JUD Committee Hearing Transcript for 04/28/98
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<!-- field: HtmlTitle -->JUD Committee Hearing Transcript for 04/28/98
                                     April 28, 1998
gmh         JUDICIARY COMMITTEE      11:00 A.M.
PRESIDING CHAIRMAN: Senator Williams
MEMBERS PRESENT:
SENATORS:           Coleman, Upson, Kissel, Looney,
                    Somma
REPRESENTATIVES:    Lawlor, Scalettar, Farr,
                    Abrams, Amann, Bernhard,
                    Bysiewicz, Cafero, Cappiello,
                    Dandrow, Demarinis, Doyle,
                    Feltman, Fox, Fritz, Garcia,
                    Godfrey, Graziani, Green,
                    Hamzy, Jarjura, Martinez,
                    McCavanagh, Michele, Nystrom,
                    O'Neill, Roraback, Sauer,
                    Schiessl, Staples, Varese,
                    Winkler
SENATOR WILLIAMS:  If folks could take their seat. We
have a session and a Senate session today. So we
really need to get started so that we can be
finished by the time the sessions begin.
Excuse me, if people would please take their seats.
Hello!  I just wanted to point out we have a
session in the Senate and the House that begins and
any folks that we don't have time for today, won't
get appointed.  Just kidding. Just kidding.
So, with that as an incentive, to be efficient
today, I will call our public hearing to order for
the Judiciary Committee.  We have a number of new
appointments before us today and I will ask each
nominee to be sworn in as you come up. So, first of
all let me call to be a Judge of the Appellate
Court, the Honorable Joanne Kiely Kulawiz and I
apologize if I missed that pronunciation.  Okay.
Would you please raise your right hand?  Do you
swear the testimony you are about to give is the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Yes, I do.
SENATOR WILLIAMS:  Thank you. You may be seated.  Good
morning.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Good morning.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Usually the way we do things is to ask
the nominee if they have any opening statement that
they would like to make, any comments before the
committee and then we open it up to questions from
our committee. So, if you have any opening
statement or comments, please proceed.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  I've had the honor and privilege
of serving the people of Connecticut as a judge for
the past 26 years.  I started in the Circuit Court
in 1972 having been named the first woman to the
trial bench by Governor Meskill.
From 1975 to 1978 I served on the Court of Common
Pleas and from 1978 to the present, on Superior
Court.
During my term on the Superior Court, I spent ten
years as administrative judge for the judicial
district of Ansonia/Milford in addition to trial
work.  And the last seven years as assistant
administrative judge in the judicial district of
Waterbury. While in Waterbury I served five years
as presiding judge on criminal and three years on
civil, mostly civil jury.
In my years on the bench I've sat on thousands of
cases, civil, criminal, family, housing, and
administrative appeals.  I presided on a number of
murder cases and serious felony cases, medical
malpractice, product liability, and countless tort
cases.  I'm very pleased that the Governor has
nominated me for the Appellate Court and upon your
approval I'm looking forward to the challenge of
being a member of that court.
I'd like to thank you for inviting me here today
and I would be happy to answer questions that you
might have.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you very much.  Any questions from
the committee?  Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you. Good morning, Judge.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Good morning.
REP. SCALETTAR:  I am very glad to see you here and I
congratulate you on your nomination. I just wanted
to ask you if you belong to any clubs that
discriminate based on religion, race, sex, or
sexual orientation or ethnicity?
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  No, I don't.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Other questions?  Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  Judge, I think I had my first case with you
on the other side of the aisle and that was in 1970
or '71.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  It was a while ago.
SEN. UPSON:  In Ansonia.  Anyway, congratulations and
aren't you going to miss that new courthouse in
Waterbury?
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  I certainly am.  Just got in it
yesterday for the first time.
SEN. UPSON:  Well, hopefully Sheridan will occupy your
office there some day.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  She's taking over, I hope.
SEN. UPSON:  Anyway, is this -- you're getting out of
the trial aspect and getting into the appellate
aspect. Is that something you want?
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Yes, it certainly is. I'm looking
forward to the challenge of it. I do find that I
enjoy writing. It's going to be a different type of
writing than I've done in the past, but writing and
research will be certainly a welcome change, I
think, at this point. I am looking forward to it.
SEN. UPSON:  And do you have in the Appellate Court more
help than you get in the Superior Court?
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  We certainly do. Each judge has a
clerk and I think a (inaudible) whereas in
Waterbury we have two law clerks for ten judges.
SEN. UPSON:  And a quarter of a secretary.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  One secretary at the moment.
SEN. UPSON:  For how many judges?
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  For, I believe, twelve.
SEN. UPSON:  Alright.  I don't mean to be personal on
this, but since I'm not computer proficient, does
that mean a judge has to be computer proficient?  I
won't ask this of Sheridan when she gets up.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Well, in this day and age I think
you have to be.  I'm not as much as I would like to
be, but I can do legal research on it using the
Lotus and (inaudible) system.  But I don't type on
it.  I think that goes back to my background that
when we got out of law school we were expected to
type or else you didn't get a job.
SEN. UPSON:  Well, congratulations.  Thank you.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Thank you, Senator.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Thank you very much.
JOANNE KIELY KULAWIZ:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Next to be a judge of the Superior
Court, Deborah Kochiss Frankel.
Good morning. Would you please raise your right
hand?  Do you swear the testimony you are about to
give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  I do.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Good morning.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Good morning. Again, if you have an
opening statement or any initial comments, you may
make that to the committee at this time.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Good morning, Senator
Williams. My name is Deborah Kochiss Frankel. I am
deeply honored to be before you today as a nominee
for the Superior Court judgeship.
My schooling at Southern Connecticut State College
was primarily in history and political science.
And for 14 years after my 1991 graduation from
Southern, my profession was teaching social studies
to eight graders at Wooster Middle School in
Stratford.
It was a strong and enduring interest in the law,
however, that motivated me to enroll in what's now
Quinnipiac School of Law.  While continuing to
teach at Wooster, I attended law school in the
evenings. I graduated law school in 1983, passed
the Bar and opened a law practice with my then
partner in Stratford.  We had a general practice of
law centering on family and real estate.  We did no
criminal work because my former partner was and
still is now a Sergeant with the State Police.
In 1991 I had the honor of being appointed a Family
Support Magistrate and have been serving in that
capacity for the past seven years.  I've sat in
Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, and New Britain,
among other locations dealing with paternity
actions, support petitions, contempts, and
modifications.  These and other responsibilities of
the magistrates have not grown tedious.  On the
contrary. The gravity of a family support
magistrate's daily responsibility and decision
making has never been lost on me.  Rather, my
interest in a judicial position is the opportunity
it presents to transfer and heighten my passion for
a position that is similar in many ways, but
broader in its scope and demands.
If I am confirmed some of your constituents may
come before me in civil, criminal matters as
plaintiffs, defendants, or counsel. Before voting
on my nomination, I hope you will be assured that I
will treat these people and all others in the
courtroom with respect and dignity.  That way,
regardless of the outcome of their respective
cases, they can come away with a confidence in the
Connecticut judicial system and with the knowledge
that justice has been achieved. They may or may not
always agree with the decisions that are made, but
it's essential that they know that the decisions
are made honestly and based on attentive and
careful considerations.
Thank you for the opportunity for allowing me to
speak to you today. I'll be happy to answer any
questions that you have.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  Any questions?
Representative Farr.
REP. FARR:  Yes.  Magistrate Frankel, I just take the
opportunity to ask you a question about the support
enforcement issues.
I've seen statistics on the number of individuals
who were getting support.  A number of cases in
which welfare recipients are receiving support from
the fathers of the children.  And it's really
shockingly low. One statistic I saw showed that
only 16% of our welfare caseload are receiving
support from the fathers of those children.
I wondered if you could just comment for a moment
on why you think that that figure is so incredibly
low.  Is it because there's a lag in the process or
is it because most of these fathers end up not
paying support because they claim they're not able
to pay support because they don't have the income?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Part of it is the problem of
the unemployment situation in Connecticut as well
as throughout the United States.  But we've seen a
change in that over the last few years in that more
and more of the people that are appearing in front
of us are now obtaining employment. We're better in
terms of job production than we were several years
back.
Also, it's just the problem too of getting these
people in front of us. There is the lag time. There
are only nine sitting Family Support Magistrates
with a caseload that is probably, at this point,
over 60,000 cases a year.  The lag time in terms of
getting a motion for modification before the court
is approximately two or three months in certain
locations.
REP. FARR:  And do have the power to order a defendant
who doesn't have -- who claims he's not employed
and not working to attend some kind of job training
or job placement program?  And do you do that?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  There isn't that much that's
available to them in terms of where we can direct
them to. The order of most of the magistrates are
for the defendants to obtain employment. Usually
what we do is we give them jobs sheets and they're
ordered to make ten job contacts per week until
they come back with a job.
REP. FARR:  I think the comment on that, that one of the
tragedies -- we've done a great job in welfare
reform and getting the welfare moms back to work,
and 60% of them are working. We have a Jobs First
Program. We teach people how to look for jobs and
everything else. Apparently we don't have all of
those resources available for the dads and we need
to do that.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No and it would be wonderful
if we did. If we had somebody sitting in the
courtroom that we could refer these people over to
and say, here, now go talk with these people and we
will get you into a job training program.
REP. FARR:  We desperately need to do that.  Thank you
very much. Nice to have you here.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you. Good morning, Magistrate
Frankel.  Congratulations.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Good morning.  Thank you.
REP. SCALETTAR:  I assume you heard my previous -- my
question to the previous nominee about membership
in any discriminatory clubs. Do you belong to any
such clubs?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you very much.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  Yes.  Congratulations.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Thank you.
SEN. UPSON:  The fees -- excuse me, the salaries of
support enforcement magistrates are basically
reimbursed by the federal government.  Am I
correct?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Correct.
SEN. UPSON:  And so that if you got an increase from, I
think, it's $74,000 or $75,000 a year. I realize
this will not affect you. To a higher salary, that
too would be reimbursed by the federal government.
Correct?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Yes, it would.
SEN. UPSON:  And we do have legislation, I believe,
before us, hopefully that will -- I believe it will
increase it by - I don't know if it's ten or twenty
thousand and since you've been a magistrate since
1991, do you feel there should be some parity
between support enforcement magistrates and -- by
the way, this looks like a setup here, my
questions, but it isn't.  Unlike her husband.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Should I leave that to him
then?
