Talk:Joette Katz

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RE:Joette Katz article[edit]

(01:52, 14 September 2007 (Talk) (5,378 bytes) (don;t soft soap the effect of these decisions. The legislature subsequently passed a "plain meaning" act after the death penalty decision)

My additions to your comments regarding the State v. Bell and State v. Johnson decisions were not, as you have stated, an attempt to "soft soap the effect of these decisions". Rather, they were motivated by the desire to make sure that the article is written from a NPOV. Judges often are required to make decisions that can appear to be very technical and seem removed from the human elements of the facts of a case. The role of appellate judges is to evaluate the law in a particular case and, perhaps, to determine the intent of those who crafted the law, but not to determine the facts of the case nor to create policy (though policy changes may result from such interpretation). To a degree, such determinations of law can appear, in the short term, to be callous and/or ill-conceived. This is particularly common in cases involving violent crimes (such as the horrible killing of a police officer or any other human being) and the laws that relate to them. To a degree, judges must approach such difficult, emotional matters as dispassionately as is possible and is appropriate, if they are to be able to professionally evaluate how a particular case relates to current law and/or the intent of its framers. This is similar to how doctors need to maintain a certain professional detachment if there are to provide patients with the best possible care. Hopefully, the long-term results of such decisions serve to benefit the citizens being represented and, if need be, result in the legislature clarifying problematic laws or crafting new ones. As I am sure that you are aware, in the case of State v. Bell the Connecticut Supreme Court relied on the 2000 Apprendi ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. As the Hartford Courant has pointed out in the referenced article "The Apprendi decision has sparked numerous appeals and affected laws in other states". This is by no means a novel issue nor apparently was the decision a radical or unusual one -- it was unanimous and the panel included justices crossing the political spectrum. The issue in question for this Wikipedia entry is not how you or I feel about this particular case, but accurately conveying what the decision was and, perhaps, why it was made. If there are clear, documentable consequences of such decisions (as in the case of the Kelo case) then these should also be accurately reported if they are relevant.

Comments that you have added regarding the opinions authored by this jurist seem to reflect your personal point of view and biases regarding the administration of justice and focus on the emotional aspects of these cases or your view/interpretation of their potential consequences. For example, your statement that "This decision effectively voided the state's persistent violent offender law" does not appear to be accurate and certainly has not yet been determined. It is my understanding that this law is not voided, but has now been clarified to require that juries (not judges) make the decisions about the determination of persistent violent offender status. This follows a similar decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. You have also not provided any detail in the State v. Johnson case related to why the majority of the court, including some very law-and-order oriented jurists such as the Chief Justice at the time, Robert Callahan, reached the decision that they did given that 17 shots were fired. This detail and their concerns related to this matter was provided by the justices in their written opinion and was reflected in their questions at oral argument. You chose to leave this out of your description of this case. Again, while you and I might not agree with the decision, it should be characterized for such an encyclopedia in as neutral a manner as possible in order to be fair and accurate. I have not removed your text in these instances in order to do you the courtesy of giving you time to consider and, if you choose, respond to my reply to your ad hominem comment to me (01:52, 14 September 2007), however I reserve the right to further edit this entry at some point in the future and, if need be, bring the POV issue to the attention of Wikipedia administrators. I believe that to the greatest degree possible POV should not enter into the editing of such entries. I feel that you violated this on 6 September 2007 by a biased characterization of these 2 cases that previously was not there. I would hope that will decide to remove such comments as soon as possible. CT2008 03:29, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

I've added additional clarification. WP should not pretend her decisions in Bell and Johnson (as well as other criminal law decisions) did not elicit negative reaction from the CT General Assembly, That is a historical fact. Whether this reaction was warranted is a matter of opinion, and removing the context for the consternation (they certaintly believed shooting a trooper 17 times was "heinous" when they passed the bill)amounts to doing PR for the Justice —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:30, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Reply to your recent changes and comments:

Thanks for following up on this entry. You have modified one of the sentences so that it now reads "This decision led prominent legislators to conclude it had effectively voided the state's persistent violent offender law, and a new law would need to be implemented". This is followed by reference #2 (the Hartford Courant article). Nothing in that reference refers to statements by prominent legislators, rather it comments on the concerns of the prosecutor in that case. I am sure that you are correct that certain legislators feel that way and suggest that you use a better reference (should the sentence remain, and I continue to feel that it should not). I agree that there should not be any PR for or against the judicial department or other players in this matters. However, now you are promoting the point of view of selected legislators in order to support your personal point of view and it is not clear that this is particularly relevant at this point in time to an entry of this sort. There is no indication or commentary on whether other legislators agree that the statute has been voided or eviscerated. Should their thoughts be noted in this entry or is it too early to speculate on such matters? No law has yet been changed. Legislators often have differing opinion about many matters including court decisions, particularly if a verdict or sentence is overturned or the case is a high profile one. Is this entry the appropriate place for the airing of differing legislative (or other) opinions and concerns? If so, how should such differences of opinion be discussed in an entry of this sort while both maintaining neutrality and keeping the focus on the topic of the entry? Why did you choose to comment on the viewpoint of selected legislators and not others? Does this reflect your personal POV? You seem to be ahead of the game on this issue and continue to insert your POV into this article. It is clear that you feel strongly about this matter, but I would encourage greater neutrality on your part. This entry should not be a political debate, rather it should be a dispassionate relating of facts and events. Your changes, not those of mine or others who previously edited this entry, have moved this away from neutrality. I again encourage you to refrain from making this about your personal points of view and biases by selectively relating information that supports your opinions or those of selected legislators. By the way, who is WP? Why are you commenting (see above) that WP is pretending something (leading me to believe that you are referring to the judge in this case)? I have no idea what the judge was thinking about this case or its consequences, nor I expect do you. My guess, however, is that judges are well aware that their decisions will elicit reactions from legislators. It is my understanding that this is an expected part of the process and perhaps sometimes a desired goal on the part of the judges making decisions. Not being a judge myself, nor a legislator, nor a lawyer, you will have to ask one of these members of the legal community what their thought processes are. It is clear, however, that neither your speculations nor mine on such matters should be driving the editing of Wikipedia entries, including this one. Thanks for your indulgence on this matter. Time does not permit further comments on my part at this point in time on other issues that you have raised. CT2008 13:01, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, you've spent a half hour saying your opinion is the only one that matters. In an adversarial system the reasoning of those disapporving of judical decisions should be considered. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

I never said that only my opinion matter -- those are your words not mine. The process is a complex, balancing one across many peoples' points of view, including executive, legislative, judicial, public, and the press. I do prefer that many voices get heard which is why my personal preference would be, in most cases, to see juries make decisions and not judges. I certainly believe that the issues you have raised are important ones. I would suggest two things: accuracy and fairness. If I cared that much only about my point of view, I would have changed the text of the entry as you have done. I have not done so. I suggest that the issues raised, which are broad and require considerable background, would be more appropriate if they appeared on the Connecticut Supreme Court page, or some other page, where they could more broadly be set in the context of the larger court's decisions, their reception, and their consequences (as was done on that page with the Kelo decision). Thanks for adding the supporting link from State Senator Fasano. You might want to also add this recommendation quoted on the Senator's page that you referenced: "Strengthen Connecticut’s Persistent Offender Law by following the state Supreme Court’s recommendation to grant juries the power to determine enhanced sentences on criminals they deem to be dangerous persistent offenders." It is the duty of the court to determine if, in their professional opinion, a law is constitutional. It is then the obligation of the legislature to fix, or replace, the particular law as was apparently done in this case. I suggest that you also change "State v. Couchence" that you added to the entry to "State v. Courchesne" which is the proper spelling. You should, for purposes of verifiability, attach an appropriate reference of your choosing. One possibility is Matthew J. Hertko, "Statutory interpretation in Illinois: abandoning the plain meaning rule for an extratextual approach," University of Illinois Review, V. 2005, #1, 377-405. By the way, although Senator Fasano referenced State v. Bell, the Hertko article indicates that the Courchesne decision was the one that most immediately led to the Connecticut legislature passing the statute that re-established and codified the pre-Courchesne standard, although this natural tension between legislature and judiciary in Connecticut stretches back to at least the 1968 Supreme Court decision in Adams v. Rubinow, 157 Conn. 150. This judicial-legislative wrangling is documented in a memo from Mitchell W. Pearlman of Governor's Rell staff to Thomas J. Groark, Jr., Chairman of the Governor's Commission on Judicial Review dated June 14, 2006 (this can be found on the Governor's website). I am sorry to be so long-winded, but you (not me) have introduced new material on this page that requires a lot of background, detail, and, possibly, debate and discussion. I would suggest that this particular page is not the appropriate place for this kind of complex debate and detail because it requires significantly greater context that would appear to be appropriate for an entry of this sort. Perhaps a "plain law statutes" page or a "statutory construction" or a "judicial decisions and their consequences" page would be the way to go. Singling out this particular jurist's page to raise these difficult issues simply makes it look like you have a personal axe to grind about either the judge or the particular decisions that they authored. You have not yet convinced me otherwise. That is why I keep raising the issue of NPOV and providing detailed information for your consideration. Sorry again if it takes me a long time to get these thoughts out. I was trying to be courteous. I didn't realize that was something that I would need to apologize for. Thanks for your patience. CT2008 19:05, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

(PLEASE NOTE: I have moved the above discussion from my User talk page ( User Talk:CT2008, and the User talk page of the user with IP address (User talk:,, and have arranged these comments chronologically in order to consolidate the discussion of this topic and move it to where it seems most relevant. I am concerned about the issues of NPOV, accuracy and verifiability, and adherence to the policy on biographies of living persons on this entry and will be looking into this more carefully when time permits. CT2008 15:00, 18 September 2007 (UTC))