Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting
Minutes of the Meeting of May 2, 2022
The meeting was called to order at 1:15 p.m. by Acting Chief State’s Attorney John J. Russotto.
Also present: Deputy Chief State’s Attorney for Operations, Kevin D. Lawlor, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney, Inspector General Robert J. Devlin, Jr., State’s Attorneys Margaret E. Kelley (Ansonia/Milford), Stephen J. Sedensky, III (Danbury), Joseph T. Corradino, (Fairfield), Sharmese L. Walcott (Hartford), David Shannon (Litchfield), Michael A. Gailor (Middlesex), Patrick J. Griffin (New Haven) Paul J. Narducci (New London), Paul J. Ferencek (Stamford/Norwalk), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), and Anne F. Mahoney (Windham).
Also Present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys John P. Doyle, Jr., Gail P. Hardy and Brett Salafia, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Helen McLellan, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Sugrue, Labor Relations Administrator AnneMarie Paone-Mullin and Legislative Liaison Melanie Dykas.
State’s Attorney Gailor moved to accept the minutes of the April 4, 2022 meeting. State’s Attorney Narducci seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Sugrue led discussion about the Practice Book changes as a result of the recent Holmes decision and the impact that decision will have on jury challenges allowed. There will be a more in-depth discussion at the June Prosecutors’ training. The judges also have placed this topic on their agenda for their June training meetings. Addressing the adequacy of police investigations will be a topic at the June training. Division prosecutors train at the Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) for initial recruit classes and for recertification and the Division also will provide training on preparation for trials.
In discussion about the Division’s body-worn camera policy, Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto said the Division has contacted state vendors about costs, compatibility with current Information Technology systems and manpower needs. The Chief Inspectors have contacted POST about body-worn camera training for the Division’s Inspectors.
State’s Attorney Gailor was named the new representative to the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA). He said he and State’s Attorney Narducci are planning to attend the Association’s Denver conference.
A number of State’s Attorneys expressed concern about the uptick in COVID-19 reported cases within the courthouses but at present no operational needs have been affected.
Other discussion items of note included the passing of the budget by the legislature and with it, the approval of the collective bargaining agreements. A summary of the changes to our three collective bargaining agreements was provided and Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto also discussed other highlights of the budget that will affect the Division’s operations including additional funding for a Digital Evidence Management System; funding for the Case Management System; an additional $4.3 million for the next two years (AARPA monies) to support adding at least one Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney per judicial district. This is a critical need to help with the backlog of lower level cases and to give some leeway for the more seasoned prosecutors to work the more difficult cases. The administration is working with the Criminal Justice Commission to determine essential credentials and qualifications for Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney candidates.
State’s Attorney Griffin, chair of the Training Committee, reported on details of the June 9 all-day training. In addition to the already discussed topics, Vicarious Trauma and Implicit Bias will also be addressed. The State’s Attorneys discussed their plans and ideas for training sessions in their respective judicial districts.
Legislative Liaison Dykas provided a brief update on the last actions of the legislature with the session ending in May. She said she would provide a summary update once everything was settled on what legislation was approved.
State’s Attorney Ferencek inquired about the residency issue. Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto said he has heard verbally from the Attorney General’s office that they do not believe the oath taken by prosecutors poses any impediment or requirement to maintain state residency.
Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto confirmed that State’s Attorneys Sedensky and Ferencek planned to retire. He said the Criminal Justice Commission will appoint Acting State’s Attorneys in those judicial districts as well as in New Britain. The Commission will also work to fill Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney vacancies, he said.
There being no further business, State’s Attorney Gailor made a motion to adjourn. State’s Attorney Mahoney seconded the motion and it passed without opposition. The meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.