How Kristin Died
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Kristin Lardner was abused publicly and eventually murdered by her abusive boyfriend of whom she had stopped seeing but he kept on calling, stalking and threatening her. Michael Cartier had shot her in the head and face while he was under a court order to stay away from her. When police searched his apartment, they found him sprawled on his bed, dead from a final act of self-pity. Key Problems:
The key problems is this case is that they system (bureaucracy) let Kristin down. Though everything had been done to secure a restraining order for Kristin against Michael Cartier; the system failed to follow through on their end of the agreement due to a severe lack of communication and lack of professional staff. For example;
1. Kristin’s application for a restraining order of protection from Michael Cartier was filed in a timely manner to the correct officials. It was left sitting on the desk unsigned after two weeks and was found after Kristin had been murdered.
2. After Kristin’s death investigators learned that there had been no background report about Michael Cartier requested by law enforcement, who had arrested him, nor by his parole officer, who was the overseer of his adherence to parole.
3. Kristin’s own reluctance to press charges against Michael Cartier because she felt great empathy for him because of his past abuse from his mother.
4. Michael’s parole officer who felt the same empathy for him that Kristin did and instead of putting him in jail when he violated his parole, she would sign him up for a “Stop abuse training program” or help him get an early parole from jail.
5. There was a problem with impersonalization. The law enforcement officials didn’t seem to take Kristin’s problem very seriously. They seemed to look at it as just another domestic violence case that would probably resolve itself.
6. A system of justice that was inefficient and had a propensity to look the other way especially at the evil done to women. Recommendations to Address Problems:
I would recommend that the law enforcement officials, Judicial system, parole officers and any others who are involved in making decisions about crime should implement an aggressive system of communication that would inform every administration immediately about situations that needed immediate attention. A lack of communication and a system that would not follow through on the information that came to their attention is a severe weakness in the entire bureaucratic system.
I would also recommend a less formal environment for the bureaucratic systems that function to serve the public. The public does not necessarily need to be treated like family, per se, yet they do need to be treated in a more humane way. The red-tape needs to be shortened especially in cases of emergency such as restraining orders and protective functions of every kind.
Another recommendation would be the implementation of more manpower, hiring more employees in order to bring these types of cases to the attention of those who have authority more quickly. For example; In Kristin’s case the first police officer Sgt. Simmons filed a complaint for an immediate summons, however the clerk was unable to type up the summons because his workload was too heavy, therefore, the judge did not get the summons in a timely manner. The second police officer, Mealy, completed the criminal complaint that Cartier had violated his restraining order immediately, but no one read the report.
Neither Judge Shubow, nor Judge McGill, made an effort to research the cases when Kristin appeared before them; and treated the case as routine. The probation officer, Mueller, also appears to be at fault because she did not make the effort to know more about Cartier, but allowed her empathy toward him to rule her decisions. If Mueller had known about his institutionalizations, and psychiatric past, she could have more accurately assessed his problem and made better decisions regarding his incarcerations. Evaluation of Decisions:
After evaluating the various recommendations made above, I have identified the problem that has prevented the recommendations from being implemented in the past and would also prevent them in the future. The problem appears to be a lack of resources, or possibly a mismanagement of resources. The funds are not available to hire new employees that would make a marked difference in the manpower needed to get these reports out to the proper departments in a timely manner.
Again, it is the lack of resources that has been the major conflict regarding the purchase and implementation of a better communication system. The attainment of new computers and communication devices for officers would help the communication process to be more efficient.
As a result of a lack of resources, the decisions and recommendations that were made are not an option at this time. However, there are ways to raise funds for these changes to be made. Therefore, I would recommend that each department plan a fund-raising event to raise funds for these changes to be made. I believe that it would be worth the time and effort of everyone involved because the potential is great that it could save many lives.