human decency! If this legislation is passed by the end of the session, may it serve as a model for other states as well as a cautionary tale regarding journalists’ lack of moral compass.
With that said, an answer to reliving some of the pain of a surviving family’s experience following homicide, is my customized Victim Impact Statement Assistance. Using my skills and experience, I can paint the picture with and for you, such that the court or Board of Pardons and Parole can truly know your family member. It will be a testament of the heart, relieving you of the burden at a most vulnerable time. If I can help you or your family, please contact me.
In the Shadow of Sandy Hook What Should be the Yardstick for Victim’s Privacy?
“No One Stepped Into Their Path”- the Prophecy of Monica Caison and the CUE Center for Missing Persons
“The silence of ignorance can be deafening and therefore we must break it whenever the opportunity is presented.” Donna R. Gore
The book “The Road Less Traveled” has made publishing history, with more than 10 years on The New York Times bestseller list, sales of more than 7 million copies translation into more than 23 languages. It’s been 36 years since its inception into the publishing world. Author M. Scott Peck’s timeless message concerns the nature of loving relationships and helps to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self. Its opening line is “Life is difficult and the journey to spiritual growth is a long one.” ‘So true…
Although books have their place, I submit to you that no author has made the impact as compared to “the school of hard knocks” on a person-to-person level, touching the flesh, the hearts and souls of humanity than Monica Caison., Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons.
Monica is a warrior in tune with the woods, the waterways, the alleys, the streets, ultimately the ramshackle lives of those ho “go missing” for inexplicable and heart wrenching reasons. The truly amazing attributes of the CUE Center for the Missing rest with their founding principles and the lack of judgment. No matter what the circumstance, the Cue Center is there to serve.
Particular phrases come to mind – self sacrifice, going way beyond the extra mile …”colorblindness,” volunteerism at its best, compassion, lots of tough love, strategic coordination, crying and laughing in the same conversation, never leaving a person without a “port in the storm.”” Never say never,” “All things are possible with the right plan of action.”
With an eye toward the future as all good CEOs should have, the organization not only carries on, but thrives with dedication and heart, including new projects on the horizon that will increase visibility and education, changing attitudes and putting the focus where it needs to be… on the victims and their families, as human beings deserving of respect, attention and the full complement of resources afforded everyone.
Offering a wide range of free services, CUE has since helped more than 9,000 families in what is often the most confusing and desperate times of their lives. In addition to providing services for the missing and their families, CUE offers college internships and youth mentoring programs.
CUE is entirely donation funded and staffed by volunteers, including Monica Caison, who takes no salary from the organization.
What was simply a dream, name and purpose, is now a nationally-recognized center that answers hundreds of calls for help each year.
Donations to CUE Center are gratefully accepted at their website: http://ncmissingpersons.org
10th Annual National Missing Persons Conference
The Theme: “Breaking the Silence” Victim No More” speaks to breaking the silence by setting family members free to tell their story, educating, the public, law enforcement, and other agencies who have pre-conceived ideas about what it’s like to be a victim, to make the effort to really know who is missing and to communicate with the people who can provide the most assistance without regard to past history.
There is a liberation that a victim experiences and a sense of community and safeguarding when you first “reveal your painful soul” to an audience who well knows what you have experienced. Rather than “living in a fishbowl,” you feel a sense of relief like never before. I bore witness to this in the new connections made this year at the 10th Annual Conference (always a reunion for repeat attendees).
There is always that person who walks in the door not knowing anything about the CUE, having come as a result of a news story, an advertisement, an electronic link, a personal recommendation. No matter how they arrive, it doesn’t take long to feel the magic of camaraderie and Southern hospitality, regardless from what state members travel.
I am thinking of a woman who may have been tormented for answers concerning her mother who tragically went missing by a combination of forces, an athletic spirit for hiking, an iron will to “do it her way” and worsening dementia. Evidently, this was a lethal combination. Does it make it any less heartbreaking that she was participating in a sport she truly loved? Does it make it worse that her daughter had plans to implement her “plan of action” concerning her mother’s worsening memory next week, when next week never came? I do not know. What I do know is that she spoke publicly, seemingly “blossomed like a flower” and came to her own peaceful conclusion with her former major regrets.