SEN. UPSON:  Yes.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  We do pay him to lobby for us.
SEN. UPSON:  We wanted to get him nervous occasionally.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No, seriously, yes.
SEN. UPSON:  Should there be a parity, do you think?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Oh, yes, absolutely.
SEN. UPSON:  Why?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  I mean what we're doing is
equal in responsibility to the family judges in the
area that we are statutorily responsible for. We
have the authority to --
SEN. UPSON:  Turn around, by the way.  And talk to that
gentleman right there.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I assume you were talking to me
all along.
SEN. UPSON:  Do you know Bob Frankel?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yes, I do.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  We have the authority to
incarcerate. We have the authority for license
suspenditure.  We're working five days a week doing
basically what amounts to short calendar every day.
We're sitting the entire time on the bench doing
the work. Yes, I think parity would be appropriate.
SEN. UPSON:  Or some -- I mean, I'm not --
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Close.
SEN. UPSON:  Close.  Somewhat akin to the Workers'
Compensation Commissioners.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  That would be nice.
SEN. UPSON:  Alright. And there are nine support
enforcement magistrates and I don't know if -- are
there a need for more?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Absolutely.  There are two
ways to measure a program's growth. One is just a
number of cases. When the Family Support Magistrate
Program started back in, I guess it was about
eleven years ago now, their caseload was maybe
about 25,000 cases a year. Now we're up to 60,000.
That's one way to measure the need. The second way
is, as I stated earlier, the lag time that it takes
to get a case before us.  If there were more
magistrates we'd be able to have more cases heard
and the lag time would be lesser.
SEN. UPSON:  Thank you very much.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Representative
Garcia.
REP. GARCIA:  Thank you very much.  Good morning, Judge.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Good morning.
REP. GARCIA:  I have a few questions.  Can you tell me
what do you think will be the most pressing
administrative issues concerning the state courts n
the next decade?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  I think it's the growth in
trying to accommodate the size of the dockets and
the lag time that takes place, particularly on the
civil and criminal sides.
REP. GARCIA:  So, you think that the courts are over
loaded with work and not enough staff?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Oh, absolutely, especially in
the clerk's office, the monitors, and quite
frankly, too we have an enormous problem getting
interpreters into our courtrooms.
REP. GARCIA:  Do you think we have a lack of judges
also?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  I'm sorry.
REP. GARCIA:  A lack of judges. Do you think we need to
appoint more judges?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Yes.  Obviously that would
help in any lag time.
REP. GARCIA:  Okay. Thank you.  Could you tell me what
elements of your training or background experience
have prepared you to deal with the criminal part of
the court cases?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  The criminal side is a side
that I haven't done much in with regards to either
the practice of the law or obviously, sitting as a
family support magistrate. But just the experience
that I've had for the last seven years of sitting
on the bench plus my teaching background, I think,
was essential in helping me even in this position
that I've been in.
REP. GARCIA:  Have you had any experience with domestic
violence cases?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No.
REP. GARCIA:  Not at all?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No.
REP. GARCIA:  Okay.  The last question.  Would you
disqualify yourself from a case involving an issue
in which you have a strong personal feeling?  Let's
say if you were against the death penalty and you
had to deal with that.  Would you disqualify or
recuse yourself from participating in that trial?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No. That doesn't seem to be an
appropriate grounds for a recusal. When you sit on
the bench you leave your personal views behind and
it's your job to apply the law and apply the law
fairly.  Recusal, I have in the past, recused
myself on matters, but that's mostly because I'm
either seeing past clients that have been now in
front of me or it's because I have personal
relationships with someone who is appearing in
front of me.
REP. GARCIA:  Okay.  And the last question. Is it
appropriate for an elected official to contact a
judge in reference to a constituent's case?  Is
that appropriate or would that be unethical?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  It's inappropriate or it would
be construed as an ex-parte communication. You
cannot discuss an ongoing matter with someone.
REP. GARCIA:  Thank you very much.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Representative Farr.
REP. FARR:  Yes, just one last question.  The question
of the backlog on the magistrates and I'm sorry --
I realize you're here for the appointment and not
for a hearing on the whole magistrate system, but
we don't get an opportunity to get into this very
often.
What about the staffing -- the level of support for
staff?  I mean, in my limited experience in the
magistrate system it seems to me that you have as
much of a problem of lack of staffing surrounding
the magistrates and this is part of the problem in
the court system. If you have ten judges and one
secretary and that means you've all got to be
pretty good typists because you don't have a
secretary.  Don't we have that same problem in the
magistrate system where you just don't have enough
staff?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Absolutely.
REP. FARR:  And wouldn't that be a higher priority even
in just putting more magistrates in there?
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Oh, absolutely.  We all type
our own decisions.  We do our own research.
REP. FARR:  Let me say that's good experience for the
bench because when you get up there you're going to
continue that practice, I'm afraid.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  No, it's true. I mean, we have
always, in the magistrates, done our own typing,
done our own decisions, done our own research
because, quite frankly, in terms of the pecking
order of who gets the staff first, we come down at
the bottom and our decisions would have to wait.
So just to expedite everything we've always all
done it ourselves.
REP. FARR:  Okay. Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Anything further?  Thanks very much.
DEBORAH KOCHISS FRANKEL:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Next to be a judge of the Superior
Court, F. Herbert Gruendel.
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Good morning, Senator.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Good morning. Please raise your right
hand.  Do you swear that the testimony that you are
about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  I do.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  And again, if you have an
opening statement or opening comments, this would
be the time to make them.
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Thank you, Senator.  Senator
Upson, Senator Williams, Representative Scalettar,
Representative Farr and members of the committee, I
am honored to be here as Governor Rowland's nominee
to the Superior Court and I'm honored to be here
appearing before you.
By way of background, I was born in New Jersey and
grew up in Saudi Arabia.  I attended college at
Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and
graduated in 1969. Between 1969 and 1978 I was a
teacher primarily of middle school.  And during
those years I took some time away to attend
graduate school and acquired master degrees from
the University of Maryland, the University of
Pennsylvania and Rutgers University.
In 1978 I began working in Branford as a school
administrator and eventually became principal of
the school there.  While I was doing that I went to
the University of Connecticut School of Law in the
evenings and graduated with honors in 1984.  During
my last year of law school I also spent time as a
mid-career fellow in the Bush Center at Yale
University which I studied issues concerning public
policy as it affects children.  And was also an
instructor in Yale's Teacher Preparation Program.
In 1984 I became an associate at Jacobs, Credberg,
Belt, and Dow in New Haven and I became a member of
the firm in January of 1992.  I've done some real
estate and probate work, but I primarily
concentrated on litigation in my practice.  As a
litigator I have handled a wide variety of matters
including personal injury cases, wrongful death
cases, domestic relations cases, cases involving
disputes over real property.  In the commercial
area I've either handled or tried cases involving
mechanic liens, lease disputes, vexatious
litigation, covenant not to compete, dissolution of
a deadlock corporation, among others.  And I've
argued before the Connecticut Supreme Court and the
Connecticut Appellate Court.
And in recent years I've also handled, occasionally
and on a pro bono basis, both neglect and
delinquency cases in the juvenile court.  The
breadth of matters that I've worked on has made for
an interesting experience and perhaps in some ways
a difficult one, but it's also provided me with an
exceptional legal education.
I live in Branford with my wife, Janice and we have
three sons. My oldest son is a teacher.  My second
son is an officer in the United States Marine
Corps, and my youngest son will graduate from law
school next month.
Thank you for your attention and I would be happy
to answer any questions you might have.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  Questions?  Representative
Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Good morning.
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Good morning.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Congratulations. It is very nice to see
you here this morning.  I would like to ask you the
same question I asked before about membership in
any clubs that discriminate. Do you belong to any
such clubs?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  I do not.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Other questions?  Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  How are you?  Your practice right now is in
what area?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Civil litigation.
SEN. UPSON:  Complicated civil litigation?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Pretty much complicated civil
litigation.
SEN. UPSON:  Slip and fall or negligence?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Well, I do slip and fall and
negligence cases and automobile cases, but I also
do commercial cases of a pretty wide variety.  The
largest thing I've done in the last year involved a
dispute concerning unfair competition with two
shopping centers in the eastern part of the State,
for example.
SEN. UPSON:  So, a complicated commercial transaction?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Yes, sir.
SEN. UPSON:  What happened in D.C. - that was when you
were a young kid, correct, a child?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  I'm sorry.
SEN. UPSON:  Something you wrote down about 1965. That
was when you were a young --
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Yes.
SEN. UPSON:  Thank you.  The -- I don't have a full
resume on you, I guess, but I know you are a member
of the New Haven Bar and you're involved in the
community also?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Yes, I am.  I have been a member
of the Board of Directors of a small school in
Branford, Whitewood School of the Clifford Bears
Guidance Clinic of the New Haven Ecology Project.
SEN. UPSON:  Okay.  And in other areas, how about any
criminal background, that is in the criminal court
you've practiced at all?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  No, sir.  I've done some work in
the GA courts and some work in the juvenile courts
involving criminal matters.  I have not tried a
criminal case to conclude beyond jury selection.
SEN. UPSON:  The last question and I believe one of the
Representatives asked it of other people. Is there
anything that would disqualify you from hearing an
individual case?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  No, apart from the standard things
about whether it involved a financial interest or a
member of my firm or my family.
SEN. UPSON:  And you would have no trouble if you didn't
agree with a current law of the land, for example,
the death penalty you would still impose it even
though you may not agree with it?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Absolutely.
SEN. UPSON:  Is there anything else in any other area
besides the death penalty that you would have a
problem enforcing the law?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  No, sir. I think that that is the
obligation to enforce the law.
SEN. UPSON:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Cafero.
REP. CAFERO:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning,
sir.
Sir, like most of us, we've had various times in
our lives where we didn't do what we hoped --
didn't do our best or sometimes made mistakes in
judgment and again, like all of us, you certainly
have a couple of minor things that you put down on
your application and I guess my question is, what
lessons can you take from the incident in '65 and
1993 with regard to a grievance -- what lessons can
you take that you think you will bring to the bench
with regard to those kinds of incidents?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Well, first of all, with regard to
the grievance, sir, the grievance was unfounded and
did not occur until after a Superior Court judge
had ruled. In the context of that situation, there
was a physician that I had brought an action
against for medical malpractice who had a large
number of years before and had been represented by
one of my partners in a divorce matter. In fact, he
was represented by one of my partners prior to the
time that I was even practicing law.
