Connecticut's Constitution, in its Declaration of Rights, commands: "All courts shall be open." So what has happened to the case of Hector R. Cruz?
Cruz was 16 when, according to the charge against him – first-degree sexual assault, a felony – he raped a child in Glastonbury in December 2019. The charge was pending in Hartford Superior Court when, according to Journal Inquirer reporter Alex Wood, it disappeared from the docket the other day without explanation.
Wood offered several possibilities for the case's disappearance. Among them: A judge could have sealed the case from public view while leaving it pending. Or a judge could have granted Cruz "youthful offender status," which makes cases secret and reduces the potential punishments for a defendant.
Such options are indeed authorized by state statutes, but those statutes contradict the Constitution, since they close the courts to the public. As the Glastonbury case demonstrates, these statutes also trample the public interest in accountable government.
If a rape was committed but was not prosecuted, why? If a rape was charged falsely or erroneously, why? Who was responsible for the falsehood or the mistake and what, if anything, was done about it? On what evidence and reasoning did the court make its decision, whatever that decision was?
The Judicial Department should answer these questions or explain why accountability here is illegal despite the Constitution's command. So far the department has said only that it no longer has any public record of the case.
And state legislators and Governor Lamont, who recently enacted a law concealing the prosecution of young people for even the most serious crimes, including murder – a law federal courts have nullified for being contrary to the federal Constitution – should awaken to the dark path down which they are taking the state.
Secret courts cannot produce justice. They are tyrannical wherever they operate – in China, North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, and Connecticut.
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Vaccinating an entire population practically all at once is a stupendous and unprecedented project. The United States may be executing it better than any other country and Connecticut better than any other state. But the propaganda of the campaign is cutting corners with the truth and treating people like children.
Television and radio commercials and experts proclaim that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and all doubts are to be swept aside. In fact not just the COVID-19 vaccines but nearly all vaccines in common use present some risk, however small – not so much because they can cause the ailments they aim to protect against but because a few people have bad reactions to them, some severe or even fatal.
That's why since 1986 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has operated the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program – to pay damages to the injured.
Adverse reactions have been reported with the three COVID-19 vaccines in use in the United States. One of those vaccines and in Europe the AstraZeneca vaccine seem to have caused blood clots in some people, enough to prompt suspension of the latter vaccine. Some deaths soon after vaccine administration have raised suspicion too.
Two of the three vaccines in use in the United States are not traditional vaccines but use "messenger RNA" technology, the first time this technology has been used with people. Early results have been good but these vaccines lack the long record of traditional vaccines. Indeed, all the COVID-19 vaccines, including those using traditional technology, are being used under the government's emergency authorization because their testing, while extensive, inevitably has been short.
A more honest publicity campaign for COVID-19 vaccination would acknowledge that the vaccines carry risks, as all vaccines do, while asserting that the government and most independent experts believe that these risks are well worth taking – that they will save hundreds of thousands of lives for every one lost or impaired.
But such honesty might get trampled in the hysteria that has arisen around the virus epidemic. Even now it can hardly be discussed politely whether a disease with a recovery rate near 99 percent has justified the suspension of commerce and education. Propaganda is sweeping aside inconvenient facts and fair questions.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.