Dec 27, 2007
And It came in the form of a simple e-mail with just one link, subject line reading "FYI "
"Please Visit'. And so I did.
What I found was a heart-wrenching and inspiring tribute to a friend , from one very special little girl to another, the latter, her earthly life recently stolen by violent crime.
As a recent image of a young and smiling Michaela Petit greeted me upon the opening web page, and my reflex was a deep and abiding heaviness of heart. But as I read on to the young web -master's introduction, my spirit lifted just a bit and I slowly realized that this was one of those times where the children of the world have something to teach their elders.
The young creator of the "Forever Michaela" website, Elizabeth Ollero, shares with us that the website was created, "so that people would not feel only sad" when thinking about her late friend Michaela Petit: Instead she hoped that they might recall and grow to know everything about her that was so special and beautiful. And although Michaela was clearly a pretty girl, this is a beauty of the inside variety we are led to see: A gentle and kind heart, a sensitivity that belied her years and a clear generosity of spirit and self.
Another goal of the website we are told, is to share with the world some of the causes that Michaela cared so deeply about, and in doing so, bring more attention and support to those and other causes through Michaela's kind and charitable example. Many of us have read about Michaela's older sister, Hayley and her fund-raising work on behalf of Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that her mom Jennifer was diagnosed with eight years before her murder.
Yet, not nearly as much has been written about Michaela's own philanthropic endeavors;
At just 11 years of age when she died, she didnt have as much time as her 17 year old counterpart to make this world a better place, but she did an incredible job for the brief time that she graced our world. For the past several years Michaela had become her sister's right hand with her impressive non-profit raising record amounts for Multiple Sclerosis, aptly dubbed "Hayley's hope".
Michaela was due to take over a good portion of the charity, as Hayley was attending Dartmouth in the fall. According to friends and family, she was very enthusiastic about inheriting the project, and had even chosen a name for the inherited venture -"Michaela's Miracle".
For years shed particpated in the annual M.S walks in Plainville, walking a great many miles in order to raise money for MS foundation, clearly important charity to the both the Petit clan and many others in the community stricken with this disease. She had also been involved with various animal charities, a cause that was also close to her heart.
Mentioned on the "Forever" web-site was that one of Michaela's last emails to her circle of friends was all about a new-found animal rescue charity that she cared deeply about. She asked friends to visit the website and use the "click for food option"-- a great way to help the homeless animals without having to spend money which she realized that not everyboy had.
Considering that this young girl was only 11 years old at her passing, this only makes her involvement with multiple good works that much more indicative of a uniquely kind and caring nature.
As I gazed upon the very last page of photos of Michaela, my heart was of course still heavy, knwoing that the world will never know such a uniquely caring and loving young lady.
The senseless and violent deaths of Michaela and her family will always confound and anger me.
But at the same time, today I began to feel something else - a small infusion of hope.
This hope was borne of the knowledge that the legacy of this kind and giving family lives on.
The world will continue to extract good from the evil that robbed this world of Michaela Jennifer and Hayley Petit And through this good, we continue to defeat the very evil that brought this all to bear.
And today these seeds were planted through the love and devotion of one little girl reaching out to the world with her dear friend's memory in tow.
"Be the Change that you wish to see in this world"
Michaela Petit's favorite quote on her Facebook page.
Dec 24, 2007
Dec 23, 2007
Just came across this gem of an article from The Times back in October, on the issue of Parole in Connecticut, as it relates to the Petit crimes, as well as crime in general.
I have to say while I am in wholehearted agreement with the author of this piece, knowing the behind the scenes politics that drive things here in the state of Connecticut I do not hold out much hope for the idea of Parole abolishment anytime in the near future.
And this is where I become discouraged regarding our Judicial system: There is far too much favor swapping and hand greasing that the average citizen will never become privy to, and unfortunately, this often powers important decisions such as if Paroling our criminals has become a liability to people of the Connecticut.
Dec 20, 2007
I have come to respect the Petit's more and more with every passing day. Their spirit of giving and altruism is clearly inspiring, as their legacy of good works is carried forward by so many well intentioned people, from within and outside of the state as well as all over the country. Money from the memorial will be donated to several charities, including The MS foundation, a pet project of Haley and Michaela Petit, whose earthly lives were taken this summer in a home invasion that rocked our state to its very core.
Through events like the "Cheshire lights of hope" and other such memorials held in the family's honor, The people of Cheshire have set about the difficult task of healing, both themselves as well as the sole survivor of this tragedy, Dr William Petit, a beloved member of the community, and I daresay now, the country as well.
The link above provides more details of the coming event.
Dec 19, 2007
I find this comments section to be a consistent source of important Statewide political happenings, as well as intelligent discourse about them.... once you get past all of the bi-partisan bickering. I wish that we could put down our partisan swords here and fulfill the imperitive project on hand; fixing our states criminal judicial crisis; I personally am not concerned whether a Representative is Democrat or Republican, I do look at each members proffesional integrity and I resent an important member of The Judiciary committee using a (rather politically timely- released report about Connecticut's overall low crime rate, to bolster his propaganda that our Judicial system "works pretty well " and that "dramatic change is really not needed."
I'm assuming that Dr William Petit was also not happy with some of the spin tactics and dragging of feet of certain legislators. He has written an email to every member of the Judicial Committee regarding this very same issue, and the response was apparently swift, albeit somewhat generic. You can read a copy of his email as well as the official response from the mcdonald/lawlor camp below.
Bravo Dr Petit! We honor your dedication to this cause and I Am certain that the people of Connecticut appreciate your diligence regarding this important issue, in this, your time of healing.
Dec 16, 2007
If you're like a lot of people you're probably saying to yourself an acquaintance - a neighbor - is it really my place to interfere with the "troubles" of an acquaintance or a neighbor or even a casual friend.?
Simply put and emphatic yes. is the only answer here; seeing as how physical abuse is against the law whether against a child or an adult- it is all of our responsibility morally and legally.
While you might agree with the idea of mandatory reporting of a child being abused you might feel that its another story altogether when it is someones wife or girlfriend especially if the abuse has been ongoing and the abused person clearly hasn't left her abuser . Is it our place to interfere there when clearly this person doesn't want to leave?
Once you read the linked article you will better understand why victims of abuse do not "simply "leave" after the first episode of violence. or often even the second or third. There is a complex cycle that involves the emotional and psychological "breaking down" of the battered person, all part and parcel of why so many women do not flee their abusive partners early on.
A good idea is to give yourself a short course on the" battered woman syndrome" a term coined by Lenore Walker, a pioneer on the machinations of an abusive relationship; Ms Walker has interviewed, counseled studied and queried thousands of battered woman and abusive men, and in doing so has made landmark observations and discoveries about the nature of abusive relationships. She has written a multitude of essays, research papers and books, compiling all of the information that she has gathered and most of her books are very readable for the layperson. I recommend that every woman and teenage girl read about the cycle of violence http://ezinearticles.com/?Lenore-Walkers-Cycle-of-Violence&id=1366375
By Pulling back the curtain on the syndrome that many battered woman become caught up in, and the nearly absolute predictability of the MO the batterer, walker has changed the entire way that partner violence is understood and to a lesser extent, handled within our criminal justice system.
I once read a very apt quote by Voltaire that said "Evil exists, when good men do nothing." As dramatic as it sounds, this is really saying that apathy and complacency regarding other peoples suffering is as bad as causing the suffering. You ALONE can effect a change by educating yourself about the nature of abuse and making the following pledge;
'If I suspect that someone I know is being abused or is in danger of being abused, I will not ignore the situation due to reluctance or fear of getting "involved". I will report the abuse or the potential for abuse to the appropriate authorities and will thus avail myself of my local agencies/authorities and educate myself and my (age appropriate) loved ones about the best methods for safe intervention on behalf of an abused or endangered person.
If you are ready to go a farther with your awareness and involvement regarding abuse, you can also take a personal oath to:
- Always offer non judgemental and compassionate ear to anyone you suspect or know is being abused - Do not ever assume that because the abused person doesnt leave or in the case of dating violence, continues to be involved with her abuser, that she must " be okay with the abuse" or assume that the abuse cant be that bad" This assumption by friends family coworkers and even neighbors has helped ensure that many an abused person continues to be abused, often leading to severe permanent injury and or death.
- When a woman is in the midst of a battered syndrome, on any level, we must understand that there has been a type of brainwashing that has occurred and as such this victim is not going to make sound judgements like a healthy person who has been physically assaulted or threatened. She often cannot be reasoned with and in many instances, will recant testimony she's given to police, the courts or even confidences she shared with a family member or friend.
It is a prototypical scenario to have an abused friend confide to you that she has had her life threatened by a mate or someone she's involved with, or even admitted directly about incident of violence, only later to tell that same friend who is now poised to contact authorities etc., ' oh no I was exaggerating or he was drunk or were in counseling now its better, or he cried and was so sorry...Or the abused person might simply cut off the friendship or contact if it is a family member, regretting that she shared what was happening, sometimes out of fear of reprisal from the abuser.