That physician, through his attorneys, moved in
court to disqualify me and my partner in our firm
from representing our client.  And the Superior
Court made a ruling that we were not disqualified,
that there was no conflict.  And thereafter, the
individual filed the grievance and it was
dismissed.
But I don't take anything like that lightly. I
think that any time -- I think that everybody makes
a mistake from time to time and I think that any
time that you do that you need to learn from the
mistake and be sure that you don't do it again.
And I think that's true whether it's an accurate
accusation or an inaccurate accusation.  You need
to be conscience of that, especially in the role of
a judge that people will have impressions of you
that you can't control and that you must be very
careful to live in a way that presents the best
side of you possible.
REP. CAFERO:  One more question, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
Sir, we often hear about the term "judicial
demeanor" and it has become a subject of some
scrutiny lately, given recent events.  What is your
impression, definition, if you will, of "judicial
demeanor" and how a judge should comport himself in
a courtroom?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Well, I think that a judge has to
exercise a large amount of leadership and presence
is a courtroom that is to make sure that the
courtroom is functioning correctly and with
decorum.  But I think that the two most important
qualities are restraint in comment and respect for
the people who are appearing before you or who are
otherwise involved in the court system as jurors or
as sheriffs or as court reporters or as witnesses.
REP. CAFERO:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Representative
Garcia.
REP. GARCIA:  Thank you. Good morning, sir.
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Good morning.
REP. GARCIA:  I just want to find out -- I'm sure that
you are aware that there is a perception out there
that minorities are treated unfairly by the
judicial system.  What role do you think a judge
could play in changing that perception as far as
you are concerned?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  I think, Ma'am, that all of us
have a responsibility every day of our life to
prevent anybody from having such an impression
whether we are judges or whether we are citizens of
whatever our role.
I don't know that there's anything specific that a
judge can do in that situation other than to be
absolutely sure that he or she treats every person
in the court with a great deal of respect and
consideration for whatever their circumstance may
be.
REP. GARCIA:  Very well.  And the last question is when
you sentence an individual that comes before you,
before sentencing does it make any difference to
you if the victims are there or the victims'
family?  Does that play a role on what -- how harsh
or how lenient your sentence is? According to the
statutes, of course, but personally does having the
relative or the victim before you the day of the
sentencing, does that influence you at all?
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Well, I haven't been in that
experience except in representing a client in a
recent situation where the victim appeared.  First
of all, I think it's a very valuable thing for the
accused to hear from the victim or the victim's
family to know that an act is not devoid of
consequences and that people suffer from acts that
are committed.  Whether it would effect the
sentence or not, I just can't say.  I don't know.
REP. GARCIA:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Anything further?  Thank you very much.
F. HERBERT GRUENDEL:  Thank you, sir.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Next, to be a judge of the Superior
Court, Attorney Michael A. Mack.
Good morning. Would you please raise your right
hand?  Do you swear that the testimony that you are
about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  I do.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  And again, you may proceed
if you have any opening remarks or an opening
statement.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Thank you, Senator.  Good morning,
Senator Williams, Representative Lawlor, members of
the Judiciary Committee.
It is a pleasure to be here before you.  It is a
great honor to have been nominated for this high
office by Governor Rowland and I am most grateful
to him for his having done so.
It is also an honor to be here before you as you
discharge one of the most important functions of
your office, the selection of a judge.  I have been
blessed in my career by having done many things
within the legal profession. I have practiced law
alone and in partnership, spending much of my time
in the courtroom. I have been a prosecutor part-
time, a town attorney while maintaining a private
practice for 21 years. And that private practice
was a broad general practice dealing with civil,
criminal, domestic matters, administrative appeals,
real estate, zoning, municipal law, and small
business matters.
In the corporate world my experience was also broad
and varied. I was counsel to the head of the Claim
Department at Aetna involved with defense strategy,
large loss issues, and cost containment.  I was in
charge of the in-house law firm with 30 offices
across the country, 560 people including 264
lawyers, and a budget in excess of $42 million.
I was responsible for the quality, ethics, training
and administration of those offices, as well as
maintaining the relationship between the Claim
Department and staff counsel.
I was also in charge of the company program to
maintain a strong relationship with outside panel
of defense firms.  When at any given moment the
number of outstanding lawsuits exceeds 100,000
cases litigation management is a major issue and
one that I dealt with on a daily basis.
As a judge of the Superior Court I was the
administrative judge for Tolland and Windham
Counties.  I was appointed to the Executive
Committee of the Center for Judicial Education and
participated in a program to train new judges.  I
also served on the Chief Justice's Task Force on
Criminal Sentencing.
I have served on the criminal, civil, and family
courts in the JD level and the GA level, the
juvenile court, and have done extensive work in the
habeas corpus court.
I am aware of the enormous importance of this high
office and of the enormous amount of work it takes
to do the job well. I am eager to devote all of my
energies once again to that task.
Therefore, I am asking for your approval to allow
me to do so.  I will try to answer any questions
that you may have as clearly and as concisely as I
can. Before I do that, I would like to thank you
for your attention and for this opportunity to be
here today.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I ask
my standard question, I see you wrote an article
about Rule 11 which I am very interested in.  I
won't take the time now, but did you come out on
the side of myth or reality?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  I actually came out on the side of
reality and tried to encourage the Federal Rules
Committee not to water down what they had so well
done. Incidentally, somewhere down the road I was
unsuccessful in that. They did water it down again,
but there were -- they really weren't myth.  They
were claims by those who were not in favor of a
strict or a strong Rule 11 that a strong Rule 11
would do serious damage in a number of different
areas and in fact that was not the case.  There
were a lot of vested interests in creating those
myths.  They simply were not there, but there was
also an awful lot of pressure on the Federal Rules
Committee that met down in New Orleans to
reconsider Rule 11 and in the reconsidering there
was some watering down, yes.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you. Do you belong to any clubs
that discriminate based on race, religion, sex,
sexual orientation or national origin?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  I do not, but I would like to add one
association that I belong to that it might so be
playing. I am and have been for many years, over 30
years, been a pilot, a licensed pilot and an
instructor and I belong to an association of what
we call "high time pilots", pilots who have more
than 500 hours in the air.  One of my fellows in
that club, it's a club -- it's called the QB's was
then Justice Alfred Covello, Tim Covello, now
federal district judge Covello and the issue arose
in his nomination for the federal district bench
that there are no women in the QB's which is true.
There is a women's organization that is identical
and there are no men in that one called, "The 99's"
and they're basically the only purpose of this is
to get together, have fun, and talk about
airplanes. But I would want to disclose to you that
I have for a number of years been a member of the
QB's and although I have never seen -- there aren't
any real bylaws to the association. It was founded
by Charles Lindberg, by the way.  There are also no
women there and I wanted to disclose that fact.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Other questions?  Senator Looney.
SEN. LOONEY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon.
Your experience, I guess, is somewhat unique in
having served as a judge of the Superior Court for
seven years and then gone to another career and now
being appointed to come back. I was wondering if
you could tell us a little bit about your
experience in going through the judicial selection
process or the screening the first time as opposed
to the second time, a difference of 14 or 15 years
later. I wonder if you might just give us the
benefit of your experience in those two occasions
and any changes in the process or changes in
emphasis in the screening process.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  At the time I went through before in
1983, the Bar Association had a judicial selection
committee of 18 members of the Connecticut Bar and
there was a Governor's ad hoc committee on which
there were several lawyers and a number of laymen
and you had to go through both of those committees.
It really now is consolidated into the Judicial
Selection Committee.
Once that process was finished the process here at
the Legislature was pretty much the same, including
the process that we're in right now, the public
hearing aspect of this and the same basic types of
questions.
The real difference was in going through those two
committees first rather than the one Judicial
Selection Committee.
SEN. LOONEY:  Good.  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  Since I don't have something clarified, are
you a member -- are you a practicing lawyer now?
You are a support enforcement magistrate?  I have
lost it.  What are you?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  No. I am still a member of the Bar,
but for the last year I have been doing mediation
and arbitration, particularly in large loss cases,
more mediation than arbitration, but --
SEN. UPSON:  As a mediator?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  As a mediator and as an arbitrator.
Probably more mediation than arbitration.
SEN. UPSON:  But not as a member of the -- not as a
sitting judge or --
MICHAEL A. MACK:  No, that's correct.  And I have not
been an advocate on behalf of any client in the
last few years, as well.
SEN. UPSON:  But you're not practicing law?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  I'm not practicing law at this time.
I'm practicing as a mediator or an arbitrator.  I
have not opened up an office and welcomed clients
in to --
SEN. UPSON:  Well, were you at one time?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Yes, for 21 years. I practiced law --
SEN. UPSON:  You just said that probably and I wasn't
listening.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Yes.
SEN. UPSON:  Where was that?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  In Enfield. Enfield, Connecticut.  It
was a general practice.
SEN. UPSON:  Also you were with the Aetna. Correct?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  That's correct.
SEN. UPSON:  And when did you stop being with the Aetna?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  In 1997.
SEN. UPSON:  U.S. HealthCare.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Right around that time.
SEN. UPSON:  I will definitely vote for you.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Thank you, Senator.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Graziani.
REP. GRAZIANI:  Yes.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I wanted
to thank you very much for offering to serve the
State of Connecticut again on the bench.  For
members of the committee, I, as a practicing
attorney 25 years ago had a number of cases in
which Mr. Mack was on the other side.  During that
time he conducted himself with dignity, with honor,
and fairness both for himself, his clients, and
dealings with the court.
I had the pleasure of being before him when he was
a judge and being very active in the local bar
association I was once president of it and we also
had the highest respect for his decisions, his
judicial temperament, his work ethic, his ability
to cut through difficult issues and get to help
implementing justice.
I also had the pleasure of working in a staff
counsel office that he was the ultimate supervisor
for when he was working at Aetna. And I would share
with the members of the committee his commitment to
the Democratic process, to the importance of not
just, for example, my being in the Legislature, but
in other members of the firm being involved with
pro bono activities, being involved in their local
communities, whether it be the Zoning Board of
Appeals or the like was refreshing to see that in a
major corporation.
He truly cares about the citizens of Connecticut.
He has a distinguished career. Has exemplified his
skills, both as a practicing attorney and as a
corporate person and as a judge and I think we are
incredibly fortunate to have somebody of your
caliber and your integrity to be serving the people
of Connecticut again and I thank you.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Thank you, sir.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Hamzy.
