Sewage running downhill in the CT Judicial Branch?:
April 8, 2008
HARTFORD, Conn. - As she met with judges during her first year in the state's top judicial job, Chief Justice Chase Rogers heard the same concern over and over: There's a lack of security in Connecticut courthouses.
Judges across Connecticut, particularly those working in older buildings, confided that they don't feel safe.
"They shouldn't," Rogers said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "There's not adequate security for these buildings."
In some courthouses, judges can suddenly find themselves walking past criminal defendants in the same hallway. Many family courts, where heated debates over child custody matters are commonplace, often have no judicial marshals at all.
"My fear is, we can't wait until something terrible happens before we get this straightened out," Rogers said. "This is the sort of thing that does keep me up at night."
The issue drew attention in 2005, when a retired state trooper killed his estranged wife and seriously injured her lawyer before turning the gun on himself in the Middletown Superior Court parking lot. The incident prompted calls for additional courthouse security, but led to few lasting changes.
"For whatever reason, it didn't stick," Rogers said.
Rogers has asked Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the legislature for $1.2 million, enough to hire a new 35-member class of marshals. But the funding did not appear in either the governor's or the Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee budget. Lawmakers and Rell have until May 7 to hash out an agreement on a revised budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Officials estimate that the courts need 920 marshals, but there are only about 720. On any given day, that number could be down by 100 due to leaves of absence, workers compensation or vacation, court officials said.
Since she was sworn into office on April 25, 2007, Rogers has focused much of her attention on improving the core functions of the state's judicial system.
She formed a 42-member Public Service and Trust Commission, which has held more than 90 focus group sessions and spent thousands of hours on a three- to five-year strategic plan for the branch that is due to be released soon.
The ideas range from making sure all courthouses open at 8:30 a.m. to reaching out to minority law students and encouraging them to seek judgeships or apply for Judicial Branch jobs.
The group is looking at how the courts can best deal with the state's changing demographics and the need for more language interpreters. The branch is already trying out a new phone system where court proceedings can be translated over the phone.
"It was scary enough for me as a lawyer to go into court. Can you imagine if you don't understand what's happening simply because you don't understand the language and can't read the signs?" Rogers asked.
Rogers has also asked her commission to re-examine how judges are evaluated. The current system has not been changed in about 20 years. She also wants to create a new judicial ethics panel that will help guide judges who have ethical concerns, such as whether it is appropriate to attend fundraisers.
In the meantime, Rogers has created a new mentoring program to help new judges and welcomed news cameras in the state's courtrooms. So far, she said, the experiment has gone well. The first televised trial will likely involved a deadly 2005 truck crash on Avon Mountain.
Rogers acknowledges said one of the most enjoyable parts of her new job has been presiding over the state Supreme Court, where she's written more than 30 decisions.
"It's hard for me to even describe it. It's a life's dream to be able to sit and immerse myself in these cases and think about these cases and write these decisions," she said. "My favorite part of the day is when I get to sit down and start reading and really thinking about the issues and the cases."
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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My comment posted to the above Hartford Courant piece:
I was near a Connecticut courthouse last week.
I played a "fly on the wall".
What could have been overheard by others:
Justice Angelo Santanello really runs things in all courts in Connecticut. He may even decide the outcomes of future cases before they are heard. Santanello allegedly works in Chase T. Rogers' office and is # 2.
Judicial Manager Joe D'Alessio or D'Angelo allegedly is an "enforcer", as there are possibly more than half of judicial branch employees that have no duties or responsibilities other than spying on judicial branch employees that actually do work for their pay, tax dollars. Give a judicial "special employee" a dirty work and you will be escorted out of a court or judicial building by a Marshal, fired or put on leave.
Joe's daughter is allegedly Maria Kewer married to high ranking Connecticut State Police Officer William "Bill" Kewer.
This is allegedly just one of the connections where the brass at Connecticut State Police can shepherd trials, criminal and civil, against officers, and their friends and operatives.
Judicial Branch employees are allegedly encouraged to commit fraud and bilk taxpayers anyway possible, so that as they rise dirt can surface. Those that are dirty are team players and will help retaliate against whistleblowers to prevent being fired for legitimate reasons.
"Temporary" judicial branch workers might be encouraged to provide a false address at the other side of Connecticut to where they are working to bilk taxpayers for fraudulent milege charges billed to taxpayers, maybe $1000/month for each temporary judicial branch employee part of this scam. Scams and fraud perpetrated on taxpayers possibly go on with full knowledge and participation all the way to the top.
Bid rigging for court cleaning contracts and the company called Fusco should be looked into.
The "P" Bureau under the head of the former USSR isn't as sleazy and devious as so many members of the Connecticut Judicial Branch.
Possibly related to what could have been overheard this past week is a video I shot of two judicial branch employees blowing the whistle on felonies being committed in the judicial branch:
Everyone shown on the panel of the video should be arrested for these crimes if they did nothing after hearing the testimony:
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The Judicial Branch sealed "public comment" from an internal evaluation of themselves. It is a taxpayer scam that this "survey" was conducted. Here is a publicly funded farce, a hearing where the Judicial Branch in Connecticut gave themselves straight A's:
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