- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 1, 2013) — On Monday, in response to a claim filed last week asking for permission to sue the state of Connecticut in connection with the attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, Attorney General George Jepsen announced that “the Office of the Claims Commissioner is not the appropriate venue” to conduct a “thoughtful and deliberate examination” of the events surrounding the deaths of six school personnel and 20 first-graders.
Atty. Irving Pinsky had asked Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. for permission to file suit against the state as is customary based on the assumption of “sovereign immunity” of state governments from liability.
Pinsky had claimed that the child had suffered emotional trauma which had “yet to be determined.” The Hartford Courant reports that Pinsky withdrew his request but retained the right to refile it with possible “new evidence” about “security” at the school.
Memorials are being planned to those who lost their lives when, according to government sources, a lone gunman broke the glass in a door and forced his way into the school, where he opened fire in the hallway and on two classrooms. All the children in one class except the “Jill Doe” identified in the lawsuit were murdered. Stories of heroism on the part of teachers have emerged as a result of the atrocity.
The UK Daily Mail has reported that the perpetrator, who committed suicide upon hearing authorities arriving, was a “devil-worshiper.” The MailOnline claims to have spoken with an aunt, the mother’s sister-in-law, who indicated that Nancy Lanza had been seeking a new home, perhaps an institution or college, for her troubled son, for whom Nancy was apparently her son’s sole caretaker following her divorce in 1999.
Nancy was reportedly acquainted with the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal and psychologist, who were reported to have rushed at the perpetrator in an effort to stop his rampage but were tragically killed.
In recent years, de-institutionalization and “less restrictive alternatives” have gained support over traditional guardianships for the mentally ill. In Connecticut, guardianship applications for both minors and those over the age of 18 are handled by the Probate Courts. The Department of Mental Health offers services in each of five regions of the state, with help available in Region 5, which includes Newtown, available here.
Details from the Connecticut State Police and Newtown Police Department have been scarce. A “former FBI agent” has presented hypothetical questions which law enforcement could be examining about the perpetrator.
Since Congress passed “gun-free zones” legislation in 1995, public schools are known to prohibit firearms within or 1000 feet of a school. Since 2000, schools have been discussing and implementing ways to make their campuses safer, and President Bill Clinton had allocated $60,000,000 specifically to place armed guards in schools in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School attack.
On Thursday, children who had attended Sandy Hook will be going to school in an unused facility in the nearby town of Monroe, where a police officer is expected to be on duty. Both parents and children who survived the experience have demonstrated emotional trauma. The children will have a chance to visit the school on Wednesday prior to the official opening of classes.
Both Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen,-Elect Christopher Murphy have rejected the National Rifle Association’s advocacy of an armed guard in all public schools in the wake of Sandy Hook. Murphy, who had served as a congressman, represented the town of Newtown. Obama immediately suggested that he would pursue an aggressive gun-control agenda following the tragedy and is joined by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Joe Manchin. Gun control has now become “a priority.”
The NRA has identified violent video games as a possible contributor to firearms attacks in public places, which the perpetrator allegedly spent hours playing. A Newtown 12-year-old has voluntarily given up playing “Call of Duty” and urged others to do the same. Blumenthal, Murphy and the liberal media dismissed NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre as “the craziest man on earth.” Blumenthal was Connecticut’s attorney general prior to winning election to the U.S. Senate in 2010.
What is the role of parents in allowing their children to play such games?
Connecticut laws on assault weapons are described by a retired Connecticut state police officer as more strict than the federal assault weapons ban which was in place between 1994 and 2004 which Feinstein and others wish to renew and perhaps tighten. Heated debates on the meaning and rights granted by the Second Amendment have resulted.
Questions remain as to why the perpetrator committed the murders and whether or not Sandy Hook had connections to another fatal shooting this past summer. Early reports of more than one perpetrator have changed to the report of only one.
On Tuesday, The Post & Email contacted Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen’s spokesperson, Susan E. Kinsman, about his statement to ask:
Can you provide clarification on AG Jepsen’s statement that “the Office of the Claims Commissioner is not the appropriate venue for that important and complex discussion”? Where is the AG suggesting the discussion should take place, or is he silent on that?
to which we received the following response:
Sharon, he is suggesting the public policy discussion take place in the state legislature and Congress, not with a lawsuit that has no legal grounds on which to stand. Hope that helps.
Tags: assault weapons ban, Congress, Connecticut, CT AG George Jepsen, gun control, mental health, Sandy Hook Elementary School, school security, Second Amendment, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen.-Elect Chris Murphy, The Hartford Courant, UK Daily Mail, Wayne LaPierre