We Must Learn what to do in these situations - the key to saving lives is taking action
at the earliest possible juncture, and this means when a women who has been threatened, stalked or actually assaulted in any way- including a push a shove- anything and has shared it with you, or you are privy to it or even strongly suspect it!
If it is not possible or safe for you to speak directly with the abused person, you should then confirm that they are under the guidance and protection of a social service/ advocate and/or law enforcement professional who can ascertain how they can ensure the persons fiture safety
While it is no secret that most of our courts clearly need a complete overhaul regarding how they view and deal with predators and those that commit violent crimes, we as a people, on an individual and community level can help this happen by beginning to re-think the entire issue of abuse/violent crime. Start with educating ourselves on matters surrounding individuals that would predate upon us and our loved ones, particularly our most vulnerable women and children.
Violent criminals and predators are out there and they are not going away. Too often, our complacency and unwillingness to think about "unpleasant things" serve as a predator's accomplice.
From serial rapists and murderers, to terrorists of the domestic variety, more often than we realize, these dangerous people live among us. They are not the boogeymen of our childhood nightmares, in fact they often look like us, innocuous and unassuming in appearance, which aids and abets their predatory habits
(ie they are more likely to be trusted. )
A classic example of this is the dateline' television series"To catch a Predator" : Most of those would- be pedophiles caught on tape traveling long distances to meet with children whom they've set up meets with, hoping to seduce them via the internet, are consistently average looking men, usually middle Class to upper middle class people. And as surprising, many were married with children of their own, even the men who were setting up liaisons with underage boys. This show only proves what we have suspected for quite some time; predators are often slick, manipulative and deceptive-all traits that are hallmarks of the sociopath persona, -the worst and most dangerous of the personality disorders, and a common finding in both serial murderer and rapists, as well as Batterers, along with narcissitic personality disorders.
In order to reduce violent crime we first must become aware of what defines violent crime; This will require some self education about all violent crime, including partner and intimate violence, child abuse and other crimes against children, sex crimes, and what is at the core of so many of these--power and control
Lastly, we need to learn the classic Predators Mode of Operating yes there is a "classic predator" He shares a good deal of traits with the common batterer and once you understand what makes them tick, you are at a distinct advantage for recognizing them and avoiding their clutches.
From all of this we will build a zero tolerance for violence within our communities, which will eventually force the hand of our judicial systems. Violent crime is the most serious crime that exists, despite what our current sentencing practices would seem to dictate -Not robbing a bank, not prostitution, nor using or dealing drugs. Violent crime leaves those "lucky" enough to survive fraught with a lifetime of trauma, pain and often shame. Once we truly honor what the victim of violence experiences, it is a natural progression to demand justice for them, this is the very least we can do. Within this kind of shift in our thinking we will begin to re-shape our society's mores and soon enough we will see a decline in violent crime in this country.
As the message becomes that all violence, no matter the relationship between assailant and victim, strangers or spouses will result in a dogged prosecution , conviction and prison sentence, violent crime will become more and more a rarity and the entire landscape of this country will change.
Dec 15, 2007
Connecticut Representative Mike Lawlor (-D East haven) is quoted in the above article saying .. "We do not need dramatic change within Connecticut's' judicial system. "In fact, he goes on to say, it works pretty well" and he cautions against "hasty-- and costly reforms. "
This is the Co-Chair of Connecticut's Judiciary Committee folks! Charged with one of the most important jobs given any Representative of this state:In effect, keeping it's citizens safe from crime, particularly violent crime such as befell the Petit family of Cheshire this past July.
This brutal set of crimes, we have come to discover, was a direct result of Connecticut's long-inefficient judicial system, among which the Parole board, is but one culprit. The facts are thatThe two career criminals that committed the assaults and murders of Jennifer, Haley and Michaela Rose Petit should have;
a) Not been given the many plea deals and accompanying light sentences that they were given for their multitude of felonious crimes committed against the people of Connecticut.
b) never been given early release parole, particularly after the more dangerous of the two offenders (komsarjevsky) had served little more than one third of his original sentence, and the other ( hayes) had served approximately one half-- the latter with multiple violations and write-ups both in prison and halfway house.
And c) once they were so recklessly paroled, the tracking device on Mr Komisarjevsky warranted the more sophisticated gps tracking system by the state, and remianed on his person for an extended time period. His history dictated a life long pattern of thrill seeking night time home invasions, with disconcerting stalking behaviors of his victims, prior to breaking in to thier homes.
The gps device could have served as a clear deterrent to resuming these very dangerous crimes. The day after his plain tracking bracelet WAS removed by the state, Mr Komisarjevsky immediately resumed break ins,this time with Mr hayes in tow, escalating to assault, sexual assault grand larceny and multiple murder.
Nnne of this even begins to address the fact that the Connecticut Parole board had not been in possession of, nor asked for the "prerequisite " sentencing transcripts of either criminals recent sentencing hearings, before making the critical decision to parole these two chronic offenders.
And parole was granted none the less with the offenders in absentia- This reffered to as administrative Parole, is the preffered method of Parole decision in Connecticut. "board decides which prisoners they will release back into our communities albeit rather randomly as it is without benifit of the actual criminal in front of them, and very little of his criminal history for that matter!This lack of essential information sharing,we are now told, has been going on for years purportedly due to unresolved intra-departmental disagreements regarding who is to pick up the copying costs of said records!
Those in the know claim this "oversight" to be classic of many of our Connecticut court's daily Mode of operandi; indifference, laziness and arrogant recklessness.
And while this grave en-masse dereliction of duty doesn't surprise me, a former victim of violent crime and witness to such protocol within our courts, it has surprised and infuriated many voting residents who had wrongly assumed our Judicial system was proficient, if not vigilant, in protecting the public from career criminals like Mr hayes and komisarjevsky.
Mr Lawlors irresponsible words, and moreover, the sentiment that they clearly contain, are decidedly a bad omen for the people of this state. We must let Governor Rell and our legislators know-in no uncertain terms, that this "see no evil, hear no evil" protect the status quo, is no longer acceptable.
How is the already-challenging task of state wide judicial reform to take place when those deigned to oversee this reform are preemptively invalidating the need for such? Simply put, It cant and it wont.
Governor Rell was already in the unenviable position of convincing her Connecticut citizens that her tough words and her special task forces are not merely political analgesic for the masses,thrown together in attempt to assuage the growing fervor over our states recently exposed judicial inefficiencies,
Mr Lawlors words and indeed his posture regarding this crucial issue, are making it difficult to trust that our states commitment to this cause is genuine and complete.
Get out your keyboards your pens and pick up your phones.This issue is a matter of life and death.
Dec 11, 2007
This particular article is about the Judiciary hearings, but there is a constant stream of good intel, not only in the posts but also within the comments sections-(with the exception of an occasional message-board -crazy that is..) Crime Hearings Roundup
Dec 6, 2007
Dec 5, 2007
A great find! The full transcripts of the testimony of day one of the judicial hearings in hartford- and they are seperated by speaker!
This allows you to simply click on whatever organization or individual that you are most interested in hearing and read away. I do suggest that you read as many speakers transcripts as possible in order to get the most accurate picture of where everyone stands.
And remember; Letters and emails can be sent accordingly, to those folks who appear to be a weak link in the pursuit of genuine judicial reform.
As you will see, there are some very diverse opinions (along with underlying agendas) regarding what approach should or should not be taken in Connecticuts pursuit of Judical reform.
I particularly liked the families of homicide victims speaker made a lot of good sense, as I expected.
I am presently working on a "Victims Manifesto" that I would like to submit to this commitee that is entrusted with overseeing the states judicial Reformation.
I will be posting it here as well...
Dec 4, 2007
I warn you, the general consensus within this article is not encouraging, especially if one reads between the lines. When will some of these people, who have been entrusted to review our current judicial crisis, realize that the priority must be public safety- and not money?
The biggest concern with too many legislators and judiciary committee members within these hearings seem to be prison overcrowding and avoiding the need to build even one more prison within the state.
It is this type of thinking that has resulted in our states ineffectual and willy nilly sentencing practices early release Parole adds insult to injury as our Parole board regularly paroled inmates without the inmate present nor his criminal records in tow!
We are a relatively wealthy state and the right to personal safety is just that - -a right, not a privilege.Yet our legislature continues to follow its own agenda and ignore common sense putting its citizens in danger with a 97 percent plea deal resolution for all crime including violent assault sexual assault child abduction and sexual assault and even murder.
I also cannot be emphatic enough that the prospect of a three strikes law is not THE sole ANSWER to our states judicial woes. We have a persistent offender law on the books in Connecticut and it is rarely if ever used. Our prosecutors are deciding what if any prison time a defendant will receive.
Connecticut residents need to understand what it means in actual crimes committed to wind up with just one felony conviction. If they did, they would surely realize that we don't want a cookie-cutter three strikes law, translates into three felony convictions finally equals a serious term incarcerated.
