I Came. I Saw. I spoke. I’m shocked!
by Brian E. Clark
This story is the culmination of the previous 3 stories written on the topic. Today, the 12th of January, 2016 was the day Ted Taupier was sentenced by Superior Court Judge, David Gold. To begin with, I had planned on being at this event, to support my friend Ted Taupier, from the very beginning. He went to trial, he was found guilty of 1st Degree Threatening, 2 Counts of Disorderly Conduct, and 2nd Degree Breach of Peace. All stemming from allegedly threatening a Superior Court Judge, Elizabeth Bozzuto; the Judge overseeing his divorce case. I’m not here to discuss my thoughts on the case; I’ve done that in previous stories, but I will stick to saying I don’t agree with the conviction. It wasn’t until this morning, that I was asked to address the court on Ted’s behalf. I had absolutely no problem doing this; I would have done this for anyone I call my friend.
Now, I am very familiar with the Judicial System in Connecticut. I have been in court supporting other friends, and I’ve been on the business end of a Judge’s Gavel before myself. (Which I do not recommend) Typically, court proceedings are brief, or at the very extreme end of the spectrum, I’ve been in court for about 45 minutes in a prior sentencing. Nothing I have ever been through would have prepared me for what I went through today. I arrived early with Ted and his attorney, Rachel Baird. We briefly discussed what I would say, and then they had private sessions. While waiting in the hallway, talking with a State Judicial Marshall I’ve known very well, the arrival of 3 State Troopers, coming off the elevator, surprised me. What shocked me, was they were armed. I have never, ever, seen a Police Officer allowed to bring his firearm in to a court house. They are typically required to check them in at the door. That alone; that 3 State Troopers were present with loaded firearms, tasers, and pepper spray, was the ringing bell, that this would be no ordinary day in court.
The Judge entered the courtroom, and the State Prosecutor’s and Rachel Baird, began with their opening statements; the state making Ted sound like Satan reincarnated, and Rachel making very valid points, and pointing out blatant mistakes made in the pre-sentence investigation process, and high lighting the good man Ted Taupier is. No real surprise from either side. Then, the State called their only witness to speak; Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto, who in keeping with a victim of threatening, talked about how her sense of peace and sanity is destroyed because of the actions of Mr. Taupier. I’m not making light of the way she feels, because I believe whole- heartedly, that she feels this way, and to some degree I see why, but this is an article on how Mr. Taupier got bent over a barrel, and took it dry, despite the support that showed up for him, and spoke on his behalf. I guess if you want to hear sympathetic views for Judge Bozzuto, you’ll have to go elsewhere. All in all, Judge Bozzuto spoke very eloquently for a victim of Threatening, and her prepared statement took about 20 minutes. This was the State’s only witness, and she left immediately after speaking. Jennifer Verrenault, the other “victim” in this case, was not present.
Ted’s defense witnesses, began with his two sisters, Anne and Mary, speaking. Both were on the verge of tears, and the testimony they provided was very emotional even for myself. As they spoke of the emotional state of Ted’s children, and the impact that this whole process has had on them, I couldn’t hold back a few tears, and I am not an emotional person. As a sidebar: I think that this whole process will be incredibly hard on Ted’s children, and we can only hope the appellate process works properly, and gives them back their father. Otherwise, I foresee a very hard upbringing of these children, who will have problems far in to their future. I had the very hard act to follow Ted’s two sister’s. I remained very neutral on the actual guilty verdict, because, for one, it’s inane that I would comment on something I have no control over. (And no one gives a damn what I think) The only thing I will quote from what I said is this: “ Your honor, I am very familiar with this case. It’s facts and evidence. And I’ve listened to both the Prosecution and Defense speak here today. And given the proper arena, and paintbrush, anyone can paint a picture of how they want their side viewed. I’m here to speak on behalf of my friend Ted Taupier.” And that is exactly what I did. I kept it brief, and I mentioned all the great qualities I know about Ted, and shared a few experiences I had with Ted in my life. My major goal was to show Ted as the loving father, and great friend I know him to be. Period.
Unfortunately, following me, was a man named Michael Nowacki. If you type Michael N in to Google, he’s the first one to show up. A Constitutional Advocate, and Federalist Advocate, Mr. Nowacki, I think did more harm than good. He began by asking if there was a time limit on his testimony, and I knew then, this wasn’t going to go well. He put on a show for close to an hour, being warned by Judge Gold 4 or 5 times to stay on topic, before ultimately being shut down- accomplishing nothing, except making my parking meter run over. Mr. Nowacki, you owe me $10.
A lovely young woman spoke next, and she was also the last. Lillian Song, a friend of Ted Taupier’s, a survivor of Domestic Violence. She spoke from the heart, as a victim, and still pleaded for the court to show leniency and mercy on Ted, because like myself, she wasn’t convinced a crime was committed here. She did go slightly off topic, referencing two other cases having to do with threatening, which the Judge did shut her down on, but I think she would have connected the dots if given the chance. She was eloquent, and spoke very well of Ted, and this is where I’m going to rain on all our parades: It was all for nothing.
These hearings are held so the Prosecution, and the Defense can provide any last minute witnesses, and information to influence the Judge when it comes to sentencing. Now, sure, the Judge has all kinds of information given to him well in advance. Pre-Sentence Investigations are conducted, letters of character reference are written, all in attempt to sway the opinion of the Judge. (To be clear, I also wrote a letter to Adult Probation on Ted’s behalf during the Presentencing Investigation) And, let’s be clear, in rendering his verdict on this case, Judge Gold covered every base, and issued a 56 page verdict. That all said, this hearing took well over 3 hours; nothing I’ve ever seen before. State Troopers, who were armed, were present. 8 Judicial Marshal’s surrounded the Courtroom, with the Chief Marshal overseeing everything there as well. The head Prosecutor, and Public Defender were also present. And the courtroom seats were all taken. Then the sentence was handed down….
Judge David Gold then read from a piece of paper (Remember when I said all of this was for nothing?), Ted Taupier will serve 5 years, Suspended after 18 Months Served, with 5 Years Probation. He additionally received 3 months for Each Count of Disorderly Conduct, and 6 Months for 2nd Degree Breach of Peace; All to be served Concurrently, meaning the total Prison time to be served is 18 Months. Immediately, Attorney Norm Pattis, Ted’s Appellate Lawyer, petitioned the Court to apply an Appellate Bond, which Judge Gold did set at $90,000 Cash. Initially Ted had posted $75,000 Cash to be out on Bond during the time during the trial, and that money will be refunded to his Sister, who posted it. It will hopefully be applied to his Appellate Bond, which he is still $15,000 short on. A GoFundMe Page has been started to help Ted and his Family out in this difficult time. The afternoon culminated with Ted Taupier being led away to jail in Handcuffs, his immediate future, very uncertain.
As I said earlier, I have already stated that I didn’t agree with the verdict, but today I think I witnessed the completion of a miscarriage of justice. It seems I see that a lot these days. Perhaps it’s not the people, but the system.