Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of August 26, 2019
Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane called the meeting to order at 12:42 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), Margaret E. Kelley (Ansonia/Milford), Anne F. Mahoney (Windham), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), Brian Preleski (New Britain), Stephen J. Sedensky III (Danbury) and John C. Smriga (Fairfield) and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorneys Dawn Gallo (Litchfield) and Paul J. Narducci (New London).

Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Amy L. Bepko, legislative liaison Wilfred Blanchette, Jr., Communications and Legislative Specialist Mark A. Dupuis and Grants and Contracts Manager Mitchell S. Forman.

State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 15, 2019, meeting. State’s Attorney Kelley seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported the Division continues to move forward with filling vacancies. The Criminal Justice Commission will meet September 4, 2019, to consider prosecutor positions in Norwalk, Rockville and possibly Enfield and Manchester.

Wilfred Blanchette reported the State’s Attorneys’ Legislative Committee will meet after the September State’s Attorneys’ meetings to begin work on the 2020 legislative recommendations.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys Lawlor distributed an outline for the implementation of Public Act 19-59, An Act Increasing Fairness and Transparency in the Criminal Justice System. The Division of Criminal Justice will not report data until cases are disposed of and will examine further data collection to assure that all data collected is examined in the proper context.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys Lawlor and Russotto reported on the implementation of Public Acts 19-131 and 19-132 concerning the testimony of “jailhouse witnesses.” The Division will work to develop clear definitions for what must be reported and to assure security for the data.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor reported on an influx of requests of sentence modifications based on the passage of Public Act 18-63. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor will follow up with the Civil Litigation Bureau to formulate a uniform response to these requests.

State’s Attorney Preleski reported on behalf of the Operations Committee on revisions to Division Policy 509, Guidelines for Investigation of the Use of Physical Force Pursuant to General Statutes Section 51-277a, to incorporate statutory changes. State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to adopt the revised policy. State’s Attorney Platt seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

The Operations Committee will consider further refinements to the policy for the investigation of the incidents involving the Connecticut State Police. Chief State’s Attorney Kane and State’s Attorney Preleski will request a meeting with the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection to discuss the matter.

Grants and Contracts Manager Mitchell Forman reported on the Early Screening and Intervention program (ESI). The pilot program continues to produce promising results as measured by reduced court appearances and successful completion of programs. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) provided grant funding to continue resource counselors through September 2020. All State’s Attorneys are asked to consider how ESI principles can be extended to all judicial districts.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto distributed copies of DCJ Policy 221, Professional Development/Mentor Program, and reminded the State’s Attorneys of the importance of implementing this policy with the number of employees now being hired. DCJ is developing a tracking form for mentorship.

Chief Inspector James Hankard had recommended making a video produced by the City of Houston on responding to an active shooter incident available to all employees. There was no opposition.

State’s Attorney Colangelo reported for the Management Committee. The University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy is finishing work on an employee survey for use in the development of strategic business plans by the nine State’s Attorneys still developing plans. UConn will compile results. State’s Attorneys are reminded that their self-assessments are due to the Chief State’s Attorney this month.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that he is meeting with a consultant to develop a training program for the State’s Attorneys and other supervisors to develop a mechanism for examining challenges and ideas for improvements of DCJ operations.

State’s Attorney Mahoney reported for the Training Committee on upcoming training opportunities, including a formal training program for new Deputy Assistant State’s Attorneys. Volunteers are needed to fulfill various roles in the training sessions.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane announced under other business that he will retire effective November 1, 2019, after 47 years as a prosecutor. Chief State’s Attorney Kane thanked the State’s Attorneys for working together with the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office as a team. He stated his belief that Connecticut has the best system in that it has independently appointed prosecutors who are not subject to political influence. A round of applause followed his announcement.

There being no further business, State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to adjourn, which passed without opposition and the meeting adjourned at 2:28 p.m.