Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting
Minutes of the Meeting of February 24, 2020
Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Chief State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr., called the meeting to order at 12:14 p.m.
Also in attendance were: Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys Kevin D. Lawlor and John J. Russotto; State’s Attorneys Michael A. Gailor (Middlesex), Dawn Gallo (Litchfield), Patrick J. Griffin (New Haven), Gail P. Hardy (Hartford), Margaret E. Kelley (Ansonia/Milford), Cornelius Kelly (Acting State’s Attorney – Fairfield), Anne F. Mahoney (Windham), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), Brian Preleski (New Britain), Stephen J. Sedensky III (Danbury). Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo also attended in his capacity as acting State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk. State’s Attorneys Matthew C. Gedansky (Tolland) and Michael L. Regan (New London) had requested to be excused.
Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys Brian Austin, Jr., and Amy Bepko and Communications and Legislative Specialist Mark A. Dupuis.
State’s Attorney Gailor made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 27, 2020, meeting. State’s Attorney Sedensky seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition.
Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that he and Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo would be meeting with the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to present the Division’s priorities. The Governor’s proposed mid-term budget adjustments propose approximately a $160,000 reduction, which the Division should be able to manage due to inherent delays in filling vacant positions.
Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo led a discussion of H.B. No. 5019, An Act Concerning Fair Futures Following Erasure of Criminal Records, also referred to as the Governor’s “clean slate” legislation. There was consensus the Division should support the legislation, although some concerns were expressed about implementation and technical issues.
Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo asked the State’s Attorneys to prepare self-assessments of their job performance. The self-assessment he submitted to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane prior to his retirement will be distributed to the State’s Attorneys as an example. Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo and Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto plan to visit all Judicial Districts to meet employees and see first-hand staffing needs.
State’s Attorney Mahoney and Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Austin reported for the Training Committee. The comprehensive training program for Deputy Assistant State’s Attorneys and Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorneys is continuing. All sessions will be videotaped and available to all employees on the intranet site.
The Annual Professional Development Conference for Prosecutors will be held on June 8, 2020, at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. A minimum of four hours of training also should be scheduled in the Judicial Districts on June 11, 2020. The Connecticut Association of Prosecutors annual meeting is set for June 12, 2020.
Additional out-of-state training opportunities have become available and will be advertised to the State’s Attorneys and other staff.
State’s Attorney Preleski recommended that the Division again participate in the National District Attorneys Association Annual Summer Conference, noting the value of last year’s sessions. Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that he will be participating in a presentation on prosecutorial transparency.
Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that the Division has a proposal for a 5-hour training program for the State’s Attorneys on employee engagement and team building. A similar program incorporating information from the State’s Attorneys’ session will follow at a later date for Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorneys.
Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Austin reported that clerical staff will be surveyed on training issues. The Division is looking to provide two separate daylong training sessions for clerical employees this spring.
Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that State’s Attorney Gailor is the new chair of the State’s Attorneys’ Management Committee.
State’s Attorney Preleski reported that the Operations Committee continues its review of best practices for the preparation of search warrants for electronic devices. The State’s Attorneys are invited to offer suggestions on other topics the committee should review.
Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported on the implementation of Public Acts 19-131 and 132 regarding “jailhouse witnesses.” Several issues were reported with the system created by OPM to collect the information required under the acts. The State’s Attorneys are asked to notify the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney of problems with the system. The Operations Committee will look into establishing a standard form for collecting the information.
Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reminded those State’s Attorneys who have not completed business plans to do so to allow the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney to develop the overall plan for the Division.
State’s Attorney Gailor reported on implementation of the Case Management System (CMS). A year’s worth of data is being downloaded for testing and the hope is that the system will be up and running by the end of March in the first test location. The State’s Attorneys are asked to make investigators and clerical staff available to participate in future testing.
The State’s Attorneys are asked to provide input to the Appellate Bureau regarding the brain development of 18-year-olds vis-à-vis the considerations of Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010) and Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012).
Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that the Division must address audit findings concerning the documentation of the resolution of public complaints.
Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that he has established an advisory group to examine and recommend best practices for a conviction integrity process.
State’s Attorney Kelley raised concerns about obtaining transcripts of police interrogations in criminal investigations and prosecutions.
There being no further business, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto moved to adjourn. State’s Attorney Sedensky seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition and the meeting adjourned at 1:26 p.m.