Jul 30, 2014
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Judge Extends Stay on Release of Komisarjevsky Witness Lists

Attorneys pick the 10th jury member for the second Cheshire home invasion trial.

Judge Extends Stay on Release of Komisarjevsky Witness Lists

A stay in releasing the witness lists has again been extended in the Joshua Komisarjevsky trial. TheHartford Courant has requested the list be made public.

Also, during jury selection at the New Haven County Courthouse on Wednesday, a tenth juror was chosen for the Komisarjevsky trial, which is scheduled to start in September.

The new juror is the fourth man picked for the jury, which also includes six women. He was the first juror chosen since April 28.

In a Memorandum of Decision on the witness list matter, dated May 4, Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue said he would extend the stay again until May 12 to give Komisarjevsky’s defense attorneys a chance to convince the Appellate Court to stay the release of the lists.

However, Blue ended the memorandum stating that if no further stay were issued by another court, he would release the witness lists to the general public on the afternoon of May 12.

Komisarjevsky, 30, the second Cheshire home invasion defendant, faces the death penalty on 17 counts including capital felony murder, kidnapping, arson, larceny, burglary, assault and sexual assault for the murders of a Cheshire mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, in 2007.

His co-defendant, Steven Hayes, 47, was convicted in a separate trial last year and is on death row appealing his capital punishment sentence.

Komisarjevsky’s lawyers, special public defenders Jeremiah Donovan, Walter C. Bansley III and Todd Bussert, have appealed the release of the witness lists to the Appellate Court, arguing that it would discourage witnesses from testifying for him and jeopardize his right to a fair trial.

Judge Blue ruled that witness lists are court documents that must be made accessible to the public unless sealing them would serve a more important, overriding interest.

That policy was followed when the judge ordered the name of Komisarjevsky’s nine-year-old daughter be removed from the list after attorney Justine Rakich-Kelly, representing the child, filed a motion to protect her identity.

But Blue said the defense submitted no evidence of any threats or intimidation against anyone on the witness lists, so the lists must be released.

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