Presentations at CUE Center for Missing Persons Conference
- Raymond Bechard- Author, Producer, Human Rights Advocate and Human Trafficking Expert;
- David Sullivan – Retired Sheriff, Lead Instructor for Ground Search & Rescue;
- Dr. Scott Bonn – Professor of Criminology, Media Expert, Author;
- Sheryl McCollum –Law Enforcement Professional, Director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute
- Peter Hyatt- Civil Investigator and Statement Analysis Expert;
- Gaetane Borders - Psychologist, Writer, Public Speaker and President of “Peas in their Pods”
- Elaine Pagliaro- Assistant Executive Director of the Henry C. Lee Forensics Institute, Forensic Scientist and Attorney;
- Karen Beaudin- Author, Advocate for Cold case Units, Public Speaker and Survivor of the Missing;
- Holly Hughes- Former Senior Assistant DA Fulton County GA; & Legal Analyst;
A good ending to an experience is like the icing on a cake or the ribbon on your favorite gift. Monica delivered just that, as she spoke from the heart about the epidemic of runaway teens.
As a group they tend to evolve into people they would otherwise never become, if not for forces beyond their control; sexual assault, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution escalating to human trafficking, misdemeanor crimes and even felonies in the escape from and the running to something as a means of survival.
Her refrain in telling us many illustrative stories was “No One Stepped into their Path” meaning that no one offered a non-judgmental helping hand to show them a different way, show them their value as a human being with potential and ensure their safety from harm’s way. She seldom took credit as she spoke. Rather, she told of how she was able to peel away the layers, get to the heart of the matter, establish trust and a kernel of understanding, and in the process creating many life long bonds.
It’s like kicking the can down the road. Who will stop and do something about a bad situation rather than make excuses? You can rest assured that Monica Caison and her team will always step into the path when needed!
I, Donna Gore, am the CUE Center State Outreach Coordinator for the State of Connecticut, and I know I will be stepping into the path of many lives in the future!
The Innocence Network is composed of 46 states, and several countries around the world. As of 2010, 29 people were exonerated worldwide.
The First Innocence Project was founded in 1992 as a consequence of the landmark study by the U.S. Department of Justice with the Benjamin Cardoza School of Law, in which it was revealed that incorrect eyewitness identifications were a factor in over 70% of wrongful convictions! Attorneys Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld were the founding members in conjunction with the Cardoza School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City.
- The New York based Innocence Project is funded as follows: 45% individual donations; 30% from Foundations; 15% via their annual benefit dinner 7% by the Law School and various Corporations.
- The Connecticut Innocence Project-Post Conviction Unit (within the State Office of the Public Defender Services) has a mission to “isolate cases of incarcerated persons who have been convicted of crimes in the State of Connecticut for which they are innocent and seek exoneration. The CIP was started by former Public Defender Gerry Smyth with the assistance of Brian Carlow and Karen Goodrow in the summer of 2005. One had an interest in DNA, the other attorney in wrongful convictions (“a marriage made in heaven”). Pro bono office space was given by the Hartford law firm of McCarter and English, beginning in 2006.
- In 2006, CIP took the Case of James Calvin Tillman, wrongfully convicted of beating, robbing and raping a 26-year-old female. After new DNA evidence proved his innocence conclusively (versus the incorrect eyewitness identification of the victim). Mr. Tillman was released from prison in June 2006 after serving 18.5 years! http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/James_Tillman.php
- Following James Tillman’s exoneration, in May 2007, the State of Connecticut awarded him $5 million dollars for the wrongful conviction.
- In the summer of 2007, the Connecticut Legislature granted funding to the Connecticut Innocence Project to hire four full-time staff, adding another trial attorney and a former police officer-experienced investigator of capital cases to the pre-existing staff.
- In 2009, Miguel Roman’s case was chosen as one of two wrongfully convicted who were exonerated following a prison term of 20+ years! Roman was charged with murder in the brutal beating and strangulation of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Circumstantial evidence and interrogation-interview in English versus Spanish caused him to give conflicting accounts. DNA analysis of clothing proved the murderer to be another assailant. Roman was freed on December 19, 2008, and his exoneration became official on April 2, 2009, when the murder charge pending against him was dropped. http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Miguel_Roman.php
- Another successful CIP Case beginning in 2007 and ending in 2009, was that of Kenneth Ireland, falsely accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 30 year old factory worker and mother of four by a severe blow to the head in 1986. Ultimately, two male and one female “witnesses” made false accusations to the police about a confession. Consequently, Mr. Ireland was charged with felony murder, first-degree sexual assault and third-degree burglary. Problems with witnesses dying or never charged, inconsistent fingerprint evidence and lack of admission of evidence by the judge were some of the barriers encountered. In the final analysis, more advanced D\NA evidence ruled out Kenneth Ireland as the murderer. He wrongfully served a prison term of 19 years prior to being released! http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Kenneth_Ireland.php
- The Volume of Cases with the Connecticut Innocence Project: As of October 2013, CIP was in the process of reviewing over 100 cases for consideration. Criteria for consideration: 1) Some new form of evidence must exist such as DNA or other evidence; 2) The New found evidence must reasonably assist in proving innocence.
