The state of Connecticut—or rather the taxpayers of the state—are in the position of paying for both the prosecution and defense of the two men accused in the horrifying Cheshire home invasion case. As of the end of February, the state has spent more than $2.2 million on the defense of Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. And before all is said and done, the price tag will climb to many times that.
According to a report in the New Haven Register, the chief public defender says that by the time the legal process is completed, the total amount of taxpayer money used by defense attorneys, prosecutors, state Department of Correction and the state judicial branch for the Hayes case alone will be $6 million to $8 million. Hayes was convicted of capitol felony murder and sentenced to death. Jury selection is now underway in the Komisarjevsky case and could last weeks or months.
The cost of having the death penalty in Connecticut was part of the discussion during public hearings by the state legislature’s judiciary committee on the proposed abolishion of it. Michael Lawlor, the Malloy administration point man on criminal justice issues, told The Hanging Shad that while it’s hard to pin down exactly, “if the death penalty went away tomorrow” the state would save $5 million to $10 million a year.
Both Hates and Komisarjevsky have taxpayer-funded, public defenders.