REP. HAMZY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I just have a
couple of questions.  You were first appointed in
'83?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  That's correct.
REP. HAMZY:   To the bench.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  That's correct.
REP. HAMZY:   Where did you sit?  Did you start off in a
GA?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  I started off in the GA in Norwich and
then as part of the JD of New London was moved to
the GA in New London. From there I went up to the
GA in Windham County. From there to Manchester
where I was appointed presiding criminal judge and
shortly after that I was appointed presiding
criminal judge for Hartford in the GA 14. I was
there in the old Morgan Street days. As a matter of
fact, I was the presiding judge that moved to
Lafayette Street.
While I was the presiding judge I was asked to
become the administrative judge for the Judicial
Districts of Tolland and Windham in 1986 and I was
the AJ in Tolland and Windham until 1990.
REP. HAMZY:   And then in -- what made you decide to
leave the bench for private appointment?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  It was a situation which I think there
were all of us who wished things were not the way
they were and yet wouldn't change them a whole lot.
In this particular situation, I have two children.
They are 22 months apart and particularly gifted.
We all say that about our children.  These really
are. And at the time they were accepted into
schools of their choice that were perfect for what
they wanted to do.  My son was accepted to NYU to
the Tish School and in fact went through with two
degrees, magnum cum laude in the school of fine
arts in film making and the school of liberal arts
in English and went on to Hollywood to Disney and
has just been accepted into the American Film
Institute to its direct Oral Program, one of 20
this year out of 10,000 applicants.  He is a very
gifted individual.
The problem was that at that time the tuition, the
combined tuition for these two children in college
together was in excess of $52,000 a year. It's
$1,000 a week, 52 weeks a year and at that time
there was no other help for them to do it. I wasn't
really too sure how I was going to do it. I loved
being on the bench. I've always loved it.  And at
that time, out of the blue I received a phone call
from a representative of Aetna asking me if I would
consider a position as head of the legal department
of the claim department, what we call claim legal,
to succeed a fellow named Jack Shea who had been
there for ten years and is a legend around here, as
well.
That solved the immediate financial problem. I
really didn't want to leave, but I just felt that
commitment to those children and I still feel that
commitment, but as early as 1993 in all candor I
was testing the waters to see if now that that was
taken care of and done, if I couldn't go back to
what I truly loved.  And this is the result of
getting back here.
REP. HAMZY:   Okay.  And you do a lot of work in the
environment field?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Yes. Part of the claim legal
department at Aetna was the super fund, the toxic
tort litigation, that whole area of environmental
litigation and most of the environmental litigation
is litigation between insureds and their insurer.
It has nothing to do really with the land that is
in tough shape, but whose really responsible for
it. What exclusions were there and what were not
and in some instances it can be a break the bank
issue. It is hundreds and hundreds of millions of
dollars and so all insurers, not just Aetna, all
insurers took and take that issue very, very
seriously.
I was involved with a lot of that. I was also
involved in the legislative process in Washington
working with the corporate law department trying to
get some compromise or relief so that the sole --
the carrier which never anticipated the loss would,
in fact, be shouldered with the responsibility that
could break the carrier. In other words, looking
for a partnership between the carrier, the company
that had the insured, although the carrier never
knew of that risk at the time it was written
because in those days it was an instruction as to
how to handle some of this toxic waste and of the
public -- of the government itself attempting to
try to resolve it.  That issue is still going on
today.  In the meantime about 80% of the cost of
environmental litigation or the cost of environment
clean up is going to litigation rather than
cleaning it up because it still hasn't been
addressed today. I was involved in that issue
fairly heavily.
REP. HAMZY:   And for approximately the last year or so
you've been involved in an organization called
Dispute Resolution.  Is that like a mediation or
arbitration firm?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  It is a mediation company. I don't --
I'm not an employee there. I'm an independent
contractor. They do a lot of mediation of all
different types and there are times when those who
want the services of mediation or arbitration would
prefer myself and they, in effect, do the booking.
They do the set up work and they set up the
schedule. If, in fact, the hearing is at their
offices then I go there.  But it isn't a place I go
everyday to go to work.
REP. HAMZY:   Okay.  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Representative
O'Neill.
REP. O'NEILL:  Good morning.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Good morning.
REP. O'NEILL:  Yes, it is still.  I had a similar line
of questions to what Representative Hamzy had asked
of you, but the other thought that crossed my mind
was have you had any discussions, I'm just curious
about where you're likely to be assigned?  Do you
think you're going to end up going through the GA
process again?  Would that bother you if you did?
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Oh, absolutely not.  First of all, no
I have not had any discussions and frankly, I
wouldn't be so presumptuous, but were I asked to
the GA, I have no problem with that at all. You
know, the GA sometimes gets looked down upon, but
it is a very, very important court for the vast of
number of citizens who come in contact with any
judicial process at all, come in contact with the
GA either through motor vehicle or some minor or
not so terribly involved skirmish or those on the
way through to the GA on what used to be the bind
over in a probable cause hearing in the old days.
But the GA court, to me, is a very, very important
court. It is usually, for many people, the only
experience they're ever going to get in what the
judicial process is about and I wouldn't have any
problem at all in serving the GA.  I would welcome
it.  I will serve where they want.
REP. O'NEILL:  Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Thank you very much.
MICHAEL A. MACK:  Thank you, Senator.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Next to be a judge of the Superior
Court, Attorney Sheridan L. Moore.
Good morning.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Good morning.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Would you please raise your right hand?
Do you swear that the testimony that you are about
to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I do.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you. You may be seated and proceed
if you have an opening statement.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Good morning, Senator Williams,
members of the committee.
It is a great honor for me to appear before you
today as a nominee for the appointment as a judge
of the Superior Court.
Forty-five years ago I was born in a small town
sixty miles north of Dallas, Texas.  I was the
middle child and the only daughter of Jeremiah and
Faye Moore.  After spending my early childhood in
Texas, I grew up in Queens, New York. I was
educated in the New York City public school system.
I attended the University of Bridgeport where I
received a BS in education in 1975.  I then
attended the University of Connecticut School of
Law achieving my JD in 1978.
I began my legal work experience by working with
New Haven Legal Aid and then with Connecticut Legal
Assistance in their Waterbury, Torrington, and
Bridgeport offices.  While working for Connecticut
Legal Services I primarily handled social security
disability cases which included representing
clients at the administrative hearing process as
well as preparation of writs and briefs for federal
court litigation.
In 1980 I became a public defender in the Waterbury
court.  I served in that capacity for five and one-
half years representing indigent clients in both
juvenile and the adult courts. Since 1986 I have
been in private practice in Naugatuck. My practice
has included the areas of criminal matters
comprised of both private clients and services of
special public defender for the JD court and the GA
court in Waterbury.
I also handle motor vehicle cases, dissolution of
marriages, custody of children's matters,
representation of children in both civil and
criminal cases, neglect and uncared for cases,
delinquency cases, real estate matters, probate
matters, landlord/tenant issues, and personal
injury cases.
Additionally, I've served as a special family
masters for the Judicial District of Waterbury
since 1995 and as an attorney trial referee since
1997.
Again, it is with great appreciation that I stand
before you as Governor Rowland's nominee for this
esteemed position. I thank you for your attention
and I welcome the opportunity to answer any
questions that you may have at this time.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you. Questions.  Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  Yes, congratulations.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you, Senator.
SEN. UPSON:  Especially coming from the borough of
Naugatuck.  And if I may call you Sheridan until a
week from now.   When did you hear about this
nomination?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I actually heard on Wednesday, this
Wednesday passed. I was in the midst of doing a
trial when I got a call to call the Governor's
office immediately.
SEN. UPSON:  And then it was announced that afternoon,
right?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes, within the hour.
SEN. UPSON:  I have a case with you right now.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes, you do.
SEN. UPSON:  I don't think that's a conflict though.  If
you don't settle it, it will be a conflict.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I know.
SEN. UPSON:  All I have is praise for Sheridan Moore.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you.
SEN. UPSON:  Sheridan, I know it's not on your resume,
but I happened to work at Bridgeport Jai Alai for
the State and I believe you did too at one time,
right?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes, I did.
SEN. UPSON:  So, Sheridan has -- knows all aspects
because I know you've handled family relations. I
know you've handled the worst part -- when I say
the worst part, the down and dirty in the public
defender's office and you've -- I saw you in the
new courthouse, I think, yesterday.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes.
SEN. UPSON:  In Waterbury and what a change that's going
to be.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes, it will be.
SEN. UPSON:  As far as the GA you will have no trouble -
- you will have no trouble in any court that I can
think of. I think you also have a good practice in
the domestic area.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes, I do.
SEN. UPSON:  And is there any area that you would be
more interested in serving the state in?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  No --
SEN. UPSON:  You will have no choice and Aaron Ment
isn't listening, I don't think.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  No. I have no preference whatsoever.
I believe I've done quite a few things. So I will
be comfortable.
SEN. UPSON:  Sheridan, I am going to ask -- Attorney
Moore, I should say, one other question. You've
seen the jury pools. I know we're trying to do
something about it in Waterbury. Would you say the
jury pools are not a fair reflection of the
population of Waterbury?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  They're becoming better.  At this
point they're probably not a fair reflection, but
there is big difference now than obviously ten or
fifteen years ago. I believe the new system of one
day, one man/one day jury system has helped that
goal to be a better reflection.
SEN. UPSON:  But also, thanks to Representative Dyson
and Aaron Ment -- excuse me, Administrator Ment,
and some others, the pool is going to be broaden
and hopefully -- I hate to use the word "hopefully"
and it will include more minorities as it should be
reflected.
You know you won't be sitting in Waterbury for a
while. Is that correct?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I understand that's the procedure.
SEN. UPSON:  And will it take long for you to close up
your practice and move on?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Well, that's going to be the
challenge, obviously, but I don't think it will
take me very long. I do have -- I've made some
initial plans already. So I believe I can do that
without any difficulty.
SEN. UPSON:  Congratulations and you're an excellent
choice.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you.  Good morning.
Congratulations.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you.
REP. SCALETTAR:  I'd like to ask you the question I
asked before about membership in any clubs or
organizations that discriminate based on sex,
religion, race, national origin or sexual
orientation. Do you belong to any such clubs?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I do not.
REP. SCALETTAR:  I do just want to ask you about the
Women's Golf Association and this question, I think
is important for all judicial nominees, but one of
the reasons I particularly ask it is because there
was a big issue last year about country clubs that
discriminate against women and I'm not a golfer
myself, but I was very impressed by what went on,
negatively impressed of many of the clubs.
