Feb 22, 2011

Conn. Home Invasion Update: Judge Allows Dr. William Petit to Participate in Pretrial Sessions

I am thrilled that Judge Blue has decided to allow William Petit Jr. to be present while the attorneys and  prosecutors discuss and hash out major pretrial decisions regarding the case against  Joshua Komisarjevsky, ringleader of the Petit family rapes and murders.

 Komisarjevsky has long been recognized as the instigator of the 2007 crimes; a brutal home invasion that involved kidnapping, assault, multiple rapes and multiple murder.

 The Crimes, we have since learned, originated from a plan devised by Komisarjevsky himself, to break into the Petit's home and with the help of  accomplice Steven Hayes to take complete control of the house. With 44 year old Steven Hayes in tow and a fake 9mm gun, he planned to assault and maim the man of the house  and then easily restrain all the females, and personally rape 11 year old Michaela Petit,  whom he had spotted and stalked that very day at an area supermarket.

 Twelve hours later, Joshua Komisarjevsky  would be snapping cell phone pictures of a terrified and nude Michaelala, bound tightly to her bed, .amid  stuffed animals and Harry potter books. He repeatedly molested her throughout the evening, while her mother and sister were tied up in seperate rooms. Later in the morning while Hayes had been iinstructed to go to the bank with Mrs Petit, Komisrajevsky took nude cell photos of Hayely also, presumably in order to relive the sexual crimes over and over again in his head long after the girls were dead. Memento taking, including photos and videos is a sure sign of a full blown pyschopathic sexual predator.

Forensic evidence introduced during the Steven Hayes trial also proved that little Michaela had been fully raped by Komisarjevsky just minutes before dying a horrible death by being doused in gasoline and set on fire, tied helplessly to her bed.. The media reports often anesthetize the deaths by stating that " the girls died of "smoke inhalation'" After listening to the forensic testimony in court and seeing some of the crime scene photographs, one can see that both girls were on fire as an accelerant had liberally been poured directly on them tho less on Michaela, as the men admitted they had almost run out of gas after dousing Hayley and Jennifer Petit body, who had been strangled during her rape.

The forensic expert testified that the fire was like a "writhing violent snake, designed to consume only those in its path"-there was no escaping it. Hayley broke free of her restraints or they burned off of her and she ran on fire collapsing at the top of the stairs. Little Michaela in particular died a very painful death,  tied tightly to her headboard one could see that she struggled terribly to escape the ensuing flames.
Her partially burnt body was found with both arms still tied above her head.

Michaela was a  pretty, blond shy  girl with a sweet demeanor who looked a few years older than her actual age, and Joshua  komisarjevsky who happened to have pedophile preferences happened to lock onto her as she shopped at a local supermarket alongside her mom, just hours before the rapes and murders woud occurr, leaving everyone in the Petit family except father, William Petit Jr, dead.

Petit had broken through the plastic zip ties that had tied  his hands,to a pole in his basement.His feet still bound and half conscious from multiple head blows from komistraejsvskys bat,  he hopped up the bilco cellar steps, feet still tied, with  major blood loss, he managed to roll to a neighbors yard, yelling for help for his family.
As anyone can plainly see, Mr. Komisarjevsky did not commit these crimes spontaneously, nor was this "a robbery gone awry " as he and his lawyers have tried to ingrain into the minds of every Connecticut citizen who might be following the case  (and within the populus that contains the jury pool for their clients eventual trial.)

Mr. Komisarjevsky approached the Petit's modest ranch home that night with one thing in mind; Sexually assaulting Michaela Petit; He was wearing all black, including black skull cap; he carried with him a large knife, plastic zip-ties of the sort that Police use to handcuff suspects.,and he toted some makeshift face masks from ski caps with eyes cut out. And between the two men there was no question who was  the leaderr and who, the muscle between komisrajevsky and Hayes. The men also carried a very real looking
fake 9 mm handgun, which Dr.Petit later testified, looked exactly like the 9mm guns that he'd seen police officers wearing for years, when he treated them within his medical practice.
The gun was actually no more than an elaborate pellet gun, purchased that very day by komisarjevsksy'saccomplice, Steven Hayes, at komisarjevskys orders,.earllier in the evening when they met to discuss the plan for the home invasion.

Hayes was tried first for these crimes because he had one or two additional charges somehow. He was found guilty after an emotionally wrenching trial that literally traumatized the jury, the press and nedia who managed to get into the courtoom and basically everyone who heard the details of this case.
 It was as if we were all experiencing the crimes and the pain again through the hayes trial, Many of us in the community and state were markedly distressed  and suffered a type of post traumatic stress out of empathy for what the Petit girls were put through.

