Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting
Minutes of the Meeting of December 16, 2019
Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Acting Chief State’s Attorney John J. Russotto called the meeting to order at 12:38 p.m.
Also in attendance were: Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor; State’s Attorneys Richard J. Colangelo, Jr. (Stamford/Norwalk), Michael A. Gailor (Middlesex), Dawn Gallo (Litchfield), 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), Michael L. Regan (New London), Stephen J. Sedensky III (Danbury) and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti, Jr. (Fairfield).
Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Austin, Jr., legislative liaison Wilfred Blanchette and Communications and Legislative Specialist Mark A. Dupuis.
State’s Attorney Gailor made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 20, 2019, meeting. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition.
State’s Attorney Preleski moved to amend the agenda to add “10. Executive Session – Update on labor/management negotiations.” State’s Attorney Colangelo seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition.
Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto introduced Marc Pelka, Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning in the Office of Policy and Management, for a progress report on OPM analysis for the collection of data for implementation of Public Act 19-59. Also participating were Ivan Kuzyk, Policy Development Coordinator, and Kendall Bobula, Associate Research Analyst.
Undersecretary Pelka reported that OPM has asked to make a similar presentation to the Criminal Justice Commission. OPM believes the collection of data envisioned under P.A. 19-59 is the most expansive in the country.
Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto introduced Claudine Fox, campaign manager for the American Civil Liberties Union Connecticut Smart Justice campaign, who reported on meetings the ACLU held with 12 of the 13 State’s Attorneys. A list of ten questions concerning the Division of Criminal Justice Case Management System (CMS) was read. Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that the Division will respond to the questions, although it may not be able to do so by the deadline imposed by the ACLU given the other demands on the Division and, in particular, the staff assigned to the CMS project. Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto welcomed the ACLU input and noted that while the Division shares many of the same concerns a major issue remains the lack of resources to address those concerns.
Undersecretary Pelka stated that OPM does not expect the Division of Criminal Justice to collect and record on paper certain information included in P.A. 19-59 that neither OPM nor the Division has a capacity to analyze. Undersecretary Pelka stated OPM does not believe the public act to require manual entry of data that will become collected electronically as the CMS goes into operation. Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto said the Division will work with OPM to clarify this matter and if necessary to seek legislative action.
The meeting recessed at 2:20 p.m. for a break and resumed at 2:37 p.m.
Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto said there was nothing new to report on the budget.
Legislative liaison Blanchette reported the State’s Attorneys’ Legislative Committee would meet following this meeting.
Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor reported that he and State’s Attorneys Colangelo and Gailor met with Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander to discuss proposals before the Rules Committee of the Superior Court. Discussions regarding discovery in criminal cases will continue and another meeting is anticipated in January.
State’s Attorney Hardy reported on the Connecticut Sentencing Commission to which she has been appointed in succession to David Shepack following his retirement as State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Litchfield. State’s Attorney Hardy recommended that issues before the Sentencing Commission be brought before the State’s Attorneys’ Legislative Committee to develop the Division’s official position. Additional prosecutors are needed to serve on various Sentencing Commission subcommittees.
Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that the Criminal Justice Commission is scheduled to next meet on January 30, 2020, although a meeting could be scheduled earlier.
Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Austin thanked those who had participated in the first two sessions of training for Deputy Assistant State’s Attorneys and Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorneys. Additional sessions are planned.
State’s Attorney Colangelo reported on behalf of the Management Committee. Because of staff illness, the deadline will be extended for those State’s Attorneys still developing business plans. The committee is in the process of finalizing the new employee performance evaluation process.
The State’s Attorneys were asked to submit to Acting Chief State’s Attorney Russotto by December 23, 2019, what they believe should be the top three priorities for the Division under the new Chief State’s Attorney.
State’s Attorney Preleski reported for the Operations Committee:
- The committee is working on model language for search and seizure warrants for electronic devices.
- The committee is working to clearly define what constitutes testimony for purposes of “jailhouse witnesses” under Public Acts 19-132 and 131.
- For the immediate future, investigations into the use of deadly force by Connecticut State Police will be conducted by teams consisting of one Division Inspector and one State Police detective. Inspectors will not be assigned to cases within the Judicial District where they are stationed. The State’s Attorneys are asked to designate Inspectors who would be available for such investigations.
The 2020 schedules of meetings for the State’s Attorneys’ Advisory Board, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting and the Criminal Justice Commission were distributed.
State’s Attorney Preleski moved to enter executive session to discuss labor/management negotiations. State’s Attorney Gedansky seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition. Also present for the executive session were Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Austin and Legislative and Communications Specialist Dupuis. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor moved to end the executive session. State’s Attorney Colangelo seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition. The executive session ended at 3:39 p.m. No other motions or votes were taken during the executive session.
State’s Attorney Preleski moved to adjourn. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition. The meeting adjourned at 3:39 p.m.