Chief State’s Attorney’s Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of January 23, 2012
Office of the Chief State’s Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

The meeting was called to order at 12:38 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 David I. Cohen (Stamford-Norwalk), Michael Dearington (New Haven), Patricia M. Froehlich (Windham); Matthew C. Gedansky (Tolland), Gail P. Hardy (Hartford), Kevin D. Lawlor (Ansonia-Milford), Maureen Platt (Waterbury), Brian W. Preleski (New Britain), Michael L. Regan (New London), Stephen Sedensky (Danbury), and John C. Smriga (Fairfield) and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Barbara Hoffman (Middlesex).

Also present: Executive Assistant State’s Attorneys Brian Austin, Jr., and Michael A. Gailor, Mark A. Dupuis, Division of Criminal Justice Communications Officer, Francis J. Carino, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney for Juvenile Matters, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Kennedy, G.A. No. 10, Jim Taggart, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Chris Burke, Southeastern Mental Health Authority.

State’s Attorney Gedansky made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 19, 2011, meeting. State’s Attorney Sedensky seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Training Committee Report: State’s Attorney Froehlich reported that the committee met and discussed the following topics: training with regard to individual prosecutorial discretion and the leadership role of the State’s Attorney with regard to prosecutorial discretion; the need for a formal mentoring program; revamping the annual prosecutor training program; monthly training roundtable programs; conducting a survey on topics for training; streamlining the training application form; and acknowledging training as part of the annual employee evaluation in that the training requirement is statutory.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported that the annual accounting of training for individual prosecutors will be distributed to the State’s Attorneys shortly. At the last annual accounting 85 percent of prosecutors had met the annual training requirement, up from approximately 50 percent in the previous period.

Francis J. Carino, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney for Juvenile Matters, reported on the impact of legislation effective in October 2011 requiring an Order for Detention for all juveniles. Such an order was not previously required if the juvenile was charged with a Serious Juvenile Offense (SJO). In the three months prior to the new law taking effect 60 juveniles charged with SJOs were sent to detention centers; in the three months after only 15 were. A memo is being sent to all Juvenile Matters prosecutors asking them to raise this issue with police departments in their jurisdictions; the State’s Attorneys will follow up with Juvenile Matters prosecutors.

Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Kennedy led a presentation on the Veterans Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program. The program, now operating in the G.A. courts at New London, Norwich and Danielson, is operated by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and Southeastern Mental Health Authority (SMHA). Jim Taggart and Chris Burke participated in the presentation and answered questions.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Russotto reported  that it is too early to determine the impact of the latest state budget projections of a diminished state surplus.

Operations Committee Report: Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Boyle reported that the committee is reviewing proposed policies on the criminal convictions of public officials and search and seizures involving attorney-client privileged information. Mr. Boyle distributed a memorandum on the United States Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Jones concerning the need for a warrant to place a GPS device on a vehicle.

Management Committee Report: State’s Attorney Platt reported that the committee met and raised the following topics: discussion of a Division of Criminal Justice ethics policy; improving morale within the Division; various means for disciplining employees; improving the process for evaluating employees; distinguishing between the Division’s short- and long-term goals; and management training.

Legislative Committee Report: Chief State’s Attorney Kane distributed copies of letters to the Co-Chairs and Ranking Members of the General Assembly’s Judiciary and Public Safety and Security committees submitting the Division’s legislative proposals for the 2012 Regular Session. Mr. Kane expressed appreciation to the Judicial Branch for apparent progress in discussions on proposed habeas reform legislation.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane led a discussion of new court rules governing the media recording and photographing of criminal court proceedings. Concern was expressed for the safety of witnesses exposed to media coverage. The State’s Attorneys should report specific incidents of concern to the Chief State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorneys should also ask the presiding Judge in their Judicial District to provide copies of all requests for coverage prior to the court’s action on such requests.

Chief State’s Attorney Kane reported on the Connecticut Bar Association Ethics Committee consideration of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct section 3.8 (g) and (h). The matter was referred to the Operations Committee to develop an alternative proposal for submission to the Ethics Committee. Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Boyle will inquire of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) concerning such rules in other states and any NDAA position on the ABA model rule.

Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Austin reported on upcoming training opportunities. The Division is also looking for a volunteer to serve on the Coalition for Drug Endangered Children.

State’s Attorney Froehlich reported that she will attend the NDAA Capital Conference in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of the Connecticut congressional delegation. Her priority will be to seek federal funding for training programs.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:32 p.m.