Mostly unknown to the general public, the state of Connecticut already has a modified version of the California three strikes bill. In effect, it gives the prosecutor the discretionary privilege to sentence a three time CONVICTED felony offender with a life term. Be aware however that this is a prosecutorial option that is rarely, if ever used in our courts, rendering it a sentencing law in name only.
And herein lies another big part of the problem; Too many judges in Connecticut courts have somehow become relegated to little more than officiaries, simply giving a perfunctory nod to a predetermined DEAL struck between the prosecutor and the criminals defense attorney, prior to each hearing.
Rarely if ever, do most judges refuse a deal that the prosecutor has made with defendant's lawyer. ("... The State has offered....") And even less often will a judge go completely against the suggestion of the prosecutor for the disposition of that case.
In many cases, the presiding judge does not even read the complete file of a violent offender that is before him for said violent offense. It is the prosecutors who are controlling the dispensation of justice in most of our courts, all too often their motives will lie with conviction rates (no matter how reduced the charge) and docket clearing, not to mention factors such as cronyism within the local legal community, something I will not even begin to address within this post.
The sad reality is this- What takes place in many Connecticut courts on a day to day basis is a farce that in no way resembles the justice that we as law abiding, tax paying citizens expect. Unfortunately most people do not become aware of how poorly our court systems run, until they or someone they love becomes a victim of crime.
With this new found awareness, we cannot continue to stand idly by as serious criminals walk free, day in and day out for violent offenses and even crimes against children.
Approximately 2 percent of all violent crime offenses in our state ever go to trial. The rest are systematically nolled, dismissed outright, plead down, or given something called "Accelerated Rehabilitation" Within the year 1999-2000, I was informed by my court appointed victims advocate that she was aware of only 2 cases that went to trial within the entire domestic violence docket within that court. The others, like my case (which began with 2 violent felonies and 2 class A misdemeanors- was plead down to three two misdemeanors) are given reduced charges and dropped charges within a "plea deal " where the victim has no real say over the end result of his/her case, although her/his broken body and psyche are in essence the very embodiment of that crime.
Even worse than this was the fact that I was told repeatedly-by victims advocates, local police and probation personnel , that my case was one of the better outcomes..
Sure enough, after some research and conducting my own personal court -watch -of -sorts, I discovered that they were indeed correct; Many many violent crime cases and the charges within them, are dropped outright, nolled or given A.R-as so called "first time offenders" by the prosecutor. This can happen for a variety of reasons; ( bad ones all...) If the criminal in question has lawyered up with an attorney whose basically wearing down the prosecutor (and the court) by refusing to plea thereby forcing a trial in effect, And from where I stood as a victim, the prosecutors seemed to dread the prospect of trial- and the accompanying work load- and avoid it at all costs.
This gives a halfway savvy attorney, the ability to in effect blackmail that prosecutor (especially one that is indifferent or unmotivated ) Dozens of continuances (extension of dates for the defendants next hearings that can serve as little more than procrastination for the defense,and sometimes even the state) clog up the court and sooner or later everyone becomes eager to get rid of the case.
No matter how heinous it seemed (and was) at the outset: "the shine comes off the apple" This is an actual quote from an attorney in the greater Bridgeport area, in reference to the back sliding of prosecutorial zeal for my case from the severe assault kidnapp to the 10 month later disposition of it.
And for the record, despite inflicting brain stem damage and severe inner ear damage on me, the man that committed these crimes received zero prison time (a "suspended 3 yr sentence"with probation)
He was not even made to plead guilty to one of the two felonies that the police so carefully charged him with in their warrant. Instead he was offered a plea deal by the state which allowed to plead down to drastically reduced charges that became mere misdemeanors. After all, they told me ... he is a "first time" offender. ( this despite an AR on his record that could not be OPENED/NOR used in court, as well as a conviction for check forgery-( non violent/ "doesn't count" according to prosecutor.)
This same man also had committed another serious offense at the age of 17, and that record was also sealed therefore inadmissible in sentencing, due to juvenile status. The point is that this was decidedly not a "first time offender" he was well known by the local police in town, and yet our lax justice system designated him this, at the time that he very nearly took my life in March of 2000.
A.R. is a program that was created for the "first time" offender. Now this may be technically a first time offender, for remember, as I have shown, he/she could have been arrested various times. But if they were "minor charges" (including assault or robbery) the defendant could have easily had those first charges dismissed or nolled, and therefore no official record exists. This is not a fluke, it is nearly commonplace in many courts, especially the busiest ones with high criminal traffic such as Bridgeport, which serves parts of Fairfield county.
And When a charge does finally stick they can be given a third, or even fourth, "gift" by the state with the offer of ACCELERATED REHABILITATION. The consequence for the convicted of this amounts to a sealed record for one year, and if the criminal in question does not commit another crime within that time period, the record is sealed permanently and in effect nolled. This mean the charges may not ever be used again in the court to their detriment if and when they re-offend.
Are we getting the picture here folks...?
Let's take an example of a criminal who's actually committed three crimes still has not a criminal record to their name-meaning nothing officially exists in their name in the event that they now commit a serious felony. For the sake of argument lets say assault in the 2nd degree again-which remember is a serious injury assault and requires medical documentation for the police to use this charge. Possibly this criminal might, I emphasize might, wind up, with a lowered charge from the crime they actually committed, ie; an assault in the 2nd degree would be nearly automatically be dropped in the court's plea bargain auto pilot system. And voila! The possible worst case scenario for that person, (who committed serious bodily harm to another) is that they will wind up now with an assault in the THIRD on their criminal record!
By the way this charge is a misdemeanor and although technically the prosecutor could give jail time for this charge- they simply don't. If there is not a felony conviction, there is rarely ever prison involved. More than likely, this by now multiple violent offender will be given an anger management or counseling order from the court for a maximum of 6 months. Again there is a 12 month program but it is almost never mandated by the court.
If the prosecutor is tough or he is not friendly with the defense attorney, he might give community service or probation for a year or so. This equates to meeting with a probation officer once a month to check in for 15 minutes or so.
Understand that the criminal in this example of mine has in fact seriously harmed another person two to three times, committed a serious felonious assault the last time- ( remember; this charge generally requires medical documentation illustrating serious injury, such as the head injury that Dr Petit suffered at the hands of komisarjevsky and Hayes, or my TBI w/brain stem damage and severe cochlear inner ear
In an insult to public safety this criminal is now running around Connecticut with a misdemeanor record, which on paper appears at most that they slapped or pushed a person, when in reality they may have nearly killed a person!
And yet, neither you, nor I, nor the police in the town that he next commits a crime in, would ever know this by the official criminal record that they have accrued thus far.
With all of this in mind please note what it actually would take for this same criminal to get an actual felony conviction on their record. They will have to again harm another person quite severely to get charges with a felony assault, and once again, it will undoubtedly become a plea bargained lowered charge of misdemeanor assault. Even if by a fluke that counters the norm, they get a tough prosecutor or judge who says, " oh no, you will plead to this felony this time buddy..." this criminal will still only get this one felony on their record now.
The three strikes proponents suggest that this person gets two more shots at really hurting someone before he receives any serious prison time.
I have not yet addressed the issue of criminals committing multiple felonies within one set of crimes
What is rote practice here, I was told by the prosecutors handling my case, is that out of the two serious felonies my assailant committed against me, they would HAVE TO DROP ONE, as well as both of the additional two class one misdemeanors in a "deal" if we expected him to plead guilty to just one single felony! This was but one of many unofficial unspoken pre-trial/ plea deal rules of engagement between the state and the attorneys. And by playing ball" like this daily they continue to infuse money into this revolving door court system where justice doesn't live anymore.
Do we really want this clearly dangerous person to get two more such "freebies" in effect allowing a pass on two felonious assaults before the court now considers serious prison time?Who would volunteer to be this criminals number one and number two victim ?
As I have just illustrated, the reality is that there would be a handful of victims before this criminal is even given his/her " first strike"! Is this the value that we give our lives and our physical safety in the state of Connecticut?
Of course I recognize that this issue transcends a problem simply within our state. There has been widespread indifference, apathy and denial on a national level that has contributed to this current state of affairs. However, certain states are renown for being progressive and vigilant in their commitment against violent crime, including domestic violence, (one of the leading causes of homicide for women) But sadly and unfortunately, Connecticut has not been one of them.
I propose that we use the tragedy of the Petit family murders as a catalyst for the reformation of a new strong, intelligent judicial system for our State. I cannot think of a better way to honor this fallen family than to create a system that might someday become a blueprint for judicial reform, perhaps even emulated by other States.
It speaks of us as a government and a people, that we learn from tragedies caused by our prior mistakes and indifference. To me, it is inconceivable that we do not.
. Simply put, our courts need an overhaul, and this must be done with an intelligent multi- level approach. It will need to involve many changes, including the re-training and re education of prosecutors advocates lawyers and judges alike regarding the psychology of crime and patterns of criminal behavior. Much of this has been long documented and utilized by the country's intelligence community. And many states are using professional criminologists more and more.
If 9/10ths of our "justice" is taking place behind closed doors in plea deal offers rather than in a courtroom trial setting, then this is where the training and education must be.
