Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of September 30, 2019
Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane called the meeting to order at 12:39 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), 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 John C. Smriga (Fairfield) and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Dawn Gallo (Litchfield) and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Stacey Miranda (New Haven).

Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys Brian Austin, Jr., and Amy L. Bepko and Communications and Legislative Specialist Mark A. Dupuis.

State’s Attorney Colangelo made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 26, 2019, meeting. State’s Attorney Platt seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane welcomed Attorney Miranda.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported the Division continues to move forward with filling vacancies. He asked for patience as the high level of hiring activity has increased demands on the Human Resources Unit. State’s Attorney Platt commended the Human Resources personnel for assistance with a recent hiring.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane reported that the Legislative Committee is inviting input from Division personnel in developing the legislative recommendations for the 2020 session of the General Assembly.

State’s Attorney Sedensky raised concerns about the ability of the state to prosecute individuals in the custody of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and whether legislation is needed to address the situation. State’s Attorney Platt reported on a case where the defendant was deported with a pending state case unresolved.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane reported on Section 5 of Public Act 19-59 which requires that the Criminal Justice Commission meet in public session at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford when the sole purpose of the meeting is the appointment, reappointment or discipline of the Chief State’s Attorney or a Deputy Chief State’s Attorney or State’s Attorney. The Commission will meet October 11, 2019, at the LOB for the appointment of the Litchfield State’s Attorney. The Commission has not announced which candidates it will interview. The Commission has requested a formal job specification of the Chief State’s Attorney. There has been none since the position was created in 1974.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor reported on matters referred to the Chief State’s Attorney by counsel to the Rules Committee of the Superior Court seeking Division comment concerning discovery in criminal cases and notification of victims of their rights.

The committee previously appointed to review discovery issues will meet to draft a response noting the significant issues that go beyond the Division and include impact on the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory, law enforcement agencies and the private defense bar. State’s Attorneys are encouraged to alert the private bar in their jurisdictions of this matter and its implications.

The Division will respond to the Rules Committee expressing concerns about the proposed change to notification of victims of their rights and its inappropriate intrusion into Rule 3.8 of the Professional Rules of Practice. It was agreed the notification properly rests with the Judicial Branch.

State’s Attorney Platt recommended the Division seek an advisory opinion on the sections of Public Act 19-157 providing for secret proceedings in criminal cases, including trials, of juveniles whose cases are transferred to the Regular Docket of the Superior Court. Chief State’s Attorney Kane will consult with the Appellate Bureau.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor reported on an update to DCJ Policy 514, Immigration Enforcement and Civil Detainers, to reflect Public Acts 19-20 and 19-23 and an accompanying updated legal memorandum by Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Patterson of the Appellate Bureau.

State’s Attorney Mahoney moved to accept the revised policy. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Lawlor seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The Division hopes to provide training for Inspectors through the Office of Policy and Management. The policy and memorandum will be distributed to all employees and the State’s Attorneys are asked to directly inform staff of their responsibilities.

State’s Attorney Preleski reported on behalf of the Operations Committee on the draft of a new DCJ Policy on Cooperating Witnesses. State’s Attorney Gailor moved to accept the policy with a correction to change the “5” to a “C.” State’s Attorney Colangelo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. State’s Attorney Preleski will provide a template concerning cooperation agreements for use throughout the Division. The policy will be assigned a number and distributed to all employees. State’s Attorneys are asked to educate all staff about their responsibilities.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that Brian Austin is developing a form that will be used to track and document training and mentoring of newly hired prosecutors. The Division is also developing a comprehensive training program for newly hired prosecutors that will run one day a week for three consecutive weeks. The program will cover topics ranging from “nuts and bolts” to preparing for trial and ethics considerations.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that the development of the case management system (CMS) has passed another milestone. The vendor has completed the “mapping” necessary for the flow of documents through the CMS process. The next step will be to load past cases from the Judicial Branch for testing and a “hands-on” demonstration for the State’s Attorneys hopefully in December. The Division is still working to develop the official job specification and address collective bargaining considerations for proposed paralegal positions to assist with the implementation of CMS and other duties.

State’s Attorney Preleski announced that the Operations Committee would meet following the meeting.

There being no further business, State’s Attorney Colangelo moved to adjourn. State’s Attorney Platt seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 1:53 p.m.