Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of March 16, 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 12:33 p.m. The meeting was conducted by telephone conference call in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Also participating were: Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys Kevin D. Lawlor and John J. Russotto; State’s Attorneys 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), Cornelius Kelly (Acting State’s Attorney – Fairfield), Anne F. Mahoney (Windham), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), Brian Preleski (New Britain), Michael L. Regan (New London) and 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.

Also participating: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys Brian Austin, Jr., and Amy Bepko, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek (Stamford/Norwalk) and Communications and Legislative Specialist Mark A. Dupuis.

State’s Attorney Platt made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 24, 2020, meeting. State’s Attorney Kelley seconded the motion and it passed with no opposition.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported on S.B. No. 462, An Act Concerning the Criminal Justice Commission and Accountability Within the Division of Criminal Justice. The State’s Attorneys unanimously agreed the Division should respectfully oppose the bill.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported on the Division’s response to the worldwide pandemic caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, and the impact on employees, law enforcement and the judicial system. The State’s Attorneys are advised to pursue further discussions with police departments addressing concerns with exercising health and safety precautions. The Governor has authorized 14 days of leave time for employees impacted by the virus. Employee requests for special accommodations must be reviewed by the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorneys should exercise their own discretion concerning issues within their Judicial Districts.

State’s Attorney Preleski reported that the Operations Committee continues its review of best practices for the preparation of search warrants for electronic devices.

Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Austin reported that all scheduled trainings through April were canceled because of the pandemic. The Annual Professional Development Conference for Prosecutors is still scheduled for June. Expanded training opportunities in the areas of implicit bias and use of comfort dogs in courtrooms are being explored.

Management Committee: State’s Attorney Gailor had no report.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that Frederick Haddad, Supervisory Inspector in the Judicial District of New Britain, has been appointed Chief Inspector, succeeding James Hankard, who retired.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that because of the COVID-19 pandemic the Criminal Justice Commission has postponed the meeting scheduled for March 19, 2020, to appoint the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Fairfield. Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo has initiated discussions with the Commission concerning possible streamlining of the hiring process for new prosecutors.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo recommended that the State’s Attorneys maximize use of the online process for resolving infractions to reduce the number of people who must come to court particularly in light of the pandemic. The State’s Attorneys can continue employment interviews and may conduct them by telephone. The Division should take advantage of “down time” caused by the pandemic to review existing case files and focus on other work outside of the courtrooms.

Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo reported that the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut had written the Governor requesting an executive order to require release of prison inmates and limit arrests because of the pandemic.

There being no further business, State’s Attorney Sedensky moved to adjourn. State’s Attorney Mahoney seconded the motion and it passed without opposition and the meeting adjourned at 1:23 p.m.