What is the Women's Golf Association of East
Mountain?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  That's a public course and that's an
association of just women who play at the public
course.  We try to formalize events and make
available to the women of the City of Waterbury and
the surrounding towns that they are an organization
that's interested in seeing women become involved
in becoming golfers and events that we have there.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Senator Looney.
SEN. LOONEY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Hello, Attorney
Moore.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Hello.
SEN. LOONEY:  In the last group of nominees that we had
last fall, I believe, there were in the questioning
of them, some had been on the eligible pool having
gone through judicial selection as long as -- there
was one that was 10 years since she had gone
through the committee before her appointment and
another candidate had only been on the list for a
few months. Would you mind telling us how long
you've been in the eligible pool?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I was approved by the Judicial
Selection Committee in October of '95.
SEN. LOONEY:  I see. So three and one-half years since
then.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Right.
SEN. LOONEY: Okay.  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Cafero.
REP. CAFERO:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Attorney Moore,
it's refreshing for me and I happen to be an
attorney and a general practitioner.  And it's
refreshing for me to see a general practitioner
sent to the bench as I hope you do in a few days.
But I also note having done it for 15 years that
the practice is changing somewhat. Is it your
general observations and what lessons do you bring
to the bench having run your own show, I guess, for
the past how many years now has it been?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Twelve years.  Well, as you may know
and as I've indicated, my practice has been varied.
And so it has taken a lot of -- it takes a lot of
information that you have to bring to your practice
because you never know what kind of situation that
is going to walk in the door.  So there is a, I
believe, a basis for me to have an understanding of
a lot of different areas that is necessary to be a
judge.  As well, I believe the biggest thing is
time management and the ability to handle all
that's on your plate because being a general
practitioner there are many times when you
sometimes wonder is it worth it?  Can you do all
that's there and all that you need to be able to do
and sometimes, no matter how, you seem to manage
it.
So, I think those qualities, having the broad
bases, having the ability or the knowledge that you
can handle things that are placed on your plate
that you're called to do, and the ability to really
control your time, your destiny, so to speak. I
think those are all things that you need to also
bring to the bench because as the judge in a
courtroom that is one of your functions, as well.
REP. CAFERO:  Judge, do you have particular empathy, I
guess, for the practitioner who might be in
criminal court in the morning, probate court late
that morning, do a closing in the afternoon, and
then appear at two o'clock before you for a
dissolution matter or something else?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I can definitely understand, yes.
REP. CAFERO:  Well, I want to be before you then.  Thank
you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Hamzy.
REP. HAMZY:   Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to
echo the words of Representative Cafero being in a
general practice myself I fully share your
sentiments about trying to juggle all the different
aspects of what goes into a typical day and I think
your background makes you an outstanding candidate
to serve on the bench because of the things that
you bring with you.
And I just want to congratulate you.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Yes, Representative Ann Dandrow.
REP. DANDROW:  Good morning. I just, based on your
experience and you many, many experiences, I was
just wondering I had received recently some
correspondence from one of my constituents who was
very concerned that judges that sat on the bench
did not often take some of the domestic violent
patterns into consideration when dealing with the
joint custody, dealing with visitation and she was
desperately trying to save her sister from having
to go through a very unkindly visitation process
based on the fact of her experience.  And I was
just wondering domestic violence seems to be a
repeated behavior. This judge would not take into
consideration and her sister was forced to continue
to see one of the parents even though it had been a
documented domestic violence.
And I was just wondering in your past experience,
you do consider -- how do you consider the joint
custody cases as far as visitation goes?  Do you
look at all the factors or what is the actual
process that you do?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  You have to look at all the factors.
Unfortunately, in that situation there are a couple
of things that a judge must balance, the interest
of the child to see it's non-custodial parent as
well as the interest of the custodial parent to not
place them into a situation where domestic violence
has been known and has presented itself in the
past. So, unfortunately, you can't make a usual
decision. You can't say in all cases where there's
been domestic violence you can't have the child see
the parent.  But you have to look at what's been
going on since and whether the domestic violence
was recent, whether or not there have been some
sort of intervention by the parent to avoid
reoccurrence of that kind of behavior and it's a
situation -- obviously, I've represented both
children involved in domestic violence. I've
represented parents who have been accused of
domestic violence and of course, parents who have
been the recipients of domestic violence and it's
not an easy situation, but I think you have to look
at all the factors, but obviously I did serve on a
women's emergency shelter board in Waterbury. I'm
very sensitive to the issue.
REP. DANDROW:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Representative
Amann.
REP. AMANN: Not a question, just a comment, Mr.
Chairman. I've only known Sheridan for a short
period of time. I can tell you that the respect
that she gets from the people in Naugatuck is
outstanding. She's a woman of character and I think
someone that I know will serve the bench well and
make us all proud.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Senator Coleman.
SEN. COLEMAN:  Yes, I just didn't want to let the
opportunity to go by to express how good it is to
see you here and I want to offer my congratulations
to you.  I think you will recall I was maybe a
year, maybe two years ahead of you in law school
and that's when we first crossed paths. It's just
very heartening to see how you've progressed and
succeeded and I know you will do well as a Superior
Court judge.
And I think, by the way, I lent my business
organization text book to someone in your class.
And I haven't seen it since.  I'm assuming it
wasn't you, but if you have a list of classmates
that you're still in touch with.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  I'll check my basement.
SEN. COLEMAN:  No, very seriously.  Congratulations and
I wish you the best.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative O'Neill.
REP. O'NEILL:  I would like to go back to the question
that someone asked earlier. I guess it was Senator
Looney about when you first became eligible, when
you were first cleared by Judicial Selection.
Between - I guess it was October of 1993, I think
you said, --
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  1995.
REP. O'NEILL:  1995?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes.
REP. O'NEILL:  Oh, okay. I am trying to do the
arithmetic in my head and I'm not going that fast.
I'm assuming that you were never offered a
nomination and said that you were in the midst of a
case or doing something that you couldn't break
away from it. Is this the first time you've been
offered to be placed before the Legislature?
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Yes, that's correct.
REP. O'NEILL:  Well, I would also like to echo so many
of the other comments.  I don't get to see that
many maybe since Naugatuck is now becoming the
location of choice for judicial nominees for us.
I'll get to see more.  But I would echo the
comments that so many others have made and our
dealings with each other and that seeing you in
court and when I saw your name on here I was very
pleased to see it.  That knowing that you were on
the other side of a case meant it was very likely
we were going to end up with a rational result in
an orderly process and things were going to be done
in the best interest of the clients and as
sufficiently as possible and I look forward to
seeing you on the bench.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Anything further?  Thank you very much.
SHERIDAN L. MOORE:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Next to be a judge of the Superior
Court, Attorney Antonio C. Robaina.
Good afternoon.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Good afternoon.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Would you please raise your right hand?
Do you swear the testimony you are about to give is
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth?
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  I do.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  You may proceed if you have
an opening statement or comments.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Thank you, Senator Sullivan,
distinguished members of the committee.  I wish to
thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear
here and to tell you a little bit about myself.
I was born in Havana, Cuba.  Shortly before my
seventh birthday I came to this country with my
family as political refugees. That was in 1961.  My
father did not come with us initially. He came in
the following year and that was roughly two years
after Castro came to power.
At that time our experience was fairly typical for
refugee families.  None of us spoke English except
for my mother who had taken some high school
English and employment in Florida was hard to come
by.  To give you an example, my dad who had been a
lawyer in Cuba with his own firm, took a job as a
bus boy and got another job parking cars at the
same time.
After living in Miami Beach for a couple of years
we did become somewhat proficient in English and
moved to New York City where opportunity was easier
to come by. We lived in New York for about three
years and by good fortune moved to the wonderful
State of Connecticut in 1966 which we have lived
ever since.
In that first ten year period that we were here, my
father taught school and also managed to go to the
University of Connecticut Law School at night. He
graduated in 1972 which was when I graduated from
high school. I went to the University of
Connecticut in Storrs and I got a BA degree in
political science, of all things and then a law
degree also from UConn in 1979.  And actually he
and I, I think, still remain the only father and
son to have graduated from UConn Law School in the
same decade.
Upon my graduation from law school I did go to work
with my father and it has been my privilege to
practice with him for about the last 19 years.
Originally, my practice was primarily in criminal
law and subsequent to that I had the opportunity to
practice in juvenile court. At one time I was a
state's advocate.  I've also had experience in
family law and housing courts and real estate. I
have appeared before a number of administrative
agencies including the Office of Immigration
Review, the Workers' Compensation Commission, The
Board of Firearms Examiners, the State Gaming
Commission, and the Commission on Human Rights and
Opportunities.
My practice, at this point, consists primarily of
plaintiffs and defendants negligence work and I
still do quite a bit of criminal law.
Aside from my practice I just finished three terms
on the Deep River Board of Education for more than
half of that time I was happy to serve as the
Chairperson of that board. I still serve on the
Planning and Zoning Commission in town also and I
was on the Charter Commission, as well, which was
short lived, but a nice experience, nonetheless.
I have been able to serve on a number of non-profit
organizations including an organization called the
Connection Fund, Inc. which is in Middletown. I was
the treasurer of the (inaudible - Spanish) which is
an elderly housing organization in New Haven during
the time when we built a 105 unit elderly housing
on Sylvan Avenue which will be an address familiar
to some of you.
I am a member of a number of bar associations.  I
am founding member of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar
Association which I'm very proud of which is an
organization now that has over 100 members.
I am deeply honored and I'm moved to having been
nominated by the Governor and I am humbled by the
nomination and I thank you very much for allowing
me the opportunity to appear before you today.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you. Questions.  Representative
Martinez.  John Martinez.
REP. MARTINEZ:  Well, now that you've almost forgotten
names, by the way, Attorney Robaina, welcome and
congratulations on your nomination.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Thank you, Representative.
REP. MARTINEZ:  Senator Williams over here -- we take
our -- we like the chair we have here.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  That's a good point.  You know, if I am
suffering from Alzheimer's today, the nominee did
call me Senator Sullivan at the beginning of his
testimony.  I think that's what Representative
Martinez is alluding to.
REP. MARTINEZ:  But, first of all, let me again
congratulate you on your nomination. Certainly, I'm
very aware of the practice in New Haven that you've
had over the years with your father and the really
excellent and outstanding work that you do for that
community.
