Robert Chatigny, whose controversial advocacy for serial killer Michael Ross may have inspired Obama to nominate him to the Circuit Court, advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote. I wrote here about the reasons why I think Obama would nominate someone like Chatigny:
Chatigny’s supporters, especially Senator Amy Klobuchar, have argued that singling out the Michael Ross case misrepresents the judge’s overall record. To the contrary, I think his treatment of Ross typifies his approach to criminal law. Chatigny opposes minimum mandatory sentencing and registration for sex offenders. He repeatedly delivered minimum or less-than-minimum sentences to men convicted of various sex crimes. In opinions, he expressed sympathy for all sorts of excuses made by offenders. He is a judge who has gone out of his way to practice leniency for sex offenders throughout his career.
And before he was a judge, he represented Woody Allen. You can’t make this stuff up. So why would the president choose Chatigny over other candidates? From the Washington Times:
Judge Chatigny has a weird record of empathy for those accused of sexual crimes involving children. It started when he served as co-counsel for director Woody Allen in 1993-94 when Mr. Allen filed a complaint against a prosecutor for discussing in public the potential charges against the moviemaker for reportedly abusing a minor stepchild. Mr. Allen and Mr. Chatigny lost both administrative proceedings in the case. In another case, the U.S. Supreme Court eventually reversed Judge Chatigny, unanimously, when the judge tried to rule against one aspect of his state’s version of a Megan’s Law sex-offender registry. In 12 child-pornography cases, Judge Chatigny imposed a sentence either at or more lenient than the recommended minimum – with most downward departures involving sentences less than half as long. And in an outrageous case of judicial abuse, Judge Chatigny threatened to take away an attorney’s law license if the lawyer failed to appeal the death sentence of an eight-time murderer of girls and young women. The judge claimed the killer’s “sexual sadism” was a mental disorder that made the murderer himself a victim.
This and other defense attorney ilk is thick on the ground in Washington these days. During the Chatigny hearings, Sen. Patrick Leahy incontinently ranted about innocent men (purportedly) being rescued from near-death on death row. Not only is this subject irrelevant to the Michael Ross case, but anti-incarceration activists have wildly exaggerated the prevalence of actual wrongful conviction and misrepresented the majority of cases in which convicts are released from death row. It may be surprising to hear it, given the strong presumptions to the contrary by people like senators and anchormen and pretty much everyone else, but activists have not, to date, produce evidence that even one person has been wrongfully executed in the U.S. since 1972 (some would set the date far earlier, but the possibility of evaluating the two dozen cases identified by activists spanning 1900 – 1972 are slim).
Between 1972 and 2010, however, there were 700,000 murders in the U.S.
Virtually no one is released from death row because anyone thought they were innocent; they are re-sentenced to serve life or other prison terms because of clemency or reversals in some element of their convictions (disputes over mitigating factors, technicalities, court errors). These cases then get cynically misrepresented by activists as innocence cases. Wrongful conviction for capitol crime, while of course tragic, is nearly non-existent, and when it happens, the system works.
By carelessly repeating utter lies about our prisons being stuffed with innocent men, Leahy contributes to an atmosphere in which judges like Chatigny justify their dangerous biases against incarceration for anyone, no matter their crime. To talk about wrongful convictions in a hearing that is supposed to be addressing the refusal to enforce unambiguously rightful conviction is just exploitative. But nobody dares to call upon people like Leahy to provide facts.
Just to be clear about what happened: the Democrats, who claim the mantle of women’s rights, voted for a judge with a reputation for going particularly easy on sex criminals, a man who called a serial killer’s sexual compulsions a “mitigating factor” for the murders of young girls, and who now calls his advocacy for this killer “a learning experience” but also says he’d do it again. The Republicans, who stand accused of neglecting women’s rights, all voted against Chatigny (Feinstein, in a real show of courage, simply declined to vote).
Voting For Chatigny:
- Patrick Leahy
- Russ Feingold
- Arlen Spector
- Chuck Schumer
- Dick Durbin
- Benjamin L. Cardin
- Sheldon Whitehouse
- Amy Klobuchar
- Ted Kaufman
- Al Franken
- Jeff Sessions
- Orrin Hatch
- Chuck Grassley
- Jon Kyl
- Lindsey Graham
- John Cornyn
- Tom Coburn
Remember Al Franken’s first rape joke, in this never-run skit about Andy Rooney for Saturday Night Live?
“And ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘When she passes out I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.”
Here is the N.O.W.’s response to the controversy over that one:
[T]he Franken campaign distributed a statement in his defense from Shannon Drury, president of Minnesota’s chapter of the National Organization of Women. “Now [the skit] is being used as an excuse to label him a misogynist. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Drury wrote Tuesday. “In fact, Al Franken will be a senator who will work tirelessly in support of women’s issues. After meeting with Al personally, I find his honesty and openness refreshing, his intelligence and perseverance inspiring.”
Who says feminists can’t take a joke? Or make one? The N.O.W. is staying silent on the Chatigny nomination, of course. Thank goodness we have principled feminists like Tom Coburn, Jeff Sessions, Orrin Hatch, and Lindsey Graham to speak for women in the Senate. I really mean that.
Meanwhile, the conservative Concerned Women for America are protesting Chatigny’s nomination. Click on the link in the Penny Nance article below for troubling footage of the Senate nomination hearings:
Brutal Rapists and Serial Killers Find an Advocate in Obama’s Latest Pick
Do you ever wonder WHO those insane judges are that believe sexual predators are only sick and should thus not be given maximum sentences? I think those judges are unfit to rule. However, President Obama apparently wants to give one a promotion.
Michael Ross, in a documentary on serial killers, describes how he tied up 14-year-old Leslie Shelley, put her in the trunk of his car, and “took the other girl, April Bernaise [also 14] out and I raped her, and killed her, and I put her in the front seat.” He said he killed eight girls, ages 14-25, and if he wasn’t caught, he’d still be killing.
It was of this man that Robert Chatigny, a U.S. District Judge in Connecticut, said: “[Michael Ross] never should have been convicted. Or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death.” Then Chatigny fought to stop Mr. Ross’ execution — twice — and was both times overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Robert Chatigny is President Obama’s latest nominee to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, a lifetime appointment spot and can be a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. . .
Chatigny was grilled by Republican Senators recently in his Judiciary Committee hearing. Only one Democrat Senator showed up, and she asked no hard questions of the rapist defender. Here’s a shocking video from the hearing, interspersed with an interview from Michael Ross himself on how he killed and raped his victims.
June 1st, 2010 by Penny Nance