Wrongfully convicted are victims, not criminals
Customized Victim Impact Statement Assistance is available for those victims, family, and friends who are facing one of the most stressful times of their lives. For those who have suffered irreparable damage either as a wrongfully convicted person or as a “traditional crime victim,” there is help. There is hope in the form of a personalized manner, custom tailored to your specific needs.
Can you just imagine what the impact of wrongful conviction had on Mr. Tillman, Mr. Roman and Mr. Ireland? I cannot imagine! Although I personally recall only Mr. Tillman’s case, I do not recall specifics of his victim impact statement. Did he work on it for 18.5 years? Did he have the proper assistance? Was he satisfied with his own words during such an emotional event? We do not know!
The Unjustly Convicted Are Not Only Innocent, They are Victims Too!
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Brene Brown, Ph.D
(Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.)
The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great number of children from the town of Hamelin, Lower Saxony, Germany, in the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in multicolored clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the folk-lore expanded in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizens refused to pay for this service, he retaliated by turning his power that he put in his musical instrument on their children, leading them away as he had the rats.
The translated version of poet Robert Browning’s story includes the following verse:
They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats
Truth is, such a hateful description might describe unwanted children of that time. Such is the reality of Marilyn Gambrell and her charges. She has been “Mama Gambrell “to the children of Houston, Texas, since 1993 when she began “No More Victims.
Following years of service as a parole officer, Marilyn singlehandedly fought for the rights of these children, weighted down by burdens heavier than most seasoned adults could ever bear! Trying their souls: homicide, human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, physical and verbal abuse, neglect, starvation, rage, anger, suicidal ideation, illness, cutting and more. She has garnered support, educational resources and medical treatment along the way, but, even now, it is “a virtual drop in the bucket of need.”
What is needed is everything that is lacking from the most basic to that which we all take for granted. No More Victims is indeed rich in things that do not cost money, such as love, compassion, lack of judgment, the ability to listen, support, inspire and provide a “safety net.”
Indeed, their lives are like a kaleidoscope, a complex pattern of constantly changing colors and shapes, and with Marilyn in awe of the accomplishments of their fragile psyches, each of them taking baby steps and reaching heights no one thought capable!
The Shattered Lives Team featured Marilyn as a repeat, warmly welcomed, guest to discuss the challenges, the realities, and what’s on the horizon for “No More Victims” and her kids.
- Introduction to our guest
- Background information and her non-residential interactions
- Discussion of relieving some of the stress and the results seen
- The power of “the same secrets”
- Beginning to talk and taking leadership roles: including “Sergeant at arms”
- Calming down, loving, listening and nurturing- We can change it all!
- Delilah asks about the link to human trafficking and their infiltration to these children
- The “hot topic” of trafficking versus her children Do they get enough attention?
- Mixed messages… “Bless your heart”…BUT
- The child will lead the way if we allow them to
- The University of Texas Medical Clinic available: http://www.uth.edu/
- A documentary on the horizon to really tell their life stories!
- No dying, self injury or hurting someone else ….before education is thought of
- What are the three components to the program?
- A play in the making with Virginia Lange https://www.facebook.com/virginia.lange
- Contact Information:
- NO MORE VICTIMS , PO 440002, Houston Texas 77244-0002
- No More Victims: DONATIONS: http://www.nomorevictimsincglobal.org/donations.html
Questions from the “Classroom”
- What does it mean to live and breathe in their reality?
- How do we break the cycle of the damage of parental incarceration?
- What is the importance of the children designing and enforcing the ground rules?
- What is the largest at risk population in the country and is it dealt with effectively?
- What are some examples of the children taking ownership?
- How does Marilyn deal with the families?
- What are Marilyn’s alternatives to punishment?
- How is human trafficking dealt with in her schools?
- What is the situation with parents selling children?
- How do we change the public perception of these children?
- How will they be increasing their visibility in the future – before and after?
- What will be happening in the future in terms of increased visibility?
- What is part of Marilyn’s future dream for her kids?
- What is available for organized conferences for children of Incarcerated adults?
The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.