Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of August 29, 2011

Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

The meeting was called to order at 12:50 p.m. by Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane.

Also in attendance were: Deputy Chief State’s Attorneys Leonard C. Boyle (Operations) and John J. Russotto (Personnel, Finance and Administration); State’s Attorneys Patricia M. Froehlich (Windham), Gail P. Hardy (Hartford), Kevin D. Lawlor (Ansonia-Milford), Scott J. Murphy (New Britain), Maureen Platt (Waterbury) and David Shepack (Litchfield); Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorneys James Bernardi (Stamford-Norwalk) and John Waddock (New Haven); and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Russell Zentner (Middlesex).

Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Austin, Jr., Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Communications Officer Mark A. Dupuis, and guest Major William Podgorski of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane introduced Major Podgorski for a report on the current situation at the Forensic Laboratory. Major Podgorski reported that the concerns are strictly administrative in nature and that the quality of work done by the laboratory is not affected. The laboratory expects to receive full accreditation by the end of September. Due to constraints imposed by the FBI, the laboratory is currently processing DNA only in emergency cases. Immediate questions concerning DNA issues should be addressed to Kenneth Zercie, and questions about the accreditation issue should be directed to Dr. Carll Ladd. The laboratory staff is available to testify as needed on motions or other court matters related to the laboratory. The Chief State’s Attorney will serve on a working group appointed by the Governor to examine laboratory issues.

It was agreed that each State’s Attorney will designate someone in their Judicial District who can be contacted by the laboratory when it is about to begin testing in a particular case to determine if the testing is still needed. The names will be forwarded to Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Boyle.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Boyle reported that Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Gailor, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Sugrue of the Appellate Bureau and Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Tanaka of the Financial Crimes Bureau are available to respond to prosecutor inquiries when motions or petitions are filed challenging DNA testing.

State’s Attorney Shepack made a motion, seconded by State’s Attorney Platt, to accept the minutes of the July 18, 2011, meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that seven probationary employees (five attorneys, one clerical employee and one Investigator) and 33 per diem employees are scheduled to be terminated at the close of business on August 31, 2011. The Division is continuing efforts to have these layoffs rescinded. All permanent employees who received layoff notices are expected to have those notices rescinded.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane reported that he met with Governor Malloy on August 26, 2011. The need for additional emphasis on solving crimes at the “front end” of the criminal justice system was cited. The Chief State’s Attorney cited the exemplary work of the Hartford shooting team under the direction of Chief Inspector James Rovella. Shootings in Hartford declined 70 percent since the team was inaugurated in July.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that the Division will submit its proposals for refilling vacant positions to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) on September 14, 2011. Two years ago the Division had 539 authorized positions; today the number stands at 460 and falling. The State’s Attorneys should submit to Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto any additional information concerning vacancies prior to the September submission to OPM.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane reported on an exchange of letters between Victim Advocate Michele Cruz and the Deputy Chief Court Administrator, Judge Patrick L. Carroll, III, regarding the continuance of cases without notification to victims. It was noted that in some instances court clerk’s offices grant continuances without notifying the prosecutor. It was suggested that victims be advised to utilize the Judicial Branch’s VINE automated victim notification system, which automatically notifies participants when a continuation is granted.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane distributed copies of an opinion column published in the Connecticut Law Tribune by the formerly Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Mark Dubois. There was discussion of how the Division should deal with allegations of prosecutorial impropriety as well as impropriety on the part of defense attorneys. It was recommended that the State’s Attorneys provide transcripts documenting offending remarks, conduct, by defense attorneys to the Chief Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:28 p.m.