I also would like to just point out that your
public service record has and continues to speak
for itself and certainly I've been one that really
looked hard at it and found to my surprise and my
happiness around the research that I did that you
have done some really outstanding work. In
particular in domestic violence and with women and
children and I think that's very commendable.
Certainly, I'm very happy to see you being
nominated for the bench.  I think that you bring a
wealth of experience and certainly I believe that
you're a person that can really add to the kinds of
issues, in particular, racial disparity in our
correctional institutions, your sensitivity around
those kinds of issues, etc. I think will help the
bench tremendously and I wanted to just let my
colleagues know that I think you're one heck of a
nomination.
Congratulations.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Thank you very much,
Representative.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Senator Looney.
SEN. LOONEY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would also like
to welcome Attorney Robaina here today. The New
Haven Bar is suffering a great loss in one day with
Attorney Robaina and Attorney Gruendel, two of the
most distinguished practitioners from firms in New
Haven and we have another outstanding nominee who
is from New Haven, but practices in Bridgeport in
Attorney Robinson.  So that it is a -- I would like
to second what Representative Martinez said that
Attorney Robaina is someone who has extraordinary
temperament. Is very, very gifted and has exactly
the right kind of judgment that we need to see on
the bench and that's certainly also goes for
Attorney Gruendel and both of them have been
distinguished not only by their legal practice, but
also their involvement in community activities and
assisting non-profit organizations and as advocates
in their communities who have accepted the
responsibility of members of the bar to go beyond
just the practice and also to be community leaders
and to bring that experience to bear.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Thank you, Senator.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you.  Good afternoon.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Good afternoon.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Congratulations.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Thank you very much.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Good to see you here this afternoon.
Attorney Robaina, do you belong to any clubs that
discriminate based on sex, religion, national
origin, race, or other like categories?
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  No, Ma'am, but I do have to tell
you that the famous Groucho Marx comment comes to
mind when you ask that question, but the answer is
no.
REP. SCALETTAR: I will tell the Groucho Marx comment
that always comes to my mind here in the
Legislature is, "whatever it is, I'm against it".
SEN. WILLIAMS:  There's an exception for judicial
nominees.
Further questions?  Thank you very much.
ANTONIO C. ROBAINA:  Thank you.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Next to be a judge of the Superior
Court, Attorney Angela Carol Robinson.
Good afternoon. Would you please raise your right
hand?  Do you swear that the testimony that you are
about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth?
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON: I do.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you. And again, if you have an
opening statement or comments, you may proceed.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON: Thank you.  Good afternoon,
Senator Williams, Representative Lawlor, members of
the committee.
It is an honor to appear before you today having
been nominated by Governor Rowland for the position
of Superior Court judge.
Thank you for the opportunity to briefly introduce
myself to you. I am a resident of New Haven. I was
born in Indianapolis, Indiana and moved to
Connecticut with my family when I was two.  I've
been a resident of Connecticut ever since.  I'm an
honors graduate of Cheshire Academy. I earned my
Bachelor of Arts degree in three and one-half years
from Rutgers University, Douglas College where I
was inducted in the phi beta kappa and graduate
with honors.
Following my graduation from Rutgers I clerked for
six months as an intern paralegal with Attorney
Earl Williams. After that, I entered the Yale
University School of Law and received my JD from
there three years later.
During law school I clerked as a summer associate
for Zeldes, Needle, and Cooper in Bridgeport. I
began my legal career with Wiggin and Dana in New
Haven as a health care litigation associate.  I
left Wiggin and Dana to join Koskoff, Koskoff and
Beer where I have engaged in a predominantly civil
tort practice representing plaintiffs.  During my
tenure with Koskoff, Koskoff and Beer, I have
attained skills as a trial advocate handling cases
involving medical negligence, premises liability,
child sexual abuse, and other types of torts. In
addition, I have represented plaintiffs in
employment discrimination and I'm one of two
lawyers in our office that represents the
Bridgeport Guardians.
My practice is been in both state and federal
court.  In addition to participating in private
practice I have been very involved in various bar
associations.  I have been quite active in the
Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the
Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association serving on
many committees in these organizations.
In the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, I
have held numerous leadership positions. In fact, I
was the youngest member and the first African
American woman elected to its Board of Governors.
I have developed and organized educational programs
for trial lawyers and have lectured throughout the
country on topics designed to teach child advocacy
skills.  In connection with these presentations, I
have written and had published, numerous
educational papers.  I am a member of the American
Bar Association, the American (inaudible) Court,
the Connecticut Bar Association, the Bridgeport Bar
Association, the National Bar Association, the New
Haven County Bar Association, and the George
Crawford Society.
In the Connecticut Bar Association and the
Bridgeport Bar Association I have participated on
various committees.  In the New Haven County Bar
Association I was a member of the Committee on the
Development of Opportunities for Minority Lawyers
which established a program to introduce minority
law students to the legal community in New Haven
placing them in law firms for summer associate
positions.
In terms of other professional and community
affiliations, I served as a member of the Board of
Directors of the Connecticut Women's Education and
Legal Fund. I served on the Procedural Committee
for Civilian Complaints on the New Haven Board of
Police Commissioners. I was a member of the Legal
Redress Committee of the New Haven Chapter of the
NAACP. I served as decade chairperson for the
Bicentennial Celebration of the Cheshire Academy
Alumni Association.  I am a member of the Board for
the Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale
which is a foundation that dispenses funds to those
interested in undertaking public interest programs
and projects.
I serve as a delegate from the Yale Law School to
the Association of Yale Alumni.  I'm an active
member of my church, Christian Tabernacle Baptist
Church in Hamden and participate in vacation bible
school as a teacher.
During my career as a trial lawyer I have had
opportunity to work with some of the best lawyers
in Connecticut.  Those affiliations and my other
experiences have enabled me to successfully engage
in trial practice which has familiarized me with
the inner workings of the civil justice system.
I come to you prepared to face the challenge posed
by this nomination and also prepared to answer any
questions you may have for me.
Thank you for this time.  I look forward to
answering your questions.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you. Good afternoon.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON: Good afternoon.
REP. SCALETTAR:  You certainly have a very impressive
resume for a short amount of time. It's very
impressive what you've done.
I want to ask you the same question about
membership in any discriminatory clubs.  Do you
belong to any such clubs?
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON: No, I do not.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you very much.
SEN. WILLIAMS:  Further questions?  Representative
Staples.
REP. STAPLES:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Angela, I'm
feeling a little old now that I have someone who I
took the Bar with appear before us as a candidate
for the bench. I also want to just second what
Representative Scalettar said. You have a very
impressive list of things that you've been working
on for the last nine years.
Could you, perhaps, tell us a little bit about the
work that you've done. I know that you've listed a
number of the main cases you've been involved in.
You have listed, I guess, that you were sole
counsel.  Could you describe a little bit for us
about the nature of your work?  I know you've been
involved at Koskoff for the last eight years.  What
level of experience have you had in the cases
you've been an associate counsel in and could you
give us some more information about what degree of
involvement you had in those cases that you were
sole counsel in.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON: Well, the way our firm operates
is that on complicated medical negligence cases,
for instance, often two people will participate in
preparing the case and I did so for a number of
years.  Gradually getting my own caseload of
medical negligence cases to handle alone. The cases
that are listed are often the cases, I think, the
ones you are referring to that went to trial or
that had some significant ruling, but I've handled
many cases that I've resolved and settled and
wasn't able to list on my own.  So, we gradually
learn how to handle the cases in our office until
we get to the point where we handle them solo. And
at this point in my practice, I'd say 99% of my
caseload, I am the sole attorney on them.
REP. STAPLES:  Thank you. Well, I am very happy to see
you here before us today and I think you will make
an excellent judge.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON: Thank you.
REP. LAWLOR:  Representative Cafero.
REP. CAFERO:  Yes, thank you. Two questions, Attorney
Robinson.  First, is you mentioned that most of
your work has been as plaintiff's counsel in civil
litigation.  There are some people who say
plaintiff's counsel have a certain way of thinking
and doing things. If you were to sit on the bench,
how do you think you might prepare yourself to get
out of the plaintiff's counsel mode?
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Well, I think that I have
learned to serve my clients as an advocate. Also
understanding the system in a balanced way.  And
although I bring a lot of plaintiffs experience, I
think that experience has taught me about both
sides and both perspectives.  I did start out with
a defense perspective at Wiggin and Dana and then
primarily worked in plaintiff's law. So I don't
think it would be difficult for me to sort of shed
the advocate's role and take on the neutral
impartial role.
REP. CAFERO:  Thank you. Two things are very apparent
from your resume.  First of all, your very
impressive background and experience.  And of
course, your youth.  I guess my question would be
what is it that -- when did you decide you wanted
to become a judge and why at such an early stage in
your career did you feel that the time was right?
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Well, I think I have always to
become a judge. I think that was one of the career
goals that I left law school with.  It suits my
personality and my way of looking at law.  And so
I've always aspired for that.
I decided to pursue that aspiration at this point
because I had life experiences and professional
experiences that I felt qualified me to take that
next step.  I had acquired a great of trial
experience and experience with the court system in
my law firm. I had the benefit of working with a
lot of trial attorneys who understood the system
and were able to tutor me and then I brought my own
personal social background that I think uniquely
qualifies me to do this at this time.  I come from
a very diverse background. I've been to public,
parochial and private schools. I've been to ivy
league universities and state universities and of
course, I have a multi-ethnic background and all
those things combined, I think, have enabled me to
reach this point at this age.
REP. CAFERO:  Thank you.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Thank you.
REP. LAWLOR:  Representative Hamzy.
REP. HAMZY:   Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  First of all,
congratulations on your nomination.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Thank you.
REP. HAMZY:   I just want to follow up on Representative
Cafero's line of questioning.  The same two things
that struck out in your resume to Representative
Cafero stuck out with me also in that you have
obviously accomplished a lot in a short period of
time, but one of the questions that I have in my
mind is the issue of your youth and how you -- when
I think of the qualifications of being a judge,
obviously academic and the trial and the
professional experience is something that you,
without question have.  The other aspect of it
would be life experience, just trying to deal with
different issues.
Can you address that somewhat that the second
aspect of --
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  The life experience aspect.
REP. HAMZY:   Right.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  I was beginning to touch on
that, I think, in my last answer and one of the
essential qualities that I would say a judge needs
to have is the ability to listen and to take in
facts in order to apply appropriate rulings to it.