Most essential would be knowledge re the kinds of pre-cursor crimes that often lead up to more serious violent and or sexual crime from certain types of criminals. Tragically This kind of education would have served the Connecticut Parole board well, in the handling of Joshua komisarjevsky( co murderer of the Petit women.) It also would have helped the judge at his sentencing hearing.
From reading the sentencing transcripts, one can see that the prosecutor in that case was very aware of the dangerous signposts within komisarjevskys criminal patterns at the time of his arrest and sentencing.It would seem that he was quite responsible and tenacious in his suggestions to the court-judge-regarding his opinions on the danger that he felt komisarjevsky posed to the public. And although I feel strongly considering the type and the multitude of robberies he committed , komisarjevsky should have gotten a longer sentence
In re-creating our justice system we must be develop a built in roadblock to previously tried and true methods used by career criminals and their paid defense attorneys, to manipulate the system to the point where the entire judicial process is held hostage in effect by advantageous manipulative wiles of criminal defense attorneys.
The Petit family murders has brought this huge issue into the light for many citizens of Connecticut. So many people relate to the Petits as a family and as like minded individuals trying to live their lives with responsibility to their neighbors, communities and families.
These were good people, who were in essence slaughtered in their own home while going about their peaceful honest lives.
This was a crime against women and children and humanity. I believe that there was a clear hatred and disdain for what was perceived as affluence or privilege. And The sad and ironic reality was that the Petit's were in fact kind conscientious, generous counter-snobs that cared very much for those on the furthest fringes of society.
This family was targeted in a place where they believed themselves to be safe-a supermarket shopping for their family dinner. We all recognize that this could have been any of us, spotted, stalked and followed home, with evil intent to harm and extort whatever could be taken from us- then to brutally and cruelly get rid of us.
We cannot bring back the Petit girls and their mom, Jennifer, but we most certainly can ensure that something like this is as least less likely to happen in our State ever again.
The men that assaulted and murdered this family had been convicted of almost forty crimes between the two of them. Knowing what you now know about what it actually takes for someone to be convicted of just one felony,- how many free passes our state routinely gives criminals prior to finally winding up with a felony charge then you see how bad off a criminal like komisarjevsky was to have accrued 26 felonious convictions!
We've all read what their sentences were supposed to have been, and yet Komisarjevsky served in fact only a third of the judges ordered sentence. If he or Steven Hayes ,had served their full sentence, sentences which were extremely lenient to begin with, the Petit family murders would not have occurred. Dr Petit and family would be whole and with us. And this crime is not an anomaly as our legislators would have us believe. Its a wonder it didnt happen sooner considering the Parole board practices combined with programs like the early release which Mike Lawlor advocated for. .
PLEASE GET INVOLVED WITH THIS CRUCIAL ISSUE;
Talk about it, bring IT into your lives and the public forum. Deluge your local legislators/ Representatives with letters and/or petitions expressing your concern and the DEMAND For multi-level judicial reform in THE state of Connecticut.
Use your voting power come election time. From our local legislators to our Governor, we must be willing to cross political lines when VOTING as crime and safety are top issues.Check your town or city's Reps position on all bills being voted upon. This can be found on the CGA website look under rollcall for any bill to do with crime. This will show you how every member of the house and the senate voted on each law.
New Haven Independent: Walker Questions Post-Petit Proposals
Nov 28, 2007
Although no one agreed on any one thing- with attitudes pretty much split by party lines,
I am at least heartened by the degree of public and political fervor surrounding these
Unfortunately, myself others familiar with the actual day to day machinations of our Connecticut courts, have long known that many of them were in desperate shape. The fate that befell the lovely Petit family was almost bound to happen to someone sooner than later, given the number of dangerous criminals treated with barely a slap on the wrist, for crimes that are effectively, precursors to murder.
The Petit tragedy has served as what I hope will be, the final watershed for an issue that many of us have been desperately trying to bring to the state's legislative forum for quite some time. This crime is simply so glaring, due to the kind and giving nature of the victims and the conversely merciless brutality visited upon them, that it took this to serve as the fait de compli in reforming our states long standing judicial woes.
Within the accompanying article is a letter written by Dr Petit that pretty much expresses this same sentiment.
To paraphrase; "...Since the murder of my family is absolute and cannot be undone, please, please let this be the last lives lost due to Connecticut's inadequate criminal justice system..."
Nov 27, 2007
For some reason, (could it possibly be political...) this paper has not been released to the mainstream media or even available in it's entirety, I am diligently working on finding a source as I write this.
It sounds like a dead-on, honest appraisal from within our Connecticut court system, including elaboration regarding the infinite number of holes in the that system. From sentencing procedures like the over- plea bargaining of violent crimes, paroling dangerous repeat offenders, lack of communication between key departments,( IE criminal records depts and the Parole board) and much much more.
As it stands, only excerpts of the opinion piece are available through a few news sources, including the WTNH link in the title header of this post. This WTNH source offers as much as any other source, including a similar piece in Newsday from a few days ago.
The real question is..... why it wasn't published and why is the media only receiving tidbits of its content? I am willing to bet that the reason this paper has not fully seen the light of day is very much political, as it certainly smells to me like the kind of embarrassing inside information regarding the ineptitude of our courts and parole systems, that many people do not want exposed.
Reading only the portions available, one finds it reveals the kind of information that various government agencies would not want to be made public, especially in light of the Cheshire killings- the obvious screw ups involved in the irresponsible paroled release of the two men that brutalized and murdered Jennifer Petit and her two daughters,
With what can be gleaned from the portion that has been made made public, I am left to wonder what eye opening contents are in the remainder, and I am greatly disturbed by the mystery, the lack of availability and seeming media freeze. Where are those dogged journalists from the Courant,shouting about free information act when you need them?
In any case, I ask all my readers to click over to the WTNH link and read their excerpt, if you have not already done so. I am sure that you'll be quite surprised by the admission from a felon regarding the futility of the "short lease" of the state's GPS system, that is when they bother to use it. You'll recall that Joshua Komisarjevsky had his ankle bracelet removed one day prior to breaking back into houses with his friend from the prison halfway house Steven Hayes.
I am not arguing the point that komisarjevsky should have had the tracking anklet on for longer, but moreover that he shouldn't have been paroled after less than half of the judges intended sentence, but if he was let out early for any reason, that tracker should have stayed on him for the longest possible duration in order to protect the public from a man who had amassed 28 felony break-ins by the age of 26. Almost every single break-in was in fact a home invasion as he admittedly preferred to break into houses where the owners were home-usually sleeping! This man and his type of crimes were a time bomb waiting to happen, and the judge recognized it as did the prosecutor presiding over his last bunch of crimes.
Somehow the parole board was only in possession of one single arrest report, whilst making their decision to grant this man early release Parole. This is not an anomaly, it turns out to be a Connecticut Parole norm; a long standing dispute between various states attorney's offices and the Parole board regarding who would absorb copying costs of the criminal's complete files, ( I imagine also an issue who would do said copying as it is very time consuming)
Apparently this entire issue was compounded by the fact that the current system sent some of the paperwork on these criminal's court cases ultimately to Meriden, where they are filed hard copy amongst hundreds of thousands of other criminal's cases! Thus, for the parole board to get a complete picture of the inmate those records would need to be pulled from Meriden.
All of this resulted in a administrative stand-off of sorts, which all culminated into a complacency which resulted in the sexual assaults and brutal murders of three innocent human beings.
Crimes such as the ones that Komisarjevsky was committing his whole life called for very lengthy incarceration after just one offense. The first time he was in someones house while they lay sleeping as he listened to their breath often only feet away from the unsuspecting homeowner, he should have been put in prison for a lengthy sentence. Treating first offenses like this lightly allowing pleas to lesser charges, will only give these predators more bites at the apple with regard to endangering the safety of the public.
Komisarjevsky went to a beer party to celebrate having his ankle bracelet removed and shortly thereafter escalated his criminal behaviour to it's furthest form - pure evil. But its not like Connecticut justice system didn't see it coming. This was not a first time offender, nor second nor third, And when I hear the mumbles of " well he never did anything violent before how were we to know...?" I say have some commonsense. Criminals escalate their crimes. and certain markers show us who is most likely to become a predator and this guy had all the earmarks -- but no one was paying any attention. We had him, we caught him dead to rites numerous times, evidence, witnesses confessional statements!
We need first and foremost to focus upon public safety. While justice for the Petits is demanded and essential, justice is discussed here as an ancillary subject. Sadly the call for justice many times comes only after the legal system fails in protecting those they are sworn to, not to mention the very same people whose tax dollars fund this system. Changes made at the top- the courts, namely the way plea deals are made as well as sentencing, the prisons (read here as more space for violent offenders), and most importantly the parole boards- inevitably will reduce the threat to our society.
From what I have read, this opinion piece does cite some very important facts that many Connecticut citizens are simply not aware of, including a discussion about the nature of the crime of burglary, and it's connection to violent crimes such as sexual assaults, kidnapping and murder.