Hayes was finally sentenced to death after 5 long days of Jury deliberations. Although always gracious the Petit hawke chapman and Renn families were becoming drained and despondent as the trial seemed to unearth more and more awful details concerning the girls suffering, as well there was the media frenzy that followed them everywhere. CNN, CBS, ABC, HBO -  all the big media outlets were parked outside the New Haven courthouse every single day, and every single day the Petit Hawke and extended families drove in from Cheshire, Plainville, Pennsylvania and North Carolina to attend the days trial events.

Steven Hayes was a fellow burglar and recent parolee, both men had reunited after being released on what was retrospectively a terrible decision to grant komisarjevsky early release Parole, a plan originally designed  to ease prison overcrowding. This early release program was created and supported by then vice - chair of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee, Mike Lawlor, who has since been hired by Governor Dan Malloy.( I guess he felt that Lawlor should be rewarded for his resume of great decisions re the justice system)

In any event, Hayes was also a repeat offender, in and out of prison, just like Komisarjevsky He,was easily enlisted for the Petit rapes and robbery; komisarjevsky, who was the only one who had actually seen the attractive Mrs Petit and her adolescent daughter, explained to Hayes that both mother and daughter were extremely attractive and he later even admitted to using Jennifer Petit as a lure for Hayes to participate in the home invasion for selfish reasons; he needed a second guy. After following the pair back to their house after they'd shopped, Komisarjevsky decided that their house, although modest by Cheshire standards, would probably contain a fair amount of jewelry, electronics and possibly even cash. This would only be an added bonus to komisarjevsky whose sights remained fixed upon the pretty young MMichaela.

Komisarjevsky was a slight man, at 6 ft 1" and 126 lbs, he would need help pulling off the crimes that he had in mind for the Petit family. A then burly 230 lb Steven Hayes was the perfect solution. Hayes,although also a sociopath, was considerably less intelligent than komisarjevsky, and despite the age difference, Hayes 44,  Komisarjevsky 26, it was clear who the mastermind and the ring leader was.

In fact, the two men had been robbing houses together for two nights, as warm-ups for the big one-the Petit murders. Amazingly, the break-ins began the very day that Joshua Komisarjevky's GPS ankle monitoring bracelet was removed by the Connecticut Dept of Corrections.This somehow happened despite the original judges instructions that komisarjevsky serve six years of special monitored parole after his nine year prison sentence.

He served a year and a half in prison, from there he went to a Hartford area halfway house and from there he went home to live with his parents in their Cheshire home along with his 5 year old daughter, who he'd recently won main custody of! The GPS anklet was off in less than 6 months.

In any event, today's decision by Judge Blue is an important one, It could even turn out to be a landmark for victims rights in the State of Connecticut.

Or, it could turn out to be a one time fluke
But the good news is that when Judges make decisions like this, it is on the record, in the most formal of senses, it may be used in future cases ad infinitum..

One may always refer back to a judges particular decision, and the case in which it was confined to, when pleading their own case,( or their clients case.)Whether or not Judge Blue or Dr Petit is aware of it, by making this courageous and indeed morally correct decision today, Judge Blue has made an empowering statement to victims of violent crime. Remember, these victims, in the past, have been shut out, locked out of their own "cases. Violent criminal cases, in which they, as the victim, were in fact the very embodiment of!"
In the instance of violent crime - The victim is THE "CASE"

So: All pre-trial "discovery" and all communications that previously occurred solely between  the prosecutor-(who  acting on the victims behalf as the only official attorney the victim has!) and the defense attorney for the defendant or as I like to call them the perpetrator. Despite this fact however, in almost every criminal case, there is no communication between prosecutor and victim, and if there is, it is curt and perfunctory at best.

Since the state of  Connecticut relies so heavily upon plea deals for the resolution/adjudication of most of our violent crime cases (96 percent are resolved via plea deals), most of the talking that determines what direction the "case" goes, ie will it be plea dealed, will some charges be lowered and or dropped and if so-why?

What is the defense attorney conveying to the presiding prosecutor about the crime, that may, or may not affect his view of the crime or of the victim, And ultimately, how this " case" is resolved:  
Will Justice be served?
Will the offender serve ANY time in prison or
Simply receive a suspended sentence?
Will he have to pay medical restitution and or fines for injuring his/her victim,
And what about emotional and psychological assistance for the victim?
The effects of post traumatic stress can be life debilitating, Who is to speak for the victim if all of the speaking is being done behind closed doors?

And these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Few people care to think about this nor do they have the energy to try to change it, but consider how you would feel if violent crime came visiting your home, your loved ones one night? If a person of so called " affluence " a term the defense attorneys bandy about a lot for their own self gain, but a misnomer and simply untrue, in reality.

If he has had to struggle as much as he has had to with the Connecticut Judicial system, what then of the average man or woman-what then of the victim/survivor who is so enmeshed in a state of post traumatic stress that they can barely put one foot in front of the other let alo0ne fight a system that seems intent upon doing the easiest thing and allowing a dangerous criminal to walk away with yet another slap on the wrist; a criminal record that defies the dangerousness that he she poses all of which will affect future victims, and there will be more. The Petit family murders are but one terrible example of the ticking time bomb that was/is Connecticut's criminal court systems.

Today, if a prosecutor decides that a case is "too weak" to convict and thus drops that charge down several notches or does away with a charge or two or three simply for the sake of wrapping up another case ...who protects the victim's interests?  What is being said by these attorneys which include the prosecutor who are not the hero type states attorneys that we see on law and order. They are generally committed to one thing accruing convictions no matter how small the charges IE encouraging deals involving serious felonies magically becoming misdemeanors-which the courts view as nothing.

And all of this is done again behind closed doors, in pre-trial meetings, over the course of months often exceeding a year even in the case of serious violent crime cases that involve maiming of the victim!
These "meetings" often have grave implications insofar as the outcome of every violent crime sentencing,that does not go to a trial-and that is most as we've established. What that rapist or assailant or kidnapper or stalker or even child molester rapist's sentence will be and how low the charges will be dropped is all decided behind closed doors, without the victim, nor even the judge present!

It is almost always between two men, a defense lawyer and a prosecutor who usually hasn't seen the inside of a trial-in decades. The men are usually of the same bar and often quite friendly with each other, in their dealings with each other. While there's nothing wrong with professional courtesy when it transcends courtesy and the prosecutor and the defense attorney dine together attend each others weddings christenings, are each others neighbors, do each others favors, give recommendations and job referrals, well now this has entered the arena of  old boy cronyism which you better believe is alive and well in "liberal Connecticut Courthouses.
There are many many situations where a prosecutor should be recusing himself from a case due to conflicts of interest, not to mention out and out palm greasing in some of our larger city courts especially one that is known for being generally corrupt in almost ever other government branch.

These attorneys and prosecutors travel in many of the same circles There is little to no adversarial atmosphere even with extremely violent crimes such as aggravated assaults where the victims are maimed or rape of a child or even manslaughter! It has escalated to the point where our courts have become little more than administrative back room deal making, "I owe ya one on this pal" should be certain city courts engraved motto's above the granite entryways.
Back slapping and cronyism rampant throughout.. Trials are almost non existent, except for the occasional high profile murder cases and/or sexual assaults and even then, many prosecutors waiting out their pensions would prefer to deal it out-they collect that same paycheck, why make all that extra work for themselves/

Kidnappings and severe aggravated assaults resulting in life long injuries are routinely plea bargained, often against the wishes of the victim or the victim's family- if he or she is no longer alive. And yet without a good high paid private attorney to help make certain that the judge knows what she or he needs to know about the severity of this case, that's being dealt away as if a bunch of cards, well, then you're out of luck--
And this beyond wrong, it is reprehensible, and it has been going on for a very  long time in our Connecticut Superior courts. Think of the motor vehicle dept overseeing life and death cases that involve rape and broken bones and brain damage from severe beatings.Roll that image over in your mind and that that is what our courts are actually like.

Hopefully, this decision of Judge Blue has set a precedent for more involvement for the victim of violent crime, for at present, all victims have had to rely on, is a state supplied victim's " advocate" who having to work directly for the state's attorneys office that she is usually housed with, has become literally no more than a symbolic hand holder to justify misused grant monies awarded certain state courts, Typically they have little to no legal knowledge and even when they are savvier than most, they are rendered powerless by the old" you scratch my back Ill scratch yours' network that has been running our courts for years.
In the meantime, our policemen and women put their lives on the line every day so that a solid case can be made against dangerous criminal  predators, men that rape children and elderly women, and they become completely despondent and hopeless when time and again they see the very same repeat offenders travel through the revolving doors of our courts plea mills -often with little or no prison time, and worse-no accurate criminal record to show the next police officer or the Parole Board, just how dangerous this criminal is.

But for this one thing today I am grateful, for Dr Petit and for all other victims of violent crime who perhaps cannot afford a private attorney to watch over their interests when the prosecutors so clearly are not.
 God willing these victims have the wherewithal to attend those formerly closed backdoor meetings that determine something as essential as whether the man that killed, maimed or sexually assaulted either them, or their loved one, is going to be sentenced according to the letter of the law. And if not, why not?

And this is where we must fight the next good fight; to lobby and organize political, public and private citizen action groups to subsidize legal assistance for victims of violent crime who are dissatisfied with the progression of the case of which they, as victim, are the very embodiment of.
The legal service must be completely separate from the State as well as the geographic superior court in which that criminal case is being heard; Otherwise, it too will become swallowed up by the states beurocracy, as the victims advocate's, who were once to be the battered women's saving grace in  domestic violence court dockets.