Defense's Mitigating Factors in Komisarjevsky Trial | Mental Health | Mental Disorder



DEFENDANT JOSHUA KOMISARJEVSKY’S LIST OF NON-STATUTORY MITIGATING FACTORS COMES NOW Defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky, by and through undersigned counsel and pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-46a, and respectfully offers the following list of nonstatutory mitigating factors. 1. 2. 3. 4. Josh was biologically predisposed to a number of mental health conditions. Josh was raised in a conservative evangelical Christian community. Josh’s parents adhered to strict, conservative values and conduct. The religious teachings in which Josh was raised included strong dictates regarding sexuality/homosexuality, purity and goodness. Josh was sexually abused by his foster brother. Josh’s parents kept Josh’s sexual victimization a secret. Josh’s parents’ response to Josh’s sexual abuse was inadequate. The State of Connecticut’s response, upon learning that Josh’s brother had been acting out in a more sexually aggressive/assaultive manner, was inadequate. Josh’s parents’ response to Josh’s escalating sexual acting out (e.g., peeping, panty stealing, assaulting his sister) was inadequate. Josh concluded, at a young age, that he was different (e.g., a sinner, bad). Josh’s religious community reinforced his negative beliefs about himself. Josh’s father was emotionally abusive and often not physically present. Josh had a conflictive relationship with his father.

5. 6. 7. 8.


10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15.

Josh sought out nurturing male role models. Josh suffered significant personal losses around age 14 (e.g., his grandfather, his drum teacher, his church mentor). Josh viewed personal losses as a punishment from God. Josh was sexually assaulted around age 14. The conservative, bible-based curriculum with which Josh was home-schooled made his problems worse. Josh suffered from a mood disorder(s). Josh suffered from suicidal thoughts. Josh’s parents rejected traditional mental health counseling. Josh’s parents rejected medication to treat Josh’s mental health issues. Josh did not receive necessary treatment for his mental health problems. Josh suffered the cumulative effects of eight known head injuries. The State of Connecticut’s authorizing Josh’s parents to take him from Connecticut and place him in The Fold made his problems worse. Josh responds positively in structured environments (e.g., the Continentals, basic training). Josh’s prior burglaries did not involve making contact with individuals in the home. Josh has no history of aggression or physical violence. Josh has adjusted positively to prison (e.g., no prison disciplinary reports, making constructive use of his time). From the time he was placed at the Berman Treatment Center to about the day his ankle bracelet was removed Josh performed well in the community (e.g., successfully completed inpatient treatment, maintained employment, adhered to parole conditions). Neither the Department of Correction nor the Department of Parole provided Josh necessary mental health treatment. Josh’s mental health was deteriorating the week before these crimes.

16. 17. 18.

19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.


27. 28. 29.






Josh has a history of doing well and then engaging in self-damaging behavior (i.e., falling off a cliff). Josh’s early, voluntary acceptance of responsibility provided incriminating evidence against him in the prosecution for the capital crimes of which he has been convicted. The evidence does not establish Josh’s intent with sufficient certainty to justify a sentence of death. The murders were committed while Josh was under the influence of an extreme mental or emotional disturbance, though not constituting a defense to this prosecution. Josh was a loving father who cared for his daughter the best he knew how (e.g., sought visitation, voluntarily paid child support, sought custody). A sentence of death will negatively impact Josh’s daughter more than a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release. Josh’s parents and sister love and are committed to him. The conditions of life imprisonment without the possibility of release are harsh. Josh presents little danger to others if sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release. Josh is a human being, albeit severely damaged, whose life has value.






39. 40. 41.


Respectfully submitted, JOSHUA KOMISARJEVSKY, Defendant

BY: JEREMIAH DONOVAN, JN 305346 123 Elm Street--Unit 400 P.O. Box 554 Old Saybrook, CT 06475-4108 (860) 388-3750; Fax: (860) 388-3181 WALTER C. BANSLEY, III, JN 407581 Bansley Law Offices, LLC 20 Academy Street New Haven, CT 06510 (203) 776-1900; Fax: (203) 773-1904

TODD A. BUSSERT, JN 420221 103 Whitney Avenue, Suite 4 New Haven, CT 06510-1229 (203) 495-9790; Fax: (203) 495-9795 Attorneys for Joshua Komisarjevsky 3

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that, in accordance with Connecticut Practice Book §§ 10-12, 10-13 and 10-14, a copy of the foregoing was served via hand this 30th day of November 2011 on the following: Michael Dearington, State’s Attorney Gary W. Nicholson, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Office of the State’s Attorney 235 Church Street New Haven, CT 06510

_______________________________________ Todd Bussert Commissioner of the Superior Court


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