The mini-essay below is an actual readers comment plucked from the Hartford Courant's article about the latest in the morally repugnant pre-trial tactics of the defense attorneys for one Steven Hayes: Hayes, you'll recall is the older of two "co-defendants" caught red handed in the kidnappings, assaults and murders of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her two daughters Hayley and Michaela - 17 and 11 years old respectively..
Let me preface this by saying that I am not easily impressed by most readers comments, particularly those found in the Courant, as they are often of the over the top zealot variety.
You know the type... "skip the trial these *%@#!**''s were caught red handed ! Torture them, and set THEM on fire in the town square" That type of thing.
As much as I can identify with the rage and frustration in some of these comments, we have a system that is designed to protect the innocently accused. And as such, we must therefore go through the necessary machinations with even the glaringly guilty, however difficult it is in light of what they're clearly responsible for - and we have to do so humanely.
So while I can understand the wish to impart and eye for an eye to men who have raped murdered and tortured women and children, outlining these desires in a public forum only serves to muddy the waters and can even discredit those working towards responsible judicial reform in this state - Reform which could prevent another set of crimes such as those that befell the unsuspecting and innocent Petit' family on July 23 2007. Only William Petit, who sustained repetitive traumatic brain injury and severe blood loss in the attacks managed to survive by breaking his hand binds and hopping up his cement cellar steps to a neighbors garage as his home went up in flames.
The reforms would include not setting loose dangerous repetitive felony offenders like Hayes and Joshua komisarjevsky out of prison or halfway houses on "early release parole" for any reason. Time limits on pre- trial "preparation periods" Shortening the huge time gap between when a violent crime is committed and when it is finally resolved often years upon years later in a court of law. This key reform would afford victims and their families the same right to a speedy trial that is guaranteed to even the most brutally violent offenders caught in the act - as it were.
Distinct and sensible limits on the amount of death penalty appeals a defendant may file as well judiciously confirmed legally sound reasons for any granted appeal ie new evidence or Just cause-- to appeal capital crime convictions. This would replace the extremely expensive file an appeal just to drag out the process and spend money system that we currently employ here in Connecticut.
The very first Appeals on death penalty cases believe it or not are currently automatic here and then limitless in the number of times an inmate can re-appeal
And these appeals are a big factor in why no murderer actually receives the death penalty in Connecticut. This sentence itself is extremely rare proving that we are a moderate discerning and careful people It is rarely pursued by the state to begin with and handed down by a jury or judge in the very worst of the worst aggravated murder cases where evidence is overwhelming and various other crime criteria exists.
Last year the Connecticut Judiciary committee clandestinely lobbied and then voted on a bill to abolish the death penalty, initially citing the large amount of money that it would save the state.
Read this to see why this is nit the case
Amidst much protestation by the actual citizens of the state ( A timely Qunnipiac poll proved that 68 percent of the state are want to keep the death penalty) the Death Penalty abolishment bill actually passed muster albeit by the slimmest of margins, in the house and the Senate. The latter had a much closer vote margin.
Thankfully, as she had assured the people of Connecticut Governor Rell exercised a rare veto on the Bill.The governor, a minority Republican has announced that she will not seek reelection in the coming term- this leaves us with a quandary that may cost many innocent lives. The divisiveness over the death penalty abolishment was not strictly partisan-- some thoughtful and independent thinking democratic legislators did vote against the bill, but the judiciary and the house spearheaded by Mike lawlor and co. did their best to sell the bill to every democratic assemblyman as " the inevitable " citing that if Connecticut wanted to join their progressive new England counterparts we better follow suit and abolish. Ugh.
Clearly, I could go on and on. The Comment is in bold italics below.
This Is Steven Hayes' Definition Of Inhumane?
For a guy who was supposedly being mistreated in prison, the slightly thinner, newly bearded Steven Hayes didn't look as bad as one might expect.
Granted, it's been about a month since his lawyers claimed one of the two men accused in the brutal 2007 Cheshire killings was being treated inhumanely after his recent suicide attempt. And everyone agreed that conditions have since improved, so jury selection is tentatively back on for March 15.
But after hearing the details of his care in a prison infirmary, all I kept thinking was:
What kind of Ritz accommodations was the defense expecting ?
Twenty-four-hour lighting could make it hard to sleep — but the guy hoarded pills and tried to commit suicide, so you can't blame the Department of Correction for wanting to see what the guy's up to. What would his defense team say if they weren't watching and the next time he tried he was successful?
And sure, rationed and supervised toiletries can take a real toll on a person's appearance — but, again, they can't responsibly leave sharp objects around him. It's not like they're not letting the guy brush his teeth.
In fact, I was really hard-pressed to see how any of the precautions the DOC was taking to prevent Hayes from harming himself qualified as inhumane. The guy's cell at MacDougall Correctional, many joked outside the courtroom, is bigger than most offices and cubicles. He's got a prison counselor assigned to him and a psychiatrist who could probably do him a lot more good if Hayes' defense team wasn't advising him not to talk to her, as Dr. Suzanne Ducate testified Tuesday.
And apparently her services aren't the only thing Hayes has declined. He's also declined exercise and, at times, showers and electric clippers, as evidenced by the scraggly beard he was sporting at the hearing.
Look, I understand the importance of due process. And as hard as it might be to swallow, we shouldn't torture prisoners — no matter how brutally and senselessly they've tortured their victims.
But what gets me is how twisted into knots the system gets to ensure that a prisoner such as Hayes isn't being mistreated, while endlessly torturing an innocent family with justice delayed.
Those lights, which have since been dimmed, kept coming up during the two-hour hearing that at times was somewhere between absurd and vulgar. Between those lights and the 15-minute checks by DOC staff, his lawyers claim, it's nearly impossible for Hayes to get any sleep.
But before these proceedings are delayed any longer, perhaps everyone should remember that Hayes isn't the only one with that problem.
Outside, Dr. William Petit Jr. reminded reporters how very little rest he and his family have had since his wife and two young daughters were brutally killed.
It really is about the delivery of justice for two cold blooded coward killers who stole the lives, raped, and abused an entire family. They had ample opportunity to stop and leave. But they didn't choose to do that, they had to take it to the ultimate end.
I don't care in the least about what kind of childhoods the cowards endured, that led to the execution of a good and loving family. Another words - don't tell me about the extenuating circumstances! Or the light in his eyes while he tries to sleep, or being in a safety smock - we want to keep you alive coward. We want to see justice done - not on your terms, on ours. And because you tried to exercise your cowardly rights via suicide, you now must be protected from yourself - thus the lights on and the physical restraints.
I truly wish that we could perform a memory transplant of the horrors they committed, from Dr. Petit, let's download it to the cowards' brain, if we could do that, I might settle for 'Life Without Parole'. But since that technology is currently unavailable, only the ULTIMATE sentence will allow Dr. Petit to possibly have some peace, at last.
Not a perfect solution, but better than knowing the cowards are working out in an exercise yard on a daily basis. Having 3 meals a day, and sleeping well...