Rell to fill 10 vacant seats on Superior Court

Gov. M. Jodi Rell informed legislative leaders today she intends to fill 10 vacant seats on the Superior Court, setting the stage for a rare clash involving all three branches of government.

Quoting court officials, some key legislators have asked Rell to refrain from naming the 10 judges, saying the court system cannot afford the additional jurists as it struggles with a reduced budget.

“I will not support this when there isn’t the adequate resources in the budget,” said Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, the co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which reviews judicial nominations.

Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, the other judiciary co-chairman, said the judicial branch has made clear it has far greater needs than more judges.

“They are down about 250 marshals. They don’t have enough court interpreters. They don’t have enough court reporters. The clerk’s offices are impacted by early retirements and operationally the branch has been hobbled significantly,” he said. “Judges have told us they need more support staff. They don’t need more judges.”

For Rell, who is not seeking re-election, the 10 court vacancies are a last opportunity to reward some administration members who are lawyers and have expressed interest in becoming judges.

Her nominees include Robert Genuario, the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, and John A. Danaher III, a former U.S. attorney who is the commissioner of public safety.

The legislature’s Judiciary Committee reviews the qualifications of nominees, but McDonald said it is appropriate for legislators to also consider if the new judges are necessary.

“The nominees should be gratified, but their path forward is going to be uncertain for the near term,” he said.

Court administrators declined comment.

(Our earlier, related story about Rell nominating Judge Dennis G. Eveleigh of Hamden to the Supreme Court is here.)

UPDATE: Here is the list of nominees released by Rell’s office.

Laura Flynn Baldini, 39, of West Hartford (Republican): Currently an attorney in private practice, Baldini is a 1992 graduate of Yale University who obtained her law degree from Seton Hall University in 1996. She worked previously as an attorney at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy from 1998 to 2003 and at Ohrenstein & Brown from 1996 to 1998.

John L. Carbonneau, 54, of East Lyme (Independent): Carbonneau currently works as an attorney in private practice. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in 1977 and his law degree from the Catholic University of America in 1980. He worked previously as an attorney at Kaplan & Brennan from 1996 to 2000 and at the Connecticut Laborers’ Legal Services Fund from 1984 to 1996.

Susan Q. Cobb, 49, of West Hartford (Democrat): An Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut from 1994 to the present, Cobb received her undergraduate degree from Catholic University of America in 1983 and her law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1988. She worked previously for Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn from 1989 to 1994.

Susan A. Connors, 44, of Old Lyme (Republican): Connors, an attorney with Krevolin, Roth & Connors since 1995, received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Connecticut, graduating with her law degree in 1991.

John A. Danaher III, 59, of West Hartford (Democrat): Currently the state’s Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Danaher is a 1972 graduate of Fairfield University. He received a master’s degree from the University of Hartford in 1977 and his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1980. He served more than 20 years as an Assistant United States Attorney and interim United States Attorney; he also worked for Day, Berry & Howard from 1981 to 1986.

Jane B. Emons, 59, of Woodbridge (Democrat): Emons has served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut since 1996 and worked previously in the New Haven State’s Attorney’s office from 1978 to 1988. She graduated from Kirkland College in 1971, received a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina in 1972 and obtained her law degree from Suffolk University in 1977.

Robert L. Genuario, 57, of Norwalk (Republican): Genuario has been Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), the Governor’s budget agency, since 2005. He served previously as state Senator from the 25th District, representing his native Norwalk, from 1991 to 2005. He also served 10 years on the Norwalk Board of Education, from 1981 to 1991, and worked as an attorney in private practice from 1978 to 2005. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Villanova University.

Brian J. Leslie, 42, of Wallingford (Republican): An Assistant State’s Attorney since 2000, Leslie is a 1990 graduate of Fairfield University and received his law degree from Boston College in 1994. He worked previously as an attorney for Farrell, Leslie & Grochowski from 1994 to 2000.

Kathleen McNamara, 56, of East Hartford (Democrat): A Senior Assistant State’s Attorney, McNamara has been with the State’s Attorney’s office since 1990. A former East Hartford police officer, she obtained her law degree from Western New England School of Law while serving as an officer. She served in the East Hartford department from 1979 to 1990. McNamara obtained her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University in 1978.

David M. Sheridan, 54, of Manchester (Democrat): An attorney with Levy & Droney since 1990, Sheridan graduated from the University of Arizona in 1981 with two undergraduate degrees. He received his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1985. Before joining Levy & Droney, Sheridan worked for Cohen & Channin from 1985 to 1990.

 

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