Was the Sentence for the Murderer of Eugene Mallove Fair?

There is no way our system can ever make up for the loss of the late Eugene Mallove after his brutal murder. That said, the sentencing of his killer yesterday, while understandably upsetting to his family, was the best the system could offer in this case. As a defense attorney, I have tried (and pre-tried) many criminal cases with State’s Attorney Paul Narducci for almost twenty years. I have stood before Judge Clifford on a many occasions with many different defendants. In my experience, neither “give[s] away the courthouse” as alleged by commenters in the article on the sentencing. (New London Day 6/27/12) Both men are concerned with the safety of the public and the administration of justice, and both men are also highly experienced legal professionals — Attorney Narducci has many years as a prosecutor; Judge Clifford was a prosecutor in New Haven for many years before his appointment to the bench- who understand the difficulty of obtaining a conviction from a jury of 12.

A jury sitting on a trial such as this must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. In this case, two other men had already been arrested for the crime and then released. A key witness had admittedly lied on several occasions. This type of evidence can easily create “reasonable doubt” in the minds of jurors.

When a person is sworn in as a juror he or she takes an oath to follow the law. The law is that the jury must acquit or vote not guilty if there is a reasonable doubt in the case. Attorney Narducci has tried enough cases to know when a is case becoming jeopardized despite his best efforts to gain a conviction. At that point, he may elect to make the best a of a bad situation and offer the defendant a better deal in order to secure a conviction. He is not someone who would do so lightly. Judge Clifford’s experience is such that he would not accept a plea unless it served the interests of society, in this case by taking someone who may well have been acquitted and ensuring that they are locked up for more than decade. As Judge Clifford said “Sixteen years does not reflect the value of this wonderful man, trust me”; rather, it reflects the uncertainty of the outcome of the case and a well considered professional judgment.

If you have any questions contact the

Law Offices of Gregg W. Wagman at:
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