Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of August 1, 2022

The meeting was called to order at 12:44 p.m. by Chief State’s Attorney Patrick J. Griffin.

Also present: Deputy Chief State’s Attorney of Administration, Personnel and Finance John J. Russotto, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney, Inspector General Robert J. Devlin, Jr., State’s Attorneys Margaret E. Kelley (Ansonia/Milford), David Applegate (Danbury), Joseph T. Corradino, (Fairfield), Sharmese L. Walcott (Hartford), David Shannon (Litchfield), Michael A. Gailor (Middlesex), John P. Doyle, Jr. (New Haven), Paul J. Narducci (New London), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), and Anne F. Mahoney (Windham).

Also Present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys Lisa D’Angelo and Brett Salafia, Chief Inspectors Frederick P. Haddad Jr. and Michael P. Sullivan, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney David Kutzner, Acting Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy J. Sugrue, Legislative Liaison Melanie Dykas, Executive Secretary Marisa DePhillips, Labor Relations Administrator AnneMarie Paone-Mullin and Manager of Research and Planning Kyle Baudoin.

State’s Attorney Kelley moved to accept the minutes of the July 11, 2022 meeting. State’s Attorney Platt seconded the motion. Upon discussion, State’s Attorney Corradino offered the following as a correction to the minutes: “Regarding legislative matters, State’s Attorney Corradino reported that he is seeing more people with no privilege refusing to testify in court. He suggested that the Division consider legislation that gives the court greater ability to punish witnesses who refuse to testify.”

State’s Attorney Gailor moved to accept the change, seconded by State’s Attorney Narducci. The motion passed unanimously.  State’s Attorney Kelley moved to accept the minutes as amended, State’s Attorney Corradino seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Chief State’s Attorney Griffin introduced and welcomed Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa D’Angelo, the Division’s first Director of the Office of Ethics and Professional Standards.  One of her first tasks will be to review current ethics policies, including the Division’s policies, as well as the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and American Bar Association (ABA) standards and the Federal model for prosecutors. The goal is to synthesize all and get a new policy to the Operations Committee for approval in the fall before the coming legislative session. 

Chief State’s Attorney Griffin said he has asked Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto and Director of Information Technology Naveen Prathikantam to develop specifications to outfit the Kevin T. Kane Training Center with cameras and audio equipment similar to that which is in the Legislative Office Building meeting rooms in Hartford.  The goal is to have state-of-the-art capacity for live meetings and trainings that can be both broadcast live and taped for future use.  Director of Information Technology Prathikantam has estimated a cost in the $100,000 range.

In September, Chief State’s Attorney Griffin said the Division is anticipating an infusion of trial judges sent to the Hartford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, and Milford Judicial Districts. To help with staffing shortages and the recent wave of retirements of experienced prosecutors at the Division, retired Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Scheinblum has agreed to return to the Division to answer trial practice questions or any complex issues which may arise. Chief State’s Attorney Griffin said many of the Appellate Bureau attorneys are willing to assist with trials and he suggested that State’s Attorneys coordinate the Judicial District’s needs through Acting Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Sugrue. Similarly, the Division is redeploying some of the Rocky Hill-based inspectors to help with trials, as needed.

Regarding discussion of the Jailhouse Witness/Cooperating Witness forms developed by State’s Attorney Corradino, Chief State’s Attorney Griffin conducted an informal poll of the State’s Attorneys and they agreed that the forms, once they are slightly amended by State’s Attorney Corradino, should be adopted. The goal is to be ready to vote on this at the September meeting.  Executive Assistant State’s Attorney D’Angelo will develop training to ensure that the implementation and use is uniform throughout the Division.  

State’s Attorney Corradino asked if the Division’s Director of Information Technology could research the efficacy of new generation transcription software.  Chief State’s Attorney Griffin agreed it is a solution worth investigating but the Division has to have confidence in its accuracy.

No new news on COVID-19 matters other than that the numbers continue to fluctuate. Regarding the budget, the Division is unable to obtain any new vehicles at this time so State’s Attorneys were urged to take optimal care of state vehicles and were asked to require that Inspectors do the same since repairs rather than replacement will be the likely result when vehicles are not functioning properly. 

State’s Attorney Gailor asked for an October 1, 2022, deadline for any legislative proposals and Legislative Liaison Dykas asked for a Legislative Committee meeting in September.  A meeting date will be scheduled.

In other business, the Block Chain and Crypto Currency Policy, developed by Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor, which had taken a back seat to the Body-Worn Camera Policy, will be on the September meeting’s agenda. 

In response to questions posed by Chief Neil Dryfe, President of the Connecticut Chiefs of Police Association, regarding the confusion surrounding Red Flag Notices, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Rocco Chiarenza wrote a memo and put together a power point presentation for training police officers.  It was presented to the Operations Committee, passed unanimously and recommended to be placed on the agenda for the State’s Attorney Meeting. State’s Attorney Kelley moved to adopt and State’s Attorney Platt seconded. State’s Attorney Gailor had a question regarding retention rules which Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Sugrue clarified by adding that Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney John Lion has written supplementary material to clarify Red Flag Rules for Prosecutors. The motion then passed unanimously. Chief State’s Attorney Griffin said that this will form the basis for police training and how the Division will proceed going forward.  He complimented Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Chiarenza for his efforts.  Police departments will receive the power point presentation and prosecutors will assist with training.  Questions should be directed to Executive Assistant State’s Attorney D’Angelo.

Chief State’s Attorney Griffin recognized newly appointed Danbury State’s Attorney David Applegate attending his first State’s Attorney Meeting. 

The Training Committee is planning for a Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney boot camp in December for all newly appointed DASAs.  The committee is also working on a curriculum for second-year and third-year trainings for newer prosecutors. 

Chief State’s Attorney Griffin suggested that State’s Attorneys schedule a meeting in August to discuss solutions to making Case Management work for everyone.

State’s Attorney Platt reported that the Operations Committee had discussions on body-worn cameras and the redacting of sensitive information captured on footage, including the identities of any confidential informants, along with the need for coordination and communication with the Connecticut State Police. 

Chief State’s Attorney Griffin raised the question of whether the handling of infractions should go back to the Judicial Districts.  State’s Attorneys asked if Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Salafia could compile numbers and statistics to help in their decision making.  There are not enough magistrates and the Judicial Branch is still doing remote hearings. This is unlikely to change in the near future.

The issue of bail reform and bonds set for gun possession/gun discharge was discussed.  Chief State’s Attorney Griffin said he plans to meet with new Chief Public Defender TaShun Bowden-Lewis to discuss what can be done to reduce the number of pre-trial detainees as 80% are being held on bonds of $100,000 or less. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney, Inspector General Devlin said this is something that had been worked on for years and the numbers are fairly consistent at about 3,000 detainees at any given time. 

There being no further business, State’s Attorney Gailor made a motion to adjourn. State’s Attorney Corradino seconded the motion and it passed without opposition. The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m.