Nov 9, 2011

Court Closings Add to ‘Criminal Justice Triage’

This is an older article from Connecticut News Junkie, but it explains one of the reasons that there has been such a difference in the Steven Hayes, and current Joshua Komisarjevsky trial's, insofar as the elaborate and expensive show that the Komisarjevsky defense has been putting on for well over a month.

The trial, now deep into the penalty phase, is parading out a gaggle of defense witnesses, culled from various stages of their client's "troubled" past.

That past includes a pattern of law breaking, arson, stalking behaviors, stealing and sexually assaulting his sister, bomb-making and  the like.

The Defense witness list has also included a high paid Psychiatrist who the defense hired to meet with Komisarjevsky for well over a year while he has been imprisoned, now convicted of all 17 charges including capital murder and rape, in the Petit family murders. His hand picked accomplice Steven Hayes was convicted last year and was subsequently given the death penalty after a considerably shorter, less elaborate trial.

Steven Hayes Attorneys, Thomas Ullmann and Patrick Culligan were regular lead public defender's from Connecticut's Public defender's office, as opposed to their counterparts Jeremiah Donovan, Walter Bansley and Todd Russert who are "special Public defenders", hired by the state because the regular Public defender well was empty once Steven Hayes, who was tried first, was lawyered up - at the State's expense.

However the cost for Steven Hayes defense was considerably less than Mr Komisarjevsky. This is undoubtedly due to several factors, one of which is that Hayes unlike Komisarjevsky wished to plead guilty and indeed tried to change his plea to guilty, shortly before his trial began. His attorneys managed to convince him to keep his plea of Not Guilty standing, but their defense reflected a certain acquiescence to their clients desire to admit his basic culpability within the brutal crimes. However, Hayes still contends to this day that although he is a monster, Joshua Komisarjevsky is ten times the monster I am.

Another important factor in the disparity of monies spent on each man's defense is clearly the fact that Komisarjevsky basically "lucked out" when it was decided that Hayes would be tried first - This, because Steven Hayes had one extra criminal charge than Komisarjevsky.  As a result of this decision, the entire regular Public defenders office was emptied via Steven Hayes's defense needs. and the special public defenders as described in this article, had to be solicited for Komisarjevsky;s defense.

As I recall, Jeremiah Donovan, a private attorney who was on the Connecticut special Public defender's list volunteered to represent Komisarjevsky. As a result, Komisarjevsky's defense has been financially fueled on a different scale altogether and the special public defenders have made full use of the monies at their disposal, causing a domino-effect on State Judicial resources.

There have also been peripheral anti-death penalty groups pitching in their services free of charge to the Komisrajevsky defense; An anti-death penalty group based out of England offered to do research on Komisrajevsky's biological family, in an effort to hopefully uncover something, anything that could be used as a mitigating factor, possibly saving him from a death sentence.  The group which was once Russian- based has expanded in recent years to include all Americans of any European descent who are charged with capital crimes, or who are on death row.

As Komisarjevsky was adopted at two weeks old, the best the group could come up with was that there was some bi-polar disorder in his biological families history. It is safe to assume that this entiity ordinarily looks for possible abuse issues that an adopted child may have sufferred before being adopted, as well as posssible genetic mental illness etc, but it is clear that the relative with bi-polar illness was not one of Komisarjevsky's biological parents, as the subject of the familial bi-polar was introduced at the trial but it was merely mentioned that there was bi-polar mood disorder within his genetic background.

The State monies spent on Komisarjevsky's defense alone are said to have exceeded 700,000 dollars thus far, and it looks like a considerable bit more will be spent by the time this penalty phase is over, which is now being estimated by Judge Blue to last until mid-december.

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