It is difficult to be unbiased in cases such as this, and I've taken on somewhat of a role as an advocate for justice in this case. I call upon the General Assemby's Judiciary Committee to investigate the handling of this case by the Judge, the Assistant State's Attorney James Turcotte's office, and by the office of the Public Defender in the GA 7 Meriden Superior Court and for the General Assembly to beef up the legislation so that heinous crimes such as this may no longer be prosecuted as single misdemeanor charges with only 60 days in a local jail as the only consequence with the possibility of no record remaining.
August 22nd, 2011
Dear Judge Scarpellino;
Enclosed please find my published articles from Examiner.com/government-in-hartford, unabashedleft.blogspot.com, Patch.com, and elsewhere as well as notes from Alexander P. Bernard’s (charged with animal cruelty in the stabbing of Princess the dog in Hamden last May 29 times) July 22ndappearance and more. I (and many others) have witnessed many unusual events in this case, and enclose a copy of a letter I’ve forwarded as well to Assistant State’s Attorney James Turcotte, whose own behavior in this case and that of his office as well as his offensive personal call to me, all compromise this case. I believe that the only appropriate course for you to take following your own lengthy commentary from the bench on July 22ndis to recuse yourself from this case before it comes to any conclusion. Justice can NOT be served as long as you sit on this case at this point, sir, and I am most certainly not alone in that belief. In its editorial “Nothing Wrong With Lawmakers Criticizing Judge,” the Hartford Courant actually lampooned the comments I witnessed you making from the bench saying “The judge was not amused. He was, in fact, "upset" by the letter, "but not influenced by it," he said at a court hearing on the case.”
Judges being lampooned is not a good thing. One thing is for certain for anyone who witnessed that appearance; it is that you are not unbiased in this case any longer. The leniency with which this defendant has been treated--given the atrocity of the crime he’s publicly admitted to; having clipped his monitoring anklet in intentional violation of his conditions of release requiring his jailing on bond; and his antics in court on July 12thclaiming anger and disaffection with Public Defender Thomas Conroy and then at the appearance on the 22nddesigned to address his plan to get a new lawyer wherein this issue went unaddressed; and a brand new competency determination ordered by you after he was deemed competent by your own court just 21 days earlier; the ability of a defendant to manipulate GA7 from the Prosecutor’s office, to the office of the Public Defender, to the Judge; to your own anger and ‘upset’ at getting letters from legislators of both political parties—it is evident that you must recuse yourself now voluntarily from this case. In fact, I am calling on the Judiciary Committee in the General Assembly to look into this matter at this point. For your edification I enclose a copy of a summary article of all that I’ve published in Examiner.com, Patch.com, unabasheleft.blogspot.com, and elsewhere as well as my notes from Mr. Bernard’s July 22ndappearance before you at the Meriden courthouse.
Please, sir, use common sense and remove yourself from this case before Mr. Bernard’s next scheduled appearance on August 29thso that some semblance of justice might return to an important animal rights case being followed by many.
Wallingford, CT 06492
August 22, 2011
James Turcotte, Asst. States Atty
Meriden Superior Court
I’ve been following the case of Alexander P. Bernard (charged with stabbing his own 8 month old puppy 29 times in a Hamden driveway) as a journalist and am appalled by the Meriden court’s performance from all angles. In this case, the perpetrator has spoken publicly and admitted his actions, has already been deemed competent in his defense on July 1st, and yet your office raised no objections when Judge Philip Scarpellino ordered a second competency determination only 21 days later with no change in circumstances except the Judge’s revelation that he’s received a letter from State Legislators and indicating his rage at this letter publicly from the bench.
Animal cruelty, under CT law can be charged as felony and additional charges could have been made here. If not for stabbing your own 8 month old friendly puppy 29 times in broad daylight, causing a lung collapse and massive blood loss which threatened Princess’ life, then when? I visited this poor animal, under the loving care of the North Haven Animal Hospital and Dr. James Wells, and she is recuperating and yet scarred emotionally for life. Your own behavior towards me is unpardonable when I myself, ironically was in mourning when you made an offensive and vicious phone call to me as I sought solace from a church deacon.
I enclose copies of the articles and notes I’ve published pertaining to this case along with a photograph of Princess from my visit with her after Alexander Bernard’s last court appearance on July 22nd, that afternoon.
