HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — “Healing has an ‘ing’ for a reason. It’s ongoing. It transforms you,” said Audrey Carlson, a mother fighting for change after her daughter, Elizabeth, was murdered in 2002.
Carlson said her daughter’s ex-boyfriend accepted a 42-year plea deal with no parole, but he applied to shorten his sentence in January. He was denied but can reapply in three years.
“This is not political. This is just what has to be to keep us all safe and do what’s right,” Carlson said.
After granting just six commutations between 2016 and 2021, Connecticut’s Board of Pardons and Parole commuted 71 sentences in 2022.
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Gov. Ned Lamont removed Carleton Giles as chairman of the Board on Monday.
The Democrat-controlled senate ultimately voted 21-14 Wednesday, allowing Giles to remain as a member of the Connecticut Pardon and Parole Board, but not as chairman.
Republican State Senator Heather Somers says it’s a good first step, but more must be done.
“The chairman and the two additional folks that sat with him during the prescreening and the commutation hearings should leave the board,” Somers said. “The other folks that are on the Board, we all need to reevaluate them; but I think we need to do that diligently.”
They’re also asking to change the current policy, which allows a convicted felon to reapply for commutation in three years after a denial.
Democratic State Sen. Gary Winfield says Giles followed the law when the board created the policy.
“We could argue about the fact that they should’ve been more transparent,” Winfield said during Wednesday’s Senate session. “I won’t tell you not to argue that. But this is not just something that happened where no one was aware, where none of us had any input into it.”
The Democrat-controlled Senate ultimately voted 21-14 Wednesday, allowing Giles to remain as a member of the Pardons and Paroles Board, but not as chairman.