Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of July 15, 2019
Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane called the meeting to order at 12:40 p.m.

In attendance were: Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys Kevin D. Lawlor and John J. Russotto; State’s Attorneys Richard J. Colangelo, Jr. (Stamford/Norwalk), Michael A. Gailor (Middlesex), Matthew C. Gedansky (Tolland), Patrick J. Griffin (New Haven), Gail P. Hardy (Hartford), Anne F. Mahoney (Windham), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), Brian Preleski (New Britain), Michael L. Regan (New London), Stephen J. Sedensky III (Danbury), David Shepack (Litchfield), John C. Smriga and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Howard S. Stein (Ansonia/Milford).

Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Austin, Jr., legislative liaison Wilfred Blanchette, Jr., and Communications and Legislative Specialist Mark A. Dupuis.

State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 17, 2019, meeting. State’s Attorney Hardy seconded the motion and it passed with no opposition.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane congratulated State’s Attorney Shepack on his August 1, 2019, retirement and thanked him for his service and as a terrific asset and resource to the Judicial District of Litchfield, Division of Criminal Justice and the State of Connecticut as a prosecutor for 35 years and as State’s Attorney since April 2003.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported the Division continues to move forward with filling vacancies. The Criminal Justice Commission will meet July 22, 2019, and August 1, 2019, to fill prosecutor positions in Danbury, Norwalk and Milford. The commission also plans to discuss the designation of an interim State’s Attorney following Mr. Shepack’s retirement. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto is continuing work on job descriptions for the Chief State’s Attorney, Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys and State’s Attorneys.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto introduced Catherine Riberio, who recently transferred to the Division as Director of Human Resources after 20 years with the Department of Correction. Ms. Riberio said one of her first priorities is to establish electronic self-reporting of employee attendance and leave requests. The State’s Attorneys did not object. The State’s Attorneys are encouraged to contact Ms. Riberio with any questions or concerns regarding human resources.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane reported on the implementation of Public Act 19-59, An Act Increasing Fairness and Transparency in the Criminal Justice System. He requested that Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor, State’s Attorney Gailor, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti, Jr., and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Paul J. Narducci serve on a committee to refine the data that will be collected by the Division pursuant to the public act and to integrate the collection with the Case Management System. The committee will seek input from Geographical Area personnel as well.

Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT) are scheduled to meet with the State’s Attorneys to discuss implementation of P.A. 19-59. The Chief State’s Attorney will write the ACLU-CT explaining the need for a statewide process that recognizes the unique characteristics of each Judicial District.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor reported on an increase in the number of petitions for new trials following the enactment of Public Act 18-61 (General Statutes Section 52-282). Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor will pursue training opportunities and updates of resource materials from the Civil Litigation and Appellate bureaus to assist the State’s Attorneys in responding to these petitions.

State’s Attorney Preleski reported on the Conviction Integrity Review Protocol approved at the February meeting. The Chief State’s Attorney will send copies to the Chief Public Defender and the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and issue a public announcement of the protocol. Each Judicial District is asked to designate one prosecutor to be available to participate in the review process.

The State’s Attorneys are asked to review a training video produced by the City of Houston, Texas, on responding to active shooter incidents to determine if the video should be made available to Division employees.

State’s Attorney Preleski presented the proposed policy on Pretrial Release, Bail and Revocation of Release as approved by the Operations Committee. State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to adopt the policy. State’s Attorney Griffin seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The policy will be added to the DCJ Policies Portfolio and distributed to all prosecutors.

State’s Attorney Preleski reported the Operations Committee is working on revisions to Division Policy 509, Guidelines for Investigation of the Use of Physical Force Pursuant to General Statutes Section 51-277a, to reflect Public Act 19-90, An Act Concerning the Use of Force and Pursuits by Police and Increasing Police Accountability and Transparency. The committee plans to have the revisions ready for a vote at the September meeting.

State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that the Management Committee is updating surveys utilized in the development of strategic business plans for the State’s Attorneys.

State’s Attorney Mahoney reported that the Training Committee will meet in August to finalize plans for a September training.

State’s Attorney Hardy volunteered for appointment to the Connecticut Sentencing Commission in succession to State’s Attorney Shepack following his retirement.

State’s Attorney Mahoney reported that the analysts hired under the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant to examine older sexual assault cases where testing of evidence are asking for a letter to police departments explaining the project. Chief State’s Attorney Kane will send the letter.

State’s Attorney Sedensky and others raised concerns about the Connecticut State Police distributing information to the news media about evidence in pending criminal investigations without approval of the State’s Attorney. There were also concerns about unauthorized release of information in pending investigations. Chief State’s Attorney Kane will pursue the matter with the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

There being no further business, State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to adjourn. State’s Attorney Sedensky seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 2:38 p.m.