From the bench, Judge Scarpellino revealed on July 12ththat a misdemeanor conviction with a one year sentence after only 60 days served was offered and REFUSED by this admitted perpetrator. His courtroom machinations, pretending to be dissatisfied with Public Defender Thomas Conroy on July 12thand requesting a continuance for the purpose of getting a new lawyer, and then letting Conroy represent him at the next appearance and NO mention made of his efforts at securing alternate legal counsel even mentioned, all the while Judge Scarpellino offered his inane rant about the letter from State Legislators pertaining to the case all stink to high heavens. Something is up here, Mr. Turcotte. And a SECOND competency determination is uncalled for, sir! Especially with NO objection whatever from the prosecutor’s office which seems to be doing more to aid in Mr. Bernard’s defense than Mr. Conroy even. I object strongly to your phone call, in which you called identifying yourself only as “Jim” and doing that game-playing intimidation absurdity at 4:15 last week, designed to insult and absurdly unprofessional and deserving of cesure. I will follow up with the State’s Attorney’s office in New Haven.
60 days is NOT adequate punishment for this heinous crime, and I encourage your office to take responsibility for prosecuting this case. Thus far your office has only attempted to evade responsibility, give in to Scarpellino’s inappropriate activities, allow the defendant to manipulate your office and the entire GA7 Court.
My questions for you, Mr. Turcotte, as a journalist are simple.
1.At this point--given the facts of the case (stabbing a defenseless and friendly non-threatening 8 month old puppy 29 times in broad daylight); the fact that he clipped his monitoring anklet and required jailing on bond after his original release and his refusal of a generous one year/suspended after 60 days sentence—what sentence will you seek in this case?
2.Do you feel a second competency determination, as ordered on July 22ndafter Mr. Bernard was deemed competent on July 1st, is appropriate and why didn’t your office object to this order?
3.Given Judge Scarpellino’s anger and tirade in court regarding the letter by the state legislators, do you believe he should continue to oversee this case or should he be removed from the case and why/why not given his obvious personal entanglements/mistakes in the case?
Enclosed please find copies of the articles I’ve published at Examiner.com, Patch.com, unabashedleft.blogspot.com and elsewhere, as well as notes from Mr. Bernard’s July 22ndappearance. I thank you for your prompt replies either by email or ground mail. Please do NOT call me again for any reason Mr. Turcotte.
Wallingford, CT 06492
August 22, 2011
Alexander P. Bernard 348008
P.O. Box 8000
New Haven, CT 06511
Dear Mr. Bernard;
I am a journalist who has been following your criminal case involving charges that you stabbed “Princess” and your consequent arrest on an animal cruelty charge. I enclose a summary of the articles I’ve published at Examiner.com, a letter written and signed by 22 State Representatives, and my notes from your July 22nd appearance at Meriden Superior Court. These articles and photos have also been published at examiner.com/government-in-hartford/steven-alexander, at unabashedleft.blogspot.com, also at patch.com and references made at the Meriden Record-Journal, the New Haven Register and the Hartford Courant.
Two animal rights activists and I paid a visit to Princess on July 22nd, and I enclose a photograph from that visit for your reference. She’s doing well medically, recovering from a pneumothorax (collapsed lung), massive blood loss and a total of 29 stab wounds. She is still fearful of unfamiliar people, but is receiving tender loving care at the Animal Hospital where she is still being cared for expertly and with the TLC any creature deserves.
Your next scheduled court appearance is August 29th and I eagerly await the outcome of this appearance. I certainly hope that justice is adequately and appropriately served in this case, as I’m certain any reasonable person would and I certainly hope this is the case with the attorneys and the judge involved here.
I would request some answers to a few questions if I might, Mr. Bernard and I invite you to submit the answers by ground mail or email if you have access to email.
1) Do you have remorse at the present time for this incident?
2) In your appearance on July 12th you stated that you were dissatisfied with your legal representation, Public Defender Thomas Conroy, and spoke for yourself on that day in court requesting a continuance in order to acquire different legal representation. At your July 22nd appearance Mr. Conroy represented you and spoke for you. Have you changed your mind and do you feel adequately represented by Mr. Conroy at this point? Did you seek other legal representation between July 12th and July 22nd? What happened in the interim to change your mind and enable you to make the decision that Mr. Conroy would represent you on July 22nd?
3) You were adjudicated competent to stand trial and aid in your own defense on July 1st, and on July 22nd a second adjudication was ordered for your competency. Why do you think this second competency determination has been ordered and do you feel that you are competent and responsible for your actions and for your legal defense? Was your attempt to discharge Mr. Conroy publicly in your July 12th appearance a part of the reason that your second competency adjudication was ordered in your opinion?
4) Do you believe that if a person is guilty of stabbing their own 8 month old puppy 29 times with a pocket knife, that a misdemeanor conviction and a one year sentence suspended after only 60 days served is adequate punishment for such a gruesome crime? Would you please explain this answer in detail, Mr. Bernard?
I thank you in advance for your reply should you choose to do so. I hope you’ll appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight from your standpoint. I hope to hear from you, particularly if you could before your appearance scheduled for the 29th.
Wallingford, CT 06492