And life experience enables a judge, I believe, to
do that. Because I have been fortunate enough to
have various life experiences that have exposed me
to all different ages of people to work with, I'm
accustomed to working with in leadership roles
people that are younger -- I mean older than I am.
REP. HAMZY:   Not many younger.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Not many younger, this is true.
Older than I am. I am accustomed to working with
people with different ethnic background, different
religion and I've had experience doing that as a
leader as a fairly young age.  So I bring that life
experience with me and that is what I think would
enable me to take on this challenge.
REP. HAMZY:   Thank you.
REP. LAWLOR:  Are there further questions?
Representative Dandrow.
REP. DANDROW:  Good afternoon.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Good afternoon.
REP. DANDROW: I see in your resume here that you have
written an article on protective children's rights
in domestic violence cases.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Yes.
REP. DANDROW:  I was wondering if you could just very
briefly, I know -- summarize a little bit about
what's in that article and how you addressed it.
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Well, one of the challenges for
practitioners who practice in tort law is figuring
out how to help children who are victims of
domestic violence not directly as child abuse
victims who are physically abused, but children who
grew up in a home where there's domestic violence.
And we found that often times those children are
overlooked in terms of having adequate needs --
their needs provided for.  So that article
addressed certain ways that as practitioners we
could be sensitive to the fact that there are
actually specific needs that children grew up
witnessing domestic violence have. So we should
learn to recognize that. And that we also need to
learn how to provide resources for those
psychological needs to be met and that was the
focus of that article, how to do that.
REP. DANDROW:  And in considering if you were to
consider joint custody and visitation you would
certainly take the domestic violence pattern into
consideration?
ANGELA CAROL ROBINSON:  Absolutely.
REP. DANDROW:   Thank you.
REP. LAWLOR:  Are there further questions?  If not,
thank you very much.
Next is Attorney Barbara  J. Sheedy of Naugatuck.
Good afternoon, Attorney Sheedy.  Would you raise
your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony
you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole
truth and nothing but the truth?
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  I do.
REP. LAWLOR:  Please be seated. Before you begin let me
just -- an announcement to those here who have
signed up to testify and members of the committee.
There are two other committee meetings, at least,
going on at this time. There's the GAE Committee
which is meeting next door and the Education
Committee meeting outside the Senate Chamber at
12:30.  We anticipate we will hold the votes open
here until the House convenes at 1:00 o'clock. I
would point out we have this nominee and two others
to go together with ten members of the public who
have signed up to testify. So please keep that in
mind when you're asking questions that we have a
bit of a time problem.
And the Transportation meeting fifteen minutes
prior to the start of the session.  Is that over
there or here?  At the Hall of the House.  Okay.
So, just keep that in mind. This is the deadline to
take action on these nominations today so we need
to accomplish this before the House convenes at
1:00 o'clock.
I'm sorry.  Do you have a statement?
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  No, that's alright. I appreciate
your comments.  Thank you, Representative Lawlor.
Good afternoon, Representative Lawlor,
Representative Scalettar and other members of the
Judiciary Committee. I'm honored to appear before
you today as one of Governor Rowland's nominees for
appointment as a Superior Court judge and I'm
grateful to all who have offered me guidance and
support during this selection process.
I was born one of six children to two Irish
immigrants and I am the other Naugatuck candidate.
I've lived in Naugatuck since I was three years
old. I attended a local parochial school there and
I graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1960.
While I was in high school I was fortunate enough
to see the University of Connecticut when I
attended Laurel Girls State and I feel in love with
the university and I decided that it was there that
I would attend college. I spent four years at
Storrs and I graduated from the University of
Connecticut in 1964.
Thereafter, I taught English from 1964 to 1968 and
Amity Regional Senior High School in Woodbridge,
Connecticut and during the summer months I was
fortunate enough to receive federal grants for the
development of curricula that were later
implemented in the Amity Regional school system.
For the next 12 years I worked in business as a
program director for a multi-media educational
corporation. I began as a manuscript editor and I
worked my way through various positions and when I
left that job in 1976, I believe, I was Vice
President of Program Development for Educational
Resources, Inc. which was then a division of the
McGraw Hill Publishing Company.  During the years
that I was there we had gone through a number of
acquisitions and mergers. So there were a number of
owners for whom I was employed.
From 1976 to 1980 I also attended the University of
Connecticut School of Law in the evening division
and I graduated second in my class in the year
1980.
During the last year of law school I additionally
served as a legal intern in the public defender's
office for the judicial district of Litchfield.
In August of 1980 I joined a civil litigation firm
in New Haven which was then known as Giluli and
McGrail. I became a full partner in 1984 and
remained there until I resigned in January of 1997
when the firm was known as McGrail, Carol, and
Sheedy.  My practice consisted almost exclusively
of the representation of defendants in personal
injury matters, product liability, legal and
medical malpractice claims, and other tort and
contract disputes. I litigated a significant number
of cases at trial always as sole counsel because we
were a small firm and really didn't have the luxury
of having more than one attorney trying a case at
any given time.
While in private practice I served as a fact
finder, as an arbitrator, as an attorney trial
referee, and as a special master in New Haven
Superior Court and Meriden Superior Court. In those
capacities I heard civil cases consisting of
personal injury matters, contract issues, property
damage claims, boundary disputes, landlord/tenant
conflicts, etc.
For eight years I also served as the New Haven co-
chair of the Special Masters Program for the
federal district court and I sat as special masters
assigned to police brutality cases in the federal
court in New Haven.  I have also, in the past,
served as president of the Connecticut Defense
Lawyers Association.
Since February of 1997 I have been affiliated with
Rosemary Guiliano -- injury cases in Attorney
Guiliano's office. I have also been self employed
as an arbitrating mediator of private disputes to
include uninsured, under insured, motorists claims
and like Judge Mack before me, have also mediated
and arbitrated some cases that have come to me
through Dispute Resolution, Inc.
Thank you very much for your time and your
courtesy. I'm available to answer whatever
questions you may have.
REP. LAWLOR:  Thank you. Representative Scalettar.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you. Congratulations, Attorney
Sheedy.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  Thank you very much, Representative.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Good to see you here today.  I will
just ask you the standard question. Do you belong
to any clubs that discriminate?
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  I do not.
REP. SCALETTAR:  Thank you very much.
REP. LAWLOR:  That's the standard answer.  Are there
other questions?  Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  Hi. How are you?
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  I'm fine, Senator. How are you?
SEN. UPSON:  I really don't know you that well, but I
hear good things about you.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  Thank you.
SEN. UPSON:  How long have you lived in Naugatuck?
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  Since I was three years old which
has been a little over the mountain.  I've lived
there for fifty-two years, Senator.
SEN. UPSON:  I wasn't trying to get your age. I know it
already.  I probably shouldn't have made that
comment. I don't know you that well.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  It is now public information.
SEN. UPSON:  But anyway, I don't think I've run into you
when you've been with Rosemary Guiliano. Of course,
most of your practice was in New Haven.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  That's correct, 17 and one-half
years.
SEN. UPSON:  I hear you're very competent and a lot of
good things.  So, congratulations.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  Thank you very much.
REP. LAWLOR:  Are there further questions?
Representative O'Neill.
REP. O'NEILL:  Obviously, I'm pursuing a kind of a
general inquiry so I will ask you also as part of
it, how long ago did you get clearance by the
Judicial Selection?
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  I was approved by the Judicial
Selection Commission in September of 1997.
REP. O'NEILL:  Okay. So that's --
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  It was about six months ago.
REP. O'NEILL:  Thank you.  I needed that help.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  You are very welcome.
REP. O'NEILL:  Okay. I am just trying to get a sense of
how quickly people come off of the list once they
get on it for us.  Thank you.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  Thank you.
REP. LAWLOR:  Are there further questions?  If not,
thank you very much, Attorney Sheedy.
BARBARA J. SHEEDY:  Thank you, Representative.
REP. LAWLOR:  Next is Attorney Lois Tanzer of West
Hartford.  Attorney Tanzer, would you please raise
your right hand? Do you swear the testimony you are
about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth?
LOIS TANZER:  I do.
REP. LAWLOR:  Please be seated.  If you would like to
begin with a statement, that would be appropriate.
LOIS TANZER:  Yes.  Thank you.  Good afternoon,
Representative Lawlor and members of the committee.
I am honored by and welcome this opportunity to
introduce myself to you in the hope of obtaining
approval for appointment to judicial office.
By way of background.  I was raised in Summerville
in Medford, Massachusetts, suburbs of Boston and
attended public schools there until I entered
Wesley College.  I married Jason Tanzer right after
graduating from Welsey in 1962 and worked at a
Boston hospital for a year before moving to
Rochester, New York where our two children were
born.
In 1966 the Tanzer family moved to Washington, D.C.
where I tutored home bound students on a part-time
basis.  A position for my husband at the then new
UConn Health Center brought us to Connecticut in
1970.  Once both children were in school I entered
the University of Connecticut School of Law. I love
the study of law.  I became a member and editor of
the Law Review.  While in law school I wrote an
article on searches and seizures with my criminal
law professor which was cited by Judge Meskill and
ultimately by the United States Supreme Court.
I graduated from law school with honors in 1974 and
after a one year appointment as a law clerk to
Justice Alvers Loiselle at the Connecticut Supreme
Court, I entered private practice.
In the early years as an associate with the firm of
Joselof and Sardosky, I had a general practice,
family, real estate, trust and estates, but by the
early 80's I began to focus on trial work and
appeals.
Over the next 15 years as a partner in the firm of
O'Brien and Tanzky and its successor, O'Brien,
Tansky, Tanzer and Young, and now as a solo
practitioner, I have litigated mainly in state
court in areas of personal injury, medical
malpractice defense, insurance coverage, and have
continued to do appeals.
More recently I have represented health care
providers in administrative proceedings with the
Department of Health.
I have also handled family and social security
matters, disability matters, mostly pro bono.  In
addition to an exciting and intense trial practice,
I have been involved in appeals in cases of first
impression.  I have served as a state court fact
finder and a federal court master.  I have been an
invited participant in a UConn civil trial practice
course, presented seminars on health law topics and
lectured residents and nurses on topics such as
malpractice, records, and confidentiality.
I am presently a board of director of the Hartford
County Bar Association and have been committee
chair of the Medical Legal Committee.
If appointed to judicial office, I hope to
integrate and benefit from these experiences in a
way that is respectful of the law and my
(inaudible).  And in ways that are thoughtful, yet
decisive, firm, yet flexible and humane.
