Komisarjevsky: Thirteen Killers?

Here’s the closing argument I would like to see Jeremiah Donovan give on behalf of Joshua Komisarjevsky. Something tells me he won’t.

"Four years ago, a family in Cheshire was destroyed and all of us awoke to a living nightmare. I doubt there is a person in Connecticut who is not aware of the horror of it all. It has been reported on television, radio and the Internet. One trial took place last year. You have now had a front row seat to behold the horror anew.

"On and on and on this bloody spectacle goes. It will end, if the state has its way, only in more death. In this case, the death of Joshua Komisarjevsky.


"Oh, yes, justice requires another killing. But first you must find Josh guilty of a capital felony. Then you can sit through more weeks of testimony and argument all intended by the state to get you in the frame of mind to deliver a verdict with lethal consequences.

 Reprinted courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune.

"The horror continues. More testimony, more public spectacle, more crying for death over spilled blood.

"Haven’t you had enough, ladies and gentlemen? Hasn’t the State of Connecticut had enough?

"Josh offered to plead guilty long ago, knowing full well that a consequence of his plea would be that he spend the rest of life behind bars. He is still willing to enter that plea. The state does not want you to know that, of course. It wants to march and strut and parade around the well of this court asking you to find what we’ve already offered.

"The state insists on killing Joshua Komisarjevsky. So we are here at trial, at great expense, great effort and at the cost of asking you to walk the killer’s walk yourself.

"We will, of course, lie to you and we will spare no effort to make sure you do not feel yourself to be a killer. No one will ask you to plunge the lethal needle into this man’s arm. That would asking too much. You needn’t even attend the grim ceremony your verdict requires.

"Indeed, we will not even ask you to tell us he must die. We will hide the consequences from you. We will ask you to weigh the bad against the good in his life. You will play the lethal parlor game of Gods and Goddesses, deciding whether the bad outweighs the good. The judge then imposes sentence.

"It is a sick and twisted system. The entire weight of the state and all it can do is brought to be bear on Joshua Komisarjevsky. He must held accountable for his crimes. He must pay. Yet no one in this courtroom takes responsibility for what goes on here.

"The prosecutors claim to be humble public servants, merely enforcing a law made by others.

"You are asked to judge the case without regard to the consequences of your acts.

"The judge takes your verdict and then does what the law requires him to do.

"Each and every hand dipped into this bloody mess is kept from making contact with the other. No one must take hold of the executioner’s needle. It is sick, I tell you. The state is asking you to kill. Period. Don’t be seduced by the lies you are told here. Do what the state asks of you in this case, and thirteen killers will walk out of these doors.

"These arguments are premature, you say? We are not yet at the penalty phase? Now you must decide only guilt. Don’t listen to the serpent’s hiss.  The state invites you to eat the same lethal fruit of a tree for which Josh is to die for tasting.

"Let’s end this festival now. Find my client guilty of all crimes but the capital felony. I concede his involvement. He had a chance to flee before the fatal acts occurred. He did not. He is guilty, ladies and gentlemen. He is guilty and so are we. We’ve nurtured the morbid fantasy of revenge long enough. Let’s close this sordid book once and for all.

"If you will but vote not guilty to the capital felony charges, we can close the book on the chapter of state history once and for all."


About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

Personal Website


Law Firm Website


I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

Pattis Video