As a former victim of violent crime I have availed myself to as much information as possible on the education and knowledge of what makes criminals tick. Hence, this burglary and violent crime connection is something that I have long been aware of. In fact when I read that Joshua komisarjevsky had robbed houses prior to the Petit break-in and had been found to have stolen personal articles from women in the households-including lingerie and framed photos of some women, I was not surprised-- Many sexual predators start out as a peeping toms, and/or even a "simple flasher" (although now we know that that term is a misnomer, as it is anything but simple in reality) and in time they will move up the offense ladder to robbery, break-ins to rape and murder.
It is facts like these, about the psychology of predators, that are essential when dealing with sentencing and law structure. I know that this kind of information has a crucial place in our courts, as well as within our mainstream population. Remember that the entire motive for the Petit crimes was sexual assault-robbery was incidental or secondary and the murders were an attempt to cover their crimes. Educating people about the ways of the predator will only serve to protect us, as a people, from them. Sociopaths are simply the worst of the predators, but they are just one brand.
It may seem odd, but it was through the amassing of this kind of knowledge, that empowered me to make the transition from victim to survivor, and it is this same awareness that will save many women-and men- from becoming victims themselves. It is only part of the overall solution to our State's court crisis, but it is an essential part.
Nov 19, 2007
We have all seen him on the news and on the Internet in clips of his memorial services and candlelight vigils for his slain family. He has carried himself with such courage and grace while so many have been praying for him to find the strength to heal from this enormous loss.
His memorials to his family have been remarkable not only in the strength it took to stand up and speak so soon after his own near death experience within that awful crime, but also through his anecdotes and relating his personal memories. By sharing these with us, he's managed to restore his daughters and wife to who they were and what they were about- in life before their tragic ends, rather than allowing them to be remembered only as victims.
In this interview he spoke exclusively with Anne Nyberg of News Channel 8, one of Connecticut's local news channels. I was glad to see that he'd awarded her this opportunity to sit with him as I've noted that Anne has taken a personal interest in the Petit crime, especially the selfless way that Dr. Petit has conducted himself since the murders of his family.
In that vein Dr. Petit has set up various charitable foundations under his daughters names, in order to best use the donations that have been coming in from people all over the country. Donations given by those each wishing to do something to honor the Petit women's lives.
Two days ago Dr. Petit awarded the first ever "Haley and Michaela Petit M.S award" to a young boy in the area who alone has been caring for his mother afflicted with MS. This youth oriented charity is particularly special for Dr. Petit in that his wife Jen suffered from MS the last 8 yrs of her life. His daughter Haley manged to raise over $50,000 in a charity that she called Haley's Hope at just 11 years of age. Michaela was to take over and form her own foundation, to be called Michaela's Miracle. I was deeply moved when I learned of this. The world needs to know and never forget how amazingly incredible these two young women were. It is obvious that this entire family imparted the spirit of giving to their children and community at large.
The Haley/Michaela MS foundation is but one of 6 or so charities that are evolving from the donations that Dr. Petit continues to receive from people wanting to continue the Petit's legacy of giving.
It wasn't a long interview but Dr. Petit obviously preferred to concentrate on the good that is coming about as a result of the crimes, rather than, as he put it, "....the horrific nature of the crimes..." which he admitted is often just too overwhelming for him. Although he did a good job of holding it together during the interview, one couldn't help but see and feel the pain quite palpable looming just under the surface of this man. He admitted that many mornings he wakes up and thinks, ".... what do I do now...... with my life?"
When I think about all of the collective pain that has been caused by this set of crimes, and the two evil reprobates that committed them, I am overwhelmed-and yes, very angry- that there were just too many levels in the justice system where the chain of events leading to this crime could have been broken but weren't.
I find I put myself his shoes most every day and more often than I'd like I think about what his girls and his wife went through those last hours. I know it doesn't help anyone but at the same time I don't think the answer is to put our heads in the sand altogether and refuse to ponder at all what those victims experienced during the long hours of their assaults and how they died . For how these women and this child suffered both before and while they were ultimately killed is the very embodiment of this crime. Yes it is painful but we must think about it and take that feeling of anguish and anger to those in our state responsible for criminal justice and sentencing reform. We must not let this ever happen again-whatever it takes.
There is a link below that will take you to the Petit family foundations and the many charities for those who would like to know more OR donate. Give where you can and get involved in the restoration of Connecticut's criminal justice system. Empathy is healing and empowering when experienced by people whether they be together in a group or alone apart. But empathy on it's own in this case is not enough. As Dr. Petit said in one of his memorials that we all should live with a faith that embodies action. Even in the smallest of ways, you can help.
ABC News: Foundations to Honor the Petit Family
Nov 17, 2007
Today would have been Michaela Petit's 12th birthday.
A local florist in Plainville held a special tribute in Michaela's memory, a fundraiser donating all proceeds from special Rose bouquet sales to a local charity set up in the family's name. http://www.petitfamilyfoundation.org/
Michaela's middle name was Rose and her dad, Dr. William Petit affectionately nicknamed her k.k Rosebud. It was this special nickname that spurred on the idea of the floral bouquet fundraiser, according to the owner of The Pink Door in Plainville.
Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Michaela's mom, was diagnosed with MS 8 years ago, leading Haley Petit, Michaela's older sister, to begin a fundraising charity for MS called Haley's hope. The charity raised over 30 thousand dollars for Multiple Sclerosis in six short years!
With Haley attending Dartmouth college in the fall, she handed the charitable legacy to her younger sister Michaela, who was reportedly re-naming the charity "Michaela's Miracle".
Tragically Michaela, Haley and Mrs Petit were all killed in a home invasion turned triple homicide in late July of this year.
A multitude of charities have sprung from the tragedy, each benefiting a variety of good causes. As the Petit family was well known locally for their extraordinary caring and giving natures, it is only fitting that we all continue to carry on many good works in their memory.
May you rest in eternal peace Michaela.
I came upon an article today in the Hartford Courant about a phone interview with the Hawke family and how they are holding up since the tragedy. Both Reverend Hawke and Mrs Hawke are the parents of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and grandparents to Michaela and Hayley, all three of whom were murdered this summer in a brutal home invasion that ended in the snuffing out of three beautiful and vibrant lives.
The crimes are now what appears to have been sexually motivated. They began with the sighting and stalking of Mrs Petit -Hawke and her daughter Michaela, while they were out shopping at a local Stop And Shop Supermarket. The attractive mother-daughter pair were apparently followed home and their house staked out by two lifetime career criminals, joshua komisarjevksy and steven hayes, The men apparently HAD taken an interest in the Petits when they first saw them in the store itself.
Although Michaela was only 11 YEARS OLD she'd reportedly just had a recent growth spurt which belied her actual young age, and joshua komisarjevsky had a history of attraction to very young girls, the mother of his five year old daughter being only 15 when he began seeing her, while he was 21 at the time. His most recent girlfriend was also 15 when they met- this time when komisarjevsky was 26 making the age difference twice as notable. Obviously the man had severely dysfunctional issues surrounding women and like a pedophile was drawn to very young pubescent or adolescent girls. As is true with most pedophiles, they were no threat to him and he could easily control the relationship as well as the girl with such overt age disparities-if the word "relationship" even applies here.
The two men spent the next several hours plotting a home invasion that would include multiple rapes,, an assault on Dr Petit, arson of the Petit's home, and a brutal and senseless triple murder committed in an attempt to cover up DNA evidence, as well as eliminating all the witnesses to their 6 1/2 hour brutal crime spree.
No matter how many times I read about this I cannot stop imagining these three women; what they were feeling and thinking throughout the ordeal of that long night into the fateful morning. I cannot get it out of my head three months later, and from what I read in this article about the Hawke family, they too cannot get it out of their heads either.
This is why I am so committed to criminal justice reform in this state. Consider how many lives have been so deeply affected by this crime alone. We the people of Connecticut mourn right alongside the Hawkes, right alongside the Petit family, and right alongside every single person that has been graced by the Friendship of these fine people. And We mourn especially for those who will never know them.
The Hawke family, though deeply religious, would still seem tormented by thoughts of "...if only..." or, "...why couldn't this have happened... at the bank... or... when the police arrived " etc... For them it isn't simply a matter of losing one's family, WHICH IS DIFFICULT ENOUGH. It is in the senseless manner in which their lives ended and the maddening series of events that comprised the last 15 minutes of their lives. This this is why so many people just cannot seem to wrap their heads or hearts, around this crime.
The police were involved before the family was murdered, being notified, thanks to Mrs Petit's courage and quick thinking. Unfortunately due to the specific language used by Mrs Petit, undoubtedly given to her by steven hayes, it was conveyed that there was a hostage situation and that specific threats were given. This led the police being notified with the implicit promise of no harm as long as the police were not notified. So basically the Cheshire police were in a very difficult position, they made a judgement based on the info they had at that time and it perhaps cost two possibly three lives lost.
I find that these are the details of the case that have all of us gnashing our teeth and pulling out our own hair, if only on the inside. None of us can help but think about a variety of slightly different scenarios that would have made everything end in a manner that left the three Petit women alive. Yet the roots of this crime were planted and fertilized in our court system-( this includes our Parole board and procedure) and its there that we must look to ensure that nothing like this shall ever happen again in this State.