I am honored by Governor Rowland's nomination of
me.  I am appreciative of your attention and
honored by your consideration.  I'd be happy to
answer any questions.
REP. LAWLOR:  Thank you very much, Attorney Tanzer.
Representative Scalettar has asked me to ask her
standard question.  Are you a member of any clubs
or organizations which discriminate on account of
the various classifications which you're not
allowed to discriminate against in our state?
LOIS TANZER:  No, I am not.
REP. LAWLOR:  Okay.  Thank you. Are there other
questions?  Thank you very much.
LOIS TANZER:  Thank you very much.
REP. LAWLOR:  We have sixteen minutes to go and the next
nominee is Attorney Ralph Marcarelli of New Haven
to be a Workers' Compensation Commissioner.
Good afternoon, Attorney Marcarelli.  Do you swear
that the testimony you are about to give shall be
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I do.
REP. LAWLOR:  Please be seated.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Thank you.  Good afternoon,
Representative Lawlor and members of the committee.
I'm very grateful for the opportunity to appear
before you and of course, I'm honored by Governor
Rowland's nomination as Workers' Compensation
Commissioner.
For those on the committee who don't know me, may I
say that I was born in New Haven in 1935, attended
its public schools, was graduated from Fairfield
University and thereafter entered and successfully
completed my first year at the Georgetown Law
School.
For reasons that seem foolish now, but seemed very
germane then, I put aside the law at that time and
immediately entered Middlebury College and
completed an MA after studies at the University of
Florence, Italy. After a year of university
teaching in Naples and two as an editor of an
international religious quarterly in Rome, I
returned to the States in 1964 and resumed my
teaching career at all of the various New Haven
universities with the exception of Quinnipiac.
At the same time completing my Masters in
philosophy at Yale. In 1973 at the behest of the
White House, I took a post in international affairs
on the staff of the Secretary of HUD. In 1975 I
moved to the staff of the director of ACTION, Peace
Corps Vista.  Returning from D.C. in 1977 I
completed my PH.d at Yale in romance languages and
literatures.  For the next five years I served as
head master of the Milford Academy after which I
did education and international consulting and
served as head of a family run business until 1986
when at age 51 I once again entered law school at
UB, attending night classes there and enrolling
myself, incidentally, in the workers' compensation
law courses. While working days as a courtroom
clerk in the civil jury side of the Superior Court
in New Haven.
In May of 1989 armed with my JD I entered a New
Haven law firm, passed the Bar, and remained there
two years until I opened my own office for the
general practice of law.
In 1995 I became an administrative hearings
attorney for the Department of Consumer Protection
and subsequently counsel to the Commissioner and
presiding officer for the formal hearings of the
Liquor Control Division.  This rapid scan of
history brings me to this moment.
As I stated earlier, I am honored by this
nomination.  More importantly, however, I am
grateful for the opportunity to serve a constantly
varying segment of our state's people in a moment
of their crisis and need. The Workers' Compensation
system is virtually the sole remedy for the worker
injured or sick as a result of causes arising from
his or her employment.
I've seen first hand the emotional and financial
strains on persons and families resulting from the
inability to work because of such injury or
illness.  I firmly believe that we owe such workers
both from legal principle and human concern the
most expeditious resolutions of their cases in an
atmosphere where decisions in their regard are
predicated on law and justice and rendered with
respect and courtesy for all parties involved.
If confirmed, I pledge myself to work constantly to
that end.  I appreciate your kind attention and
welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you
may have.
REP. LAWLOR:  Thank you, Attorney Marcarelli.  Are you a
member of any club or organization which
discriminates?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  No, I am not, Representative
Lawlor.
REP. LAWLOR:  Thank you very much. Senator Upson.
SEN. UPSON:  Yes.  As far as your workers' compensation
practice, where was it mostly done or was it --
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  In the third and in the fourth.
SEN. UPSON:  And what do you think about the 1993
changes done by the Legislature -- made by the
Legislature?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I think that insofar as some of
those changes were intended to preserve the
integrity of the system, they were excellent.  I
think insofar as affecting the welfare of the
individual workers, they might deserve some
reconsideration.
SEN. UPSON:  And as a 308a benefits, what do you think
of those, the changes?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I think they're probably
appropriate, but I'm not certain, frankly. I don't
think --
SEN. UPSON:  What part isn't appropriate?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  No, I think I say -- I think they
are appropriate.
SEN. UPSON:  Oh. In what respect?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Well, I find no fault with them,
Senator.
SEN. UPSON:  I know, but do you understand -- are they
limited or are they unlimited?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Well, they're certainly not
unlimited. They are limited.
SEN. UPSON:  And that's the part that I question.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  That's also -- again, part -- I
said generally speaking, Senator that I found that
in terms of legislation they might well be
revisited after perhaps practical experience in
them wherein perhaps some people have not
benefitted as much as they might have --
SEN. UPSON:  And scarring.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  The scarring, of course, I think
is probably within reason because you still have a
situation where the scarring, of course, if
visible, really provides an impediment.
I can imagine situations, I'm sure, where scars
might cause other kinds of problems.  This is a
non-visible scar.
SEN. UPSON:  Informal hearings.  Do you find that they
work or don't?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I think that if might be well if a
greater emphasis was put on the resolution of cases
in pre-formal situations.  I think what I'm saying
to you in essence, I think that sometimes with a
different philosophy, things might not have to
reach the formal stage.
SEN. UPSON:  Now, you became a lawyer in 1989. Is that
correct?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Yes, Senator.
SEN. UPSON:  And did your practice immediately become
workers' compensation oriented or how did that
happen?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  That happened just in the general
run of things. In fact, I think, if I remember one
of the very first cases was indeed a workers'
compensation case and then I handled workers'
compensation, certainly not as a specialty and not
as a major part of the practice, but as a constant
part of my practice from the beginning virtually
through today.
SEN. UPSON:  In your resume -- not resume, the form you
filled out it said "in what percentage of your
workers' compensation did you represent the
claimant 100%?"  How many workers' compensation
actions have you had over the years?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I don't -- I've never kept a
count, but I imagine you would have on the average
of five to six annually.
SEN. UPSON:  And you now cannot practice law. Is that
correct?  Or can you do that on the side or is it
that you have to work strictly for the State?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I don't practice any longer,
Senator.
SEN. UPSON:  When did you stop practicing?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I'm not forbidden to practice law,
but I have deliberately limited my practice and not
taking any more cases because there simply isn't
time to do a proper job at what I'm doing as well
as practice individually.
What I'm trying to do is resolve - - I don't have
to tell you how cases keep going and going.  I'm
trying to resolve and put an end to those cases at
this point.
SEN. UPSON:  Have you ever done an appeal on a workers'
compensation matter?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  No, I have not.
SEN. UPSON:  Alright.  And the cases you list
significant matters, were these, for example, I'm
on F, Mango vs. Ward.  What was that case all
about?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I didn't really understand the
nature of the notion of significance so I had to
decide that why they were significant to me,
significant to me because it was a very complex
personal injury case which I sort of rescued from
near oblivion two days before the running of the
statute and the merge with a very, very fine result
for the client.
SEN. UPSON:  Not a trial, though. Is that correct?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  It never went to trial.
SEN. UPSON:  And were any of the -- Lopes vs. Candlewood
Lake go to trial?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  That did. No, I beg your pardon.
That did not because it was ultimately defeated on
motion.  That was the question of the liability of
parks and municipalities.
SEN. UPSON:  Have you ever gone through a case all the
way?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Yes.
SEN. UPSON:  Jury trial?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Yes.
SEN. UPSON:  Alright. So you feel that even though you
have had a short legal experience, you feel you
could handle workers' compensation?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  I do, in addition to which,
Senator, I've done the formal hearings for Liquor
Control now for two years.
SEN. UPSON:  For the State of Connecticut?
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Yes.
SEN. UPSON:  Thank you.
REP. LAWLOR:  Are there further questions?  Senator
Looney.
SEN. LOONEY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Welcome, Mr.
Marcarelli.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Thank you, Senator.
SEN. LOONEY:  I would just like to say, Mr. Marcarelli
is a constituent of mine and a long time friend and
I think that he certainly possesses the qualities
of analytical turn of mind and intelligence and
compassion that will make him an outstanding
workers' compensation commissioner. He is someone
who is extraordinarily fair minded and
conscientious.  And he will do a great job for the
State of Connecticut.
REP. LAWLOR:  Thank you.  Representative Martinez.
REP. MARTINEZ:  Yes.  I'm pretty fortunate to have
Attorney Marcarelli here and congratulations on
your nomination.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Thank you, Representative.
REP. MARTINEZ:  As a constituent of mine, I'm aware of a
lot of the work you do within the district,
particularly your efforts with Hospice and a number
of other non-profit organizations and the work you
take time out out of your very busy schedule to do.
In addition, the fun stuff like the Wooster Square
Festival which is tremendously successful and I
concur with Senator Looney in his remarks that I
think you're going to make an excellent
compensation judge. I've had the privilege, I guess
I'll call it, having to appear in front of
compensation judges representing employers and I
know that that work calls for an individual that
has the kind of fortitude, fairness, and good will
that you certainly have.
So, I'm very happy to see you here and wish you a
lot of luck.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Thank you so much, Representative
Martinez.
REP. LAWLOR:  Are there further questions? If not, thank
you very much.
RALPH E. MARCARELLI:  Thank you very much.
REP. LAWLOR:  Now, here is the complicating factor for
members -- for people who have signed up.  There
are ten persons who have signed up to testify.
There are ten nominees. We are required to conduct
a separate vote on each nominee. The House will
convene in five minutes. The announcement has
already been made and if we don't act on these
nominations today, unfortunately the deadline will
have expired and from reviewing the list where it's
indicated whether or not people are testifying in
favor or in opposition to a particular nominee, it
appears everyone is in favor of them.  Based on
conversations with committee members, I believe
that all of the nominees will be successful today
in this committee.
So, with that consideration, is there anyone who
would like to testify for or against any of these
nominations?  Okay.  Attorney Grudberg is speaking
on behalf of all the members of the audience.  It's
much appreciated.
With that, if no one wishes to testify, we will
call the public hearing to a close.
(Whereupon, the public hearing adjourned.)
TOP    DESCRIPTION: JUD Committee Hearing Transcript for 04/28/98
SUBJECT: CHR
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Number: 04/28/1998