Criminal Justice Commission

Minutes of the Special Meeting of February 9, 2022

Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
300 Corporate Place
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

The Honorable Andrew J. McDonald, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. In addition to Justice McDonald, participating in the meeting were: The Honorable Melanie L. Cradle, Attorneys Reginald Dwayne Betts, Scott Murphy and Moy Ogilvie. Also present was Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist Janice duFrend. Chief State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr. and Attorney Robert Berke were absent.

Attorney Murphy moved to accept the minutes of the January 31, 2022 meeting. Attorney Ogilvie seconded the motion and it passed 4-0, with Judge Cradle abstaining.

Justice McDonald discussed a report and February 2, 2022 letter sent to the Commission from Gov. Ned Lamont that asked the Commission to consider making recommendations to the Division of Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the Legislature for potential policy changes and/or statutory changes that the Commission thinks is advisable. Justice McDonald asked the Commission to consider such changes and he asked Attorney Murphy, who is on the Advisory Board, to compile the Commission’s recommendations for submission to the Governor within 30 days.

Attorney Ogilvie moved to enter into executive session to discuss personnel matters related to the Chief State’s Attorney. Attorney Murphy seconded the motion and it passed by a unanimous vote. The executive session began at 3:06 p.m. Three lawyers from the Office of the Attorney General were present for the executive session.

The executive session ended at 3:56 p.m. Justice McDonald announced that no motions were made or votes taken during the executive session. Justice McDonald discussed a letter the Commission received from Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo stating that he planned to retire from his position effective March 31, 2022, and a letter Justice McDonald said he asked Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo to sign that confirms he will use his remaining time in office focused on his administrative duties, transferring his many and substantial projects to others within the Division of Criminal Justice, and that he will not continue to prosecute or investigate any cases, but will only relay relevant information about them to prosecutors to ensure the continuity and integrity of those cases and to fulfill his duties under the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Justice McDonald thanked Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo for his nearly three decades of service to the state and for “doing the right thing today under very difficult circumstances.”

Attorney Murphy said accepting Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo’s retirement was the “proper thing” for the Commission to do. In the event he had not decided to retire, Attorney Murphy said he was confident that the Commission was prepared to begin proceedings to remove the Chief State’s Attorney from his office, which would be a lengthy process that “would have continued well past March 31.”

Attorney Betts moved to appoint Deputy Chief State’s Attorney John J. Russotto as interim Chief State’s Attorney effective on April 1, 2022. Judge Cradle seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

There being no further business, Attorney Betts moved to adjourn the meeting. Judge Cradle seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.