A Hard Thing To Put Out Of Their Minds -- Courant.com
Nov 14, 2007
An AP article in today's Stamford Advocate regarding the long term effects of pulling parole in the state, with ominous references to the last time Connecticut abolished parole in 1981. However what is not pointed out clearly enough is the fact that when the state got rid of parole at that time, they put in its place a totally impractical and overly complicated system of prisoner earned credits for shortened sentences. In essence it ended up trading one problem for another. Clearly as we have the hindsight advantage of that system's long term results-obscenely shortened sentences for violent offenders. This alternative is not a desirable option this time around. Been there done that, in other words.
Let us learn from our mistakes folks. We need to be extremely careful about what kind of system we would put in the place of the current parole system. As a former victim of crime and our of Connecticut court system, I am also inclined to think that parole is but one of many areas that needs to be revamped within this system.
And as much as a "TASK FORCE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM" sounds great, I am more than a bit wary of just who the governor has put together to work on this high profile issue that came to a head over the Petit family crimes in Cheshire. I am currently doing some research into the members that comprise this group and I will be following its proceedings in the months to come as the details are made public. History shows that very little "Reform" actually takes place by the very people who are part of an already corrupt or dysfunctional system. If any members have a vested interest in the Connecticut court's present day status quo survival and/or have a personal interest in covering up the actual degree of dysfunction and ineptitude that has been allowed to exist for so long, true progress cannot happen. In this type of climate, it takes only a few members with polluted agendas can render such a committee impotent.
I would hate to see the opportunity that we have before us to truly effect some much needed clean up of our courts, squandered by the political back-rubbing that so often hinder true reform of any kind. This is simply too important of an issue to the people of this state for us to allow politics as usual. Our physical safety, the quality of our lives and indeed our very lives are at stake. And if nothing else let us use the horrible tragedy of the Petit family murders as a clear turning point, leading us to embark on a tighter, stricter and more intelligent criminal justice system in the state of Connecticut.
More to come Re;
The Governors TASK FORCE on Criminal Justice Reform, who's in it and
is it legit or just a prop designed to appease the citizens of Connecticut?
and What we as citizens can do to help ensure that it not become the latter.
Also, What to expect in the upcoming hearings for joshua komisarjevsky and steven hayes...
Why did Judge Damiani relent to the defense team's unusual request for a gag order on The Petit case?
The Advocate - Connecticut considers major overhaul in wake of Cheshire killings
Nov 12, 2007
I find this to be a a very sound and valid question and one that I have personally wrestled with a great deal when terrible things like this happen to such good people.
A beautiful answer came from a 'jm Kelley" and it truly moved me. It was the first time that someone made such good sense to me in addressing the whole notion of evil and God- IE his apparent lack of intervention on behalf of the innocents that fall prey to some of mans worst kind of cruelty.
In these times it may lend much needed solace to many of us who have been so deeply affected by the tragedies, such as befell the Petit family. Have a read...
QUOTED FROM "jmKelley"
But you ask, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Philosophers and theologians have written volumes on this question for millennial. Anything I can say will sound trite. It begins with the fact that we are the only animal with a conscience and free will -- the abilities to know right from wrong, and to significantly change our environment.
God created us to love, and love can only be fully expressed through free will, not through the automated instincts of lower animals. Our capacity to love through free will stems from the fact that we are made “in the image and likeness of God.” We are meant to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1), “sharers in His very divinity” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
God so loved the world that He gives us a conscience and free will, intending for us to choose love. The flip side of this is that some people reject conscience and choose evil. But God does not choose bad things, people do.
So where was God on the morning of July 23 when this innocent family was being tortured and slaughtered?
During those hours, He was crucified on a Cross, suffering with the innocent the darkest pains of the human condition. Christ was not crucified just to appease some angry god for a long list of sins. Christ entered with us into our own deepest sufferings and pathologies, to demonstrate His full presence with us, and to then achieve victory over death, suffering, and evil. Christ doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk with us, right into hell itself, and then out of hell.
Where is God now in the wake of this horrific massacre?
God is in all the healing love surrounding the Petit family. He is working through all the friends, neighbors, and healers who are helping the family and others to recover. God is working through parents who are becoming extra vigilant, through our public safety officers who are redoubling their efforts to protect us, and through all who demand justice and legal reform in response to this.
Whether or not all these people believe in God, God is still working through them because our impulse to do good, to love, is implanted in us by God who is Love.
God is also working in mysterious ways that we can’t now comprehend. Joseph of Egypt said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, “Even though you meant harm to me, God used it for good, to achieve His present end, the survival of many people. Therefore, have no fear” (Gen 50: 15-21). God will always try to achieve some good, even from a bad situation.
God is the living Source of all Good and Love. He does not cause bad things. But He wants each of us to work with Him to achieve His ends of Good and Love in our world.[/QUOTE]
Nov 11, 2007
While perusing the net looking for information regarding the public defenders that are handling the defense in the Petit crimes, I came upon this article from a few month back.
There is some very importantt information regarding the lead attorney for Steven Hayes, thomas ulmann -the very same man responsible for the current gag order that has recently been imposed on the entire case, The order, in effect, disallows the police and/or attorneys from speaking with the media or anyone else regarding the facts of the Petit family assaults kidnappings and murders.
I saw attorney Ulmann in "action" at Hayes' probable cause hearing, and he is definitely going to be a tenacious lawyer in handling this guy's defense.
The strong anti-death penalty stance that Ulmann champions rather loudly, will obviously have a huge impact on this case. He is now and has always been, an avid- high profile anti-death penalty advocate known both within the local legal community and outside of it.
He has already begun taking morality jabs at his former courtroom nemesis, Michael Dearington, the lead prosecutor in the Petit case--hinting that if the prosecutor wasnt so hell bent on killing his client, that a guilty plea would be forthcoming and the state would be saved a lot of time and energy and money. The implication of course is see how expensive the death penalty is for the state of Connecticut-do you see how this bloodthirtsiness and vengefal mindset costs us all so dearly?' Of course its conveinently not poibnted out that in fact it is the crimes that were committed and the atrocious methods employed in these multiple murders that are what is costing the state-not the obtaining of justice and the appropriate accompanying penalty-which in this case the state the people and the prosecuctor feel is death- Mr ulmann.
Apparently, Ulmann is the only attorney to ever go up against Mr Dearington in a capital death penalty case, And according to the article, Ulmann "won' the last one; ie he "saved" his client, a man that killed an entire family including two small children, from the death penalty, and won him life without parole instead.
According to Ulmann's his main focus will be keeping his client from recieving the death penalty- and it already appears that he will try to make this case all about that issue rather than the brutal and senseless crimes that were committed by his client steven hayes!
Nov 6, 2007
Thanks to the over-zealous attorneys for Steven Hayes, Judge Damiani has actually granted a gag order on the case that will apply to both the State and Cheshire police depts, States
attorney's office and all defense attorneys involved with the case. They may not discuss the Petit case with any member of the Press or Media, presumably due to a recent article in the courant that according to ulmann "had to have originated from someone in the Cheshire police dept-and it is severely encroaching upon the defendent's right to a fair trial"
Look, I get the fact that you're a public defender Ulmann, head of the state's public defenders office if I'm correct and so presumably, you've got to take this case, but who the hell told you to do so with such ardor?! I'm certain if these guys had brutalized and viciously murdered your daughters, your wife, or your sisters, you would be considerably less concerned with their "rights" especially considering this has simply grandstanding for your favorite soapbox cause; anti death penalty.
This is yet another glaring manipulation of our justice system at the hands of bad men representing evil men. And all under the guise of their client's "right to a fair trial" Hence the word FAIR, has become fair game. What ever happened to professional integrity for attorneys? When are we going to stop tolerating this debasement of our justice system by murderers and their paid henchmen?! Since Hayes attorney, Mr Ulmann, likes to ponder out loud about the ironies in this situation (as it serves him) IE re his comment to the press regarding "the extensive security measures being taken to safeguard the life of Mr Hayes, this when the state is concurrently pursuing the death penalty against him and the real threat against him is in fact inside the prison walls...." yadda yadda ya....'
CONSIDER THIS Mr Ulmann....Who put him there? Who? He did--! One Steven Hayes! When he decided to target Mrs Petit and her 11 year old daughter for a night of kidnapping rape and robbery and then without hesitation, WITH NARY A HEARTBEATS HESITATION he committed a brutal triple murder simply to escape going to prison for rape and robbery.
Mr Ulmann has the audacity to be waggling his finger, at the prosecutor as well as the people of Connecticut, for the current 'predicament" that his MURDEROUS client has ' somehow found himself in.... This in regards to Mr Hayes personal security within the general prison populace, as well as finding himself" under the threat of possible death sentence by the mean -spirited State of Connecticut (facetious)
And as if that isn't enough, here is even more irony ulmann...
We the decent law abiding, tax paying, citizens of Connecticut are ultimately paying your salary so that Mr Hayes gets an over- zealous "fair" defense in this case, A CASE in which he is so overtly guilty that by all rights he should have been executed by now.
Instead, we the very people he has proven a distinct threat to his entire adult life, are now unwittingly and thanklessly, subsidizing his attorneys, his security, his meals, his newspapers, his suicide watch, his doctors and no doubt psychiatrist- and his "medicine" which reportedly includes pain medication and anti-anxiety for all that that ails him.
And We do so, not because we want to, but rather because a system was put in place once upon a time designed to protect the one innocent man amidst the gaggles of guilty, who might find himself ensnared wrongly within our system. I think we both would agree that This is clearly not the case with your client Mr Hayes. This this is one of but many many heinous crimes carried out by equally heinous criminals where we must go through all of the motions of a comprehensive trial Of course given your innate proclivity for dishonesty and deceit one could never expect an honest assessment of anything from you.
We also set a basic standard for ourselves as a people to treat humanely even the most reprehensible among us, including the manner in which we implement our ultimate penalty- death . Here we must again rise above our personal wishes of vindication for the victims and carry this somber duty out instead with absolute consideration for the least possible amount of suffering for men that purposely caused inordinate suffering to innocent lives themselves.
Over the years defense attorneys like yourself have manipulated and prostituted these basic tenets until they have become withered and have little to nothing to do with why they were there in the first place. You have thus taken advantage of all of us as a people, you have used
our collective sense of fairness, humanity and decency and used it to fan the flames of self promotion, propaganda, deception manipulation and thus the propagation of evil , by in effect co signing a pact with those that have done and would do, evil unto others.
In plain English you and your kind are allowing those who commit the worst crimes imaginable to chronically escape culpability to the point where justice in the halls of our courts has become so watered down that it means nothing at all.
And Not only must we tolerate this system, we are expected to support it.
There is no doubt in my mind that these two attorneys are more evil then the two reprobates that they represent-They are already utilizing every slick and slimy "tactic" with utter aforethought and shrewdness, all in an effort to help make sure that their clients, these men escape as much accountability as humanly possible for the kidnapping, assaults and murders, of two children and their mother.
Through this gag order, Mr ulmann and his co counsel would like nothing more than the memory of the horrific suffering that Mr Hayes caused the Mrs Petit and her children, to fade from the public minds, and the details that are part of the awful truth of what their clients did, to fade right along with it.
They hope to put as much time as possible between these crimes and the day when their clients guilt shall be decided, and in doing so the truth fades to be replaced by doubt over the genuine guilt of their client.
Chasing Justice is a private weblog for victims of crime. I am not bound by this gag order as I am not technically "The press", nor the media.
In honor of the memory of the Petit women, I will continue to write about this crime and keep it in the forefront of our collective conscience; This until the day that the death sentence is handed down to both Mr komisarjevsky and Mr Hayes respectively.
I will not relent shining the light of truth on their evil and their lies.
Judge Issues Gag Order In Cheshire Case - Connecticut News Story - WFSB Hartford
Nov 1, 2007
Somewhere in the back of my mind was the nugget of factoid that today was the day for Probable cause hearing for one Steven Hayes, half of the reprobate pair of defendants charged with the assaults, kidnapping, and eventual murders of Jennifer, Hayley and 11 year old Michaela Petit on July 23rd. May they all rest in peace.
I hadn't planned to attend this hearing. In fact, I left my house early morning with the intention in mind of buying some milk, and perhaps a stop off to my area beach, something that I enjoyed when the fewest people were likely to be there, I'm strange that way I find it a very peaceful place in the winter months when at times I'm the only one there.
Obviously my subconscious mind had other ideas. I did have a vague sense that today was the day for something important happening, but couldn't recall exactly what. As I drove, I remembered, oh that's right today was to be the probable cause hearing for Steven Hayes, the older defendant "accused" in the Petit. As my mind filled with equal parts anger, pain and something akin to hate, my car simply righted itself towards I95 northbound.
It wasn't as if Id made a decision to attend the hearing. In fact, all practical considerations pointed towards not going; ' there would be way too many people there, there would be security issues galore, I'd probably never get in, and last but not least, what good would my presence serve - The Petit and Hawke family seemed to have a a great deal of support from friends, family and indeed the entire community, beloved as the victims, Jennifer, Hayley, Michaela and the lone survivor Dr William Petit are.
I put all those thoughts away and for the rest of the drive I drove in an almost hypnotic state because the next thing I knew--I was right smack in front of the New haven Courthouse: Miraculously, I found a convenient parking spot straight away, this was just one of several unusual happenings that were to happen on this day;
As I parked I was encouraged-though surprised by the lack of people outside. I'd fully expected a atmosphere reminiscent of the arraignment of these two monsters back in August. According to news coverage The Meridan courthouse had been stuffed with local citizens and press alike. And while the media comprised part of the crowd that day, the general public had turned out in droves as well, many simply to show support for the victims family, including Dr William Petit, the sole survivor of these awful crimes that robbed him of his wife and children and left him with a near fatal head injury. A picture of his face, bruised and stitched and filled with grief, attending his families memorial, was now a permanent resident in my mind and my heart.
The idea of a huge crowd had been one of the biggest reasons that Id decided earlier in the week not to attend the Hayes hearing. I was working on the date of the hearing for komisarjevsky, thus alleviating me of even the option of attending. But something deeper within me clearly wanted, or perhaps needed to go to this second one, despite the practical reasons not to.
When I arrived I noted a very modest gathering of press with cameras, set up at one corner of the courthouse. As I had left my home that morning with no idea of where I was really going, I had no idea what time this hearing was to begin---perhaps Id missed it and that would explain why the crowd and press was so thin... Glancing at my car clock I saw that it was 9;50 am.
Now most court proceedings that I'd attended were always in the morning and always at about this time. Another coincidence---Or was it--? It sure was beginning to seem that a higher power was at work here.
I spotted some movement up on the roof of an adjacent building, I discerned what appeared to be an armed man in some kind of dark swat-type-garb. It took a full 20 seconds or so for this to sink in. My first careening thought , was that some vigilante had been laying in wait to pick off Hayes...but just as quickly I realized that this was in fact the opposite - it was a cop, making sure that no one did take a shot at this criminal.!
Anger welled up as the reality of this irony hit me- this clandestine heightened security was there to protect a killer from possible vigilantism. It certainly seemed an over the top display for these low life child killers. With my mind reeling over the display on the roof, I managed to proceed, I walked through the security check at the entrance of the courthouse. I grabbed an elevator ride up to the 6th floor, where I'd been told that he hearing for one, Steven Hayes would be heard.
I was surprised however to run into a second security checkpoint set up outside the doors to the courtroom itself. Geesh I thought, they are really going to great lengths to protect the life of this horrible man!
This time I was given a wave over with a metal finding machine by a grim looking guard and then patted down on my leg regions. I can only suppose they're looking for hidden weaponry of some kind that defied the metal detectors strapped to my darn legs! ( I should point out here that I consider myself an innocuous looking female, 5'3" small frame,rapidly approaching middle-aged with an essentially docile manner)
Once past that little indignity, I found myself having to choose a seat on one of the available courtroom benches, while waiting for the hearing to begin. The courtroom was surprisingly more bare than I had ever imagined. I noticed the faces of some of the Petit and Hawke family members on the right side of the courtroom as one stood at the door looking in. And on the left side, a few rows in front of me was a man sitting alone that looked a bit like Dr Petit, although it was clearly not him. A bit more slender - perhaps a brother or a cousin I thought. His face looked very grim.
Like so many other people in Connecticut, from the moment I learned of this crime I have not been the same. My heart aches daily for this family, what they went through and what the survivor William Petit, is going through now. There is also a good deal of anger; for the killers as well as the state of Connecticut's long-ineffectual judicial system, who in effect, fed this family to the wolves.
You see, I know better than anyone else that this crime never should have never happened.
And yet it did. And here we sat awaiting the probable cause hearing for one of the two perpetrators of a crime, crimes not only against the Petit family, but against women, children and humanity.
Another reason that I thought I had decided not to attend this hearing, was because of an assumption that it would be extremely quick and uneventful --This was based upon co-defendant Joshua komisarjevsky.'s probable cause hearing this past Tuesday: Komisarjevsy technically waived his right to this hearing, and plead Not guilty to all of the charges against him for these very same crimes.
It should be mentioned that once any defendant waives his right to the probable cause hearing, a Not guilty plea is automatically entered on his behalf. And although apparently a standard practice, madly enough he actually said those words in response to" how do you plead to these charges "not guilty your honor."-
And despite understanding that this plea is automatic, I still welled up with indigence upon hearing this man use those words. I couldn't help but wonder how the family felt hearing this
It would seem that our judicial system has made a frivolous "tactical" game out of something as important as a defendants accountability-in this case for taking life, or an
entire families lives. Three very promising decent lives. And desecrating one others in the process-Dr Petit the sole survivor of this cowardly carnage of his family.
