Committee Dems ok judge who fought to save serial killer/rapist, was soft on child porn defendants 

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have approved the nomination of a judge who reduced the sentences of convicted rapists and child pornographers, Roll Call reports. The party-line vote in favor of sending District Court Judge Robert Chatigny (pronounced SHOT-ney) to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was 11-7, with all Republicans on the committee voting “no.”

It is noteworthy that Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., abstained from the vote.

Chatigny is best known for his conduct in the infamous “Roadside Strangler” case, in which Connecticut serial killer and rapist Michael Ross chose to stop his legal appeals and accept his execution after 15 years on death row. When Ross finally found an attorney who would comply with his wishes and stop the appeals, Judge Chatigny threatened to revoke that attorney’s law license unless he continued to pursue vindication for his client.

Chatigny described Ross’s proclivity toward sexual sadism as a mitigating factor in the crimes, and said that Ross “never should have been convicted or, if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death.” Judge Chatigny twice blocked Ross’ execution – both times he was overturned on appeal. Under questioning during his confirmation hearing, the judge told senators: “I believe I did the right thing.”

Ross was finally executed in 2005 – the first convicted felon to be put to death in New England in 45 years.

“At the core of [Chatigny’s] conduct in that matter was his view that sexual sadism is somehow a mitigating factor in a rape and murder case… embracing the theory that sexually sadistic criminals have some sort of special argument against being executed and even against being convicted.” Paul Mirengoff wrote in his Powerline blog.

Chatigny, who once served as an attorney for Woody Allen, is also famous for giving extremely light sentences to child pornography defendants. In 12 cases, he gave them minimum or below minimum sentences under federal guidelines.

Victims rights groups, including the family of kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart, are furious that a judge who struck down sex offender registry Megan’s Law as unconstitutional (the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned Chatigny’s decision) would even be considered for the appellate court.

If this is Obama’s “empathy” standard for federal judges — feeling the pain of serial killers, rapists and child molesters — then it’s not hard to imagine that the issue of liberal judges will pop up in this fall’s elections and in the 2012 election as well.

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