Former State Sen. Len Suzio, Connecticut's leading critic of the Early Release program, blasted the offer of a plea deal to accused murderer Frankie Resto. The victim's family was denied the opportunity to provide input, and was given zero details about the bargain.
"This family has gone through hell since their father was murdered in cold blood, now their suffering is compounded by the prospect of the murderer being offered a plea deal without any input or consent from the family," said Suzio, who represented Middlefield.
Resto, who fatally shot a Meriden convenience store owner on June 27, 2012, is considering a plea bargain, according to the Hartford Courant.
"It is yet another example of Connecticut’s justice system accommodating violent criminals at the expense of their suffering victims. Excluding the family from the details of this plea bargain scheme, displays an incredible lack of sympathy or sensitivity to the Ghazal family and it is illegal " Suzio said.
"I want to publicly thank former Connecticut Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz who has offered to represent the family pro bono to demand justice for the family of murder victim Ibrahim Ghazal," Suzio continued.
"Former Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz is an expert in victims' rights and related Connecticut laws and has been a tireless worker on behalf of victims and their families for many years. We expect prosecutors to retract any 'bargain' until the family has been informed and given an opportunity to respond. Respect and fairness for the family demand nothing less," Suzio concluded.
“Connecticut’s Constitution guarantees crimes victims’ the right to be treated with fairness, respect, communicate with the prosecutor and have input in any plea offer. For the Ghazel family to learn, after the fact, that a plea has been communicated to the defendant without knowing the details and circumstances, violates these important rights of the victims, and 'revictimizes' the family. These injustices targeted at crime victims, have to stop.”
Cruz has been retained by the family to assure that justice for their father and respect for their rights as family of the victim are respected. Attorney Cruz is seeking an immediate meeting with prosecutors to request any plea bargain be rescinded until family members have been provided the details of the proposed deal and have had a chance to express their opinion.
Suzio is a member of the Victims Advocate Advisory Committee and Attorney Michelle Cruz has a private practice offering serves to clients in Connecticut and Massachusetts