As I listened to attorney Thomas Ullmann, a candidate for a Napoleon complex if ever their was one, rattle on about Mr Hayes' rights in regards to the Media;s negative reporting of his client, my mind skittered away for just a second or two and then it hit me - Komisarjevsky's lawyer, Jeremiah Donovan, had stated on Tuesday that "there are many tactical reasons for a defendant to waive his right to a probable cause hearing" without elaborating but insinuating, that by doing just that for his client, there was a specific reason.
I suddenly understood his tactic; If the hearing were to proceed normally, without probable cause being waived, the prosecutor is required to lay out all of the evidenciary findings ie to back up the probable cause for the defendant to be charged with those crimes. In this case, that probale cause includes evidence found thus far for these men to be charged with 3 murders, 4 kidnappings, one assault and at least 2 sexual assaults. And remember, the press is at these hearings, thus all of the awful details that make these crimes so particularly heinous and cruel, are found within the details of those probable cause findings. And thus the attorney waives his clients "rights" to the probable cause hearing, but in effect still gets to plead not guilty, yet another unfair manipulation of the judicial system, designed to protect the rights of the wrongly accused and taken advantage of by the genuinely guilty by overly eager defense attorneys always looking for a way to hold the system hostage-all under the guise of everyone right to" a fair trial"
You see, unfortunately when violent brutal crimes like murder and rape are reduced to simple charges, as awful as they are, those crimes become antisepticized. It is that much easier for the listener or reader to detach , certainly from the depth of emotion that we would feel upon hearing the graphic details of the same crimes. Within those details is the experience of the victims. Their suffering, their fear their pain and where applicable their awful ends their death.
It is thus a small leap to begin imagining what Mrs Petit and her young daughters experienced in the commission of these crimes. The vivid terror and brutality of their last hours .And this, this is the last thing that any defense attorney wants for their reprobate clients.. Thus, the probable cause hearing is 'waived" and the public and thus the potential jury pool as well as the press, do not hear those details that give us a window into the last terrible hours of the victims lives.
"Thank you your honor" from Steven Hayes snapped me out of my reverie. This was yet another thing that sickened me within these proceedings, hearing this animal's feigned deference to the judge now, quite a change from his courtroom manner at his arraignment, which was cold flat, surly and definitively unrepentant.
Now, having been coached undoubtedly by his lawyers, and likely more aware of what could easily await him if he is found guilty, his manner has changed remarkably, to one of deference to Judge Damiani. While I'm certain that his attorney prepped him, how to best ingratiate himself upon the judge, and even more importantly, damage control - trying to re- create a less horrible image of the man, in the court of public opinion..
This predictable posturing aside, I simply could not believe nor stomach the seemingly over- politeness and solicitousness from this judge towards this man who by his own account, sexually assaulted a mother of two within earshot of her children who were tied upstairs to their beds, strangled her to death with his bare hands while she begged for her life, the children awaiting their own horrible deaths that they knew would soon follow. On the terror and cruelty level these crimes are off the charts.
This man poured gasoline on two girls and set them on fire, leaving them to die a terrifying, excruciating death. He was caught as he scrambled out of their house with Joshua Komsirajevsky, laughing -laughing! And wearing a school- hat stolen from Hayley Petit . The depravity is simply off the charts.
So you will have to excuse me if I cannot comprehend this over the top civility, the excessive physical protection and the general deference and consideration extended to these men. This court is a place where justice is supposed to live. This man is one of two caught red handed committing one of the most brutal crimes that this state has ever seen. And while I don't expect the judge to berate and beat them (although i have to admit, the base part of me enjoys the notion for just a nano-second, some sternness seems appropriate, given the situation.
Out of respect for the surviving members of this family, many of whom were in attendance today.What of their rights "your "honor" Or is that none of your concern?
These men should be treated with the absolute the most basic of rights as allowed by law and again the same of considerations for their physcial and emotional welfare. Certainly, skip the pleasantries, no "good mornings" and "how are you today's"? Its inappropriate and likely maddening to the family and anyone else in attendence that knows the detaisl of these crimes.
I saw this very same thing in the court transcripts for Co defendent Komisarjevsky's multiple burglaries in 2002. The judge that heard those cases gave a new meaning to the word solicitous in his dealings with this man and his family. The crimes before him were not yet murder, rape arson and kidnapping-(Although K. was arrested for setting fire to an abandoned gas station at the ripe age of 14 15) there were a multitude of dangerous home invasions, (although they were incorrectly chosen burglary charges whereupon in each instance, Komisarjevsky chose the late night early am hours, when the homeowners were in the homes, nestled in their beds, when he chose repeatedly to break in and rob them. This he did, because as he put it," it was too boring when no one was home. "
He didn't get the charge, the thrill, the high". Classic sociopath behavior and for a change the prosecutor in those cases saw the potential for considerably more serious harm to innocent citizens at the hands of the young man before him.
He labeled him a threat to the people of our state and he was right. But apparently the prosecutors handling the set of break ins, could not find let alone forward his criminal records including his sentencing transcripts and the details of the multiple arrest warrants to the Connecticut Parole board, who paroled him none the less, because they were used to operating under these conditions despite regular protests to the head prosecutor Kevin Kane's office,
The last memo written to Mr Kane from the Ct Parole Board was in fact dated june 2007 3 weeks before the Petit family was killed. Reportedly a change was being looked into on how the state would file such essential paperwork, in order for it to be more accessible for parole purposes. The change did not come in time for the Petit family.
The official reason given by the powers that be-copying costs and long standing intro- departmental file-sharing/obtaining problems.
I was also disheartened to hear from presiding judge Damiano ".... that nothing of much consequence will be going on for quite some time...". in reference to the next scheduled hearing date in late November, which the defendant today waived his right to personally appear at, presumably due to the drastic security concerns at the court house, or so stated by his attorney Thomas Ullmann.
This coward has no problem raping and murdering women, but is afraid someone may take a shot at him on the courthouse steps. Or else he simply cant be bothered to show up at inconsequential hearings.
I went. I listened and I watched. Not as a voyeur, but as a supporter. I saw Mrs. Petit-
hawke's sister, Cindy Renn, who I recognized from a television interview just days after the crimes. She was composed but clearly deeply burdened and sad, She was supported by a circle of friends and family. Dr Petit still recovering was not there, something tells me that he is not ready to see the killers of his wife and children anyway. It is understandable, his post traumatic stress must be severe. I pray daily for this man and the rest of the Hawke and Petit families.
I gleaned a bit of insight as well as some new information about the ongoing case, although as I said this was not my reason for going. I still am not certain why I went, but I do know that i was deeply compelled to be there. I wanted to honor the Petits in some way and perhaps because of my own history with the Connecticut judicial system, try to be a bit of a watchdog for them and and everyone else who has been affected by this crime.
Anger and tears welled up several times this morning, along with indigence and an intermittent sense of voyeurism into this surreal process that just seemed so hollow. When the
hearing ended it was 11: 30 am. It started at 11;04..
Several things stuck with me all day. One was the appearance of the defendant Steven Hayes.
All of the media photos we've seen were taken the day of the arrest or were previous mugshots from other arrests or paroles. In them, he looked like a proverbial thug; slightly under average height looking to be 5; 7" maybe 5 8 at the most, he was very stocky, broad much like one sees mobster bodyguard types: pudgy, but strong looking and with a decidedly mean countenance, an ugly from the soul. Their is a deep deep darkness in those eyes that you cannot hide.
Today he appeared a completely different person. At first I thought that this was the wrong man, I even had to ask a woman sitting in front of me who this hearing was for. She was youngish 19 21 year old girl who almost apologetically said quietly Steven Hayes" It made me wonder if she was a relative perhaps. She seemed in disbelief throughout most of thee short proceeding. Perhaps that was his adult daughter that I'd read about. Or another relative or friend. Either way she looked embarrassed.
Then the clerk said his name. I had to squint to get a better look. He was standing only 3- 4 rows ahead of me and a bit on the diagonal, and there were a few wooden benches partially obstructing my view. He was surprisingly short, 5' 6" at the most and he had apparently lost a lot of weight- His head, previously shaved a.k.a the whole Vin Diesel, wanna be A BAD GUY-look, now the previously shiny head had errant tufts of blackish grayish hair, sprouting out of it. giving him pathetic look. He certainly no longer appeared imposing, and I imagined this was likely by design via his attorneys, and perhaps partly the result of the predicament that he had found himself in.
He admitted upon the judges standard questioning that yes he was on daily medication, presumably for pain and "anxiety" and something else probably depression..The judge apparently worried that he was able to make decisions regarding his case with a clear head today. Hayes said "oh yes" regarding his being on daily medications, a bit too earnestly and in a way that sounded like of course I am, didn't you know JUDGE?
Hayes seemed to be shrinking, diminishing, and I admit that I found a modicum of satisfaction in this. I wanted to believe that with nothing but time on his hands he realized the despicably of his acts and as a result his body began to reflect his conscience and shrivel. However, in reality, he is probably responding to the seriousness of his own predicament and the growing attention that the case is getting which in trun is aiming a lot of hatred and venom straight between his eyes.