New class of judges comes with connections

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated 15 Superior Court judges and one appellate judge Thursday, drawing heavily on lawyers with political pedigrees, including three former legislators: Maurice B. Mosley, Thomas G. Moukawsher and Andrew W. Roraback.

The governor’s choice for the Appellate Court was Christine E. Keller of Hartford, who has a decade of experience as a trial judge and is considered an expert on juvenile justice issues. She also is connected to the legislature by marriage and blood.

Keller is the wife of the lobbyist and former House speaker, Thomas D. Ritter, and the mother of Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford. She would succeed Carmen Espinosa, who is awaiting confirmation to the state Supreme Court.

The class of Superior Court nominees – the largest since Malloy became governor two years ago – delivers on the governor’s pledge to make the courts more diverse: The nominees Thursday included six women, three African Americans and one Hispanic.

“I don’t hide this,” Malloy said of his desire for a “geographic, racial, gender spread.”

The state’s 171-member judiciary was 81 percent white and 65 percent male as of Jan. 3, with 21 black, five Hispanic and five Asian jurists, according to the state courts. White males comprised 52 percent, white females 29 percent, black males 9 percent and Hispanic males 2 percent.

There were seven black women, one Latina and one Asian woman on the bench.

Ten of the 22 Superior Court nominations made by Malloy are women.

Two of the women nominated Thursday are prominent defense lawyers: Hope C. Seeley of Coventry, who has had a string of high-profile clients with her partner, Hubert Santos, in the Hartford firm of Santos and Seeley; and Karen A. Goodrow, a former public defender who is now the director of the Connecticut Innocence Project.

One of the nominees is a supervisory assistant attorney general with a connection to the world of collegiate sports: Jason M. Lobo of Suffield was a basketball player at Dartmouth, and his sister is the UConn legend, Rebecca Lobo.

But the new list relies more heavily on the world of politics than the seven Superior Court judges Malloy named last year.

Mosley, now counsel to the city of Waterbury’s school department, was a House member for 10 years, leaving the legislature after an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer in 1986.

His candidacy was hampered by questions raised in his district about absentee ballots cast in a delegate primary that year involving former U.S. Rep. Toby Moffett’s challenge of Gov. William A. O’Neill, whose allies denied Moffett the delegate support necessary to qualify for a Democratic primary.

His stay on the court will be relatively brief: He reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in four years.

Moukawsher, like his brother, Rep. Ted Moukawsher, was a Democrat who represented Groton. Roraback, a Republican former state senator of Goshen, was the GOP’s congressional nominee in the 5th District last year.

[Related story on Roraback: Is Malloy ready to make an old critic a judge?]

Former Probate Judge Michael A. Albis of East Haven, is the father of Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven. Albis is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Anthony D. Truglia Jr. of Stamford is the son of two former legislators, Anthony Sr. and Christel Truglia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and earned his law degree at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Shelley A. Marcus of Branford is the daughter of a former Democratic state chairman, Ed Marcus, and is the former chief counsel to the House Democratic caucus. She graduated from Albertus Magnus and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

The nomination of Roraback, whose appointment prevents a rematch next year with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, when Esty will not have the help of presidential coattails, drew the most attention during Malloy’s press conference.

Malloy downplayed his past differences with Roraback, who criticized the Democratic governor’s fiscal policies during his campaign for Congress. The governor viewed the criticism as falling within the bounds of political give and take, especially in a campaign.

“We may have tussled,” Malloy said. “Imagine, politicians being politically motivated.”

The others nominated are:

Melanie L. Cradle of Middlefield, a senior assistant state’s attorney. She graduated from Adelphi University and the Seton Hall University School of Law.

Thomas D. Colin of Ridgefield, a partner with Schoonmaker, George, Colin & Blomberg in Greenwich. He is a graduate of Long Island University and St. John’s University School of Law.

Sheila A. Huddleston of West Hartford, a partner with Shipman and Goodwin. She has a B.A., M.A., and J.D. from Yale.

Michael P. Kamp of Hamden, a partner in Loughlin Fitzgerald in Wallingford. He graduated from Boston College and Emory University School of Law.

Charles T. Lee of Greenwich, a partner with Anderson, Kill & Olick in Stamford. He is a graduate of Harvard and Columbia Law School.

Robyn Stewart Johnson of Glastonbury, a senior assistant state’s attorney. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and Western New England University School of Law.

Lobo is a graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Connecticut School of Law. Seeley has undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Connecticut. Goodrow is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University and Western New England University School of Law.

Mosley is a graduate of South Carolina State University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He also has a master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University. Moukawsher is a graduate of the Citadel and the University of Connecticut School of Law. Roraback is a graduate of Yale and the University of Virginia Law School.

Keller was the only nominee at Malloy’s press conference announcing the appointments.

Related: A list of all judicial nominees since Malloy took office in January 2011

Related: Legislature confirms first openly gay justice of Supreme Court

Follow Mark Pazniokas on Twitter @CTMirrorPaz

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