Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of Meeting of July 20, 2020

The meeting was called to order at 12:32 p.m. by Chief State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr. The meeting was conducted remotely utilizing Zoom software in accordance with directives issued by the Governor because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also present: Deputy Chief State’s Attorney for Operations Kevin D. Lawlor; Deputy Chief State’s Attorney for Personnel, Finance and Administration John J. Russotto, State’s Attorneys Margaret E. Kelley (Ansonia/Milford), Stephen J. Sedensky III (Danbury), Joseph T. Corradino (Fairfield), Gail P. Hardy (Hartford), Dawn Gallo (Litchfield), Michael A. Gailor (Middlesex), Brian Preleski (New Britain), Patrick J. Griffin (New Haven), Michael L. Regan (New London), Paul J. Ferencek (Stamford/Norwalk), Matthew C. Gedansky (Tolland), and Anne F. Mahoney (Windham).

Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys Sharmese Walcottt and Brett Salafia, legislative liaison Wilfred Blanchette, Jr., Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Don Therkildsen, Jr., Training Program Coordinator Vasi Gournaris and Director of Communications Alaine Griffin.

Acceptance of the minutes was waived until the August meeting.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported on the Division’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including discussion about the ongoing use of Teams software for pending cases, plans for teleconferencing, a statewide shortage of court interpreters, the use of virtual private network capabilities, meeting with victims and victims’ advocates using Teams software and possible surveys for employees regarding COVID-19 concerns.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo discussed having State’s Attorneys handle infractions that occurred before March 19 and centralizing post-March 19 infractions. He also provided an update on the Case Management System (CMS).

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto said there was no significant budget update.

Wilfred Blanchette provided an update on reaction to proposed police accountability legislation that will go before the General Assembly in a special session. He said several amendments will likely be proposed. He said a new proposal following the July 17, 2020 public hearing had not yet been released.

In regard to the proposed police accountability legislation, State’s Attorney Sedensky asked if any of the State’s Attorneys were opposed to supporting qualified immunity. No one responded against. It was suggested that the State’s Attorneys write a letter in support of qualified immunity and send it to legislators. State’s Attorney Sedensky said he would draft a letter and send it out for review.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo introduced Vasi Gournaris as the new Training Program Coordinator. She discussed working with the State’s Attorneys on creating employee training programs.

State’s Attorney Mahoney said she would pass on information she learned at a recent online prosecutors’ conference about how other states are dealing with outreach and employee retention regarding diversity and inclusion and managing cases in the wake of the pandemic.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo said he would set up meeting times in August for the State’s Attorneys to meet with Kenya Rutland, principal of KJR Consulting, to discuss organizational development and training at the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Walcott said that the Police Officer Standards and Training Council is looking for instructors and she would be sending out surveys polling prosecutors about their various skills and expertise.

There being no further business State’s Attorney Gailor moved to adjourn. State’s Attorney Mahoney seconded the motion and it passed with no one in opposition. The meeting adjourned at 1:22 p.m.