In 1987, Richard Lapointe was convicted of raping and killing his wife’s 88-year-old grandmother . Lapointe was serving a life sentence for the crime at the time of the story. He was born with Dandy Walker Syndrome, a rare condition that swells the brain and causes brain damage.
Robert Perske, advocate and author, took a personal interest in Lapointe’s case. He was convinced that the traits of a person with a mental disability — such as a strong desire to be helpful in order to hide limitations — led Lapointe to confess to a crime he did not commit.
Perske, who has made it his mission to defend people with mental disabilities whom he feels are being unfairly treated by a police force working under pressure and the criminal justice system, is the author, among other books, of Unequal Justice: What Can Happen When Persons with Retardation or Other Developmental Disabilities Encounter the Criminal Justice System (1991). The book makes an in-depth analysis of the special needs of mentally disabled persons who are being tried as criminals under the law.
However, Perske’s attempts, as of all the other advocates and ‘Friends of Lapointe’, failed to make an impression on the judge who decided against the appeal
Judge Stanley T. Fuger, in the Superior Court in the Tolland Judicial District in Connecticut that was seeking a new trial on grounds of ineffective legal counsel and suppressed evidence, recently delivered a scathing ruling against Richard Lapointe