Criminal Justice Commission Seeks Public Input on Next Chief State's Attorney

The state commission responsible for appointing the Chief State’s Attorney will hold an open forum later this month to hear what the public thinks it should be looking for when it chooses the state’s next chief law enforcement officer.

The Criminal Justice Commission will hold the public forum on Friday, October 11, 2019, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The public session will immediately follow the Commission's interviews of candidates to be the next State's Attorney for the Litchfield Judicial District, and will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with speakers allowed three minutes each. While not required, written comments also may be submitted.  Anyone submitting written comments is requested to bring eight copies of their remarks.

“The Criminal Justice Commission is established under our state Constitution with the authority to appoint the Chief State’s Attorney, an independent constitutional officer who serves as the state’s chief law enforcement officer,” said Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Andrew J. McDonald, Chair of the commission.

“The Commission wants to hear from parties and organizations that have specific interests with regard to the criminal justice system, and from the general public as well, as to what they think we should be looking for in our next Chief State’s Attorney,” Justice McDonald said.  "We want to know what has worked well in the past, and what hasn't.  More importantly, we want to listen to how stakeholders would like to see the Office of Chief State's Attorney develop in the years to come under the next Chief State's Attorney."

The Commission is in the process of appointing a successor to Kevin T. Kane, who will retire November 1, 2019, ending his 47-year career as a prosecutor and the longest-serving Chief State’s Attorney since the position was established. The Chief State’s Attorney is the administrative head of the Division of Criminal Justice, an independent agency in the executive branch of state government that includes the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and the State’s Attorneys for the state’s 13 Judicial Districts.

“The retirement of Chief State’s Attorney Kane not only marks the end of a remarkable career, but the end of an era for the Division of Criminal Justice, the criminal justice system and Connecticut law enforcement,” Justice McDonald said.

“This is the single-most important appointment the Criminal Justice Commission makes and we certainly want to proceed with transparency and input from the public and those who work in or with the criminal justice system in various capacities,” he said.

Individuals who wish to speak should plan to limit their comments to three minutes to allow as many people as possible to participate. Anyone wishing to submit written comments or other information to the Commission may do so by writing to the Criminal Justice Commission, 300 Corporate Place, Rocky Hill, CT 06067 or by bringing their comments to the public forum.

Although the appointment of the Chief State’s Attorney has been done in public session in the past, this year’s process is the first since the enactment of Public Act 19-59, which specifically requires the Criminal Justice Commission to meet in public session at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford for any meeting where the sole purpose is the appointment, reappointment or discipline of the Chief State’s Attorney, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney or a State’s Attorney.

Established pursuant to Article XXIII of the Connecticut Constitution, the Criminal Justice Commission is responsible for the appointment of all state prosecutors in Connecticut. In addition to Justice McDonald, its membership includes Superior Court Judge Melanie L. Cradle and attorneys Robert M. Berke, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Scott J. Murphy and Moy N. Ogilvie. The Chief State’s Attorney is also a member of the Commission but does not participate in the appointment of the Chief State’s Attorney or Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys.