Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Law/Justice Disconnect

In 1998, David Messenger of Chaplin, Connecticut bludgeoned his pregnant wife to death in front of their 5 year old child. He was subsequently found not guilty of manslaughter by reason of insanity and committed for 20 years to the custody of the State of Connecticut Psychiatric Security Review Board.  As the PSRB considers releasing Messenger into a halfway house to complete his sentence, the Hartford Courant reveals that Messenger posseses significant financial assets; including, incredibly, a portion of the $425,000 proceeds from the settlement of the wrongful death case filed against him by his wife's estate!  In the loopiest of legal loopholes:

State Probate Court Administrator Paul Knierim said there is nothing in the probate statutes that prohibits people found not guilty by reason of insanity from remaining as beneficiaries of the estates of their victims.

Is the court devoid of equitable powers to remedy this travesty?  The Courant article reports further:

And because David Messenger voluntarily gave up his parental rights to his son, after he killed his wife, the boy wasn’t eligible to challenge Messenger’s standing as the beneficiary of the estate.

Once again, how can this be?  The son is still a beneficiary of his mother's estate.  Why can't he challenge the status of other beneficiaries? If this article and the scenario that it paints is perplexing to legal professionals, how must it be perceived by the general public?

The law is not inherently equal to justice. Justice must be avidly pursued by a vigilant society.

The following video was posted on YouTube in 2008 by the family of Messenger's victim:

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