Gov. Dannel P. Malloy added another 14 names Friday to the final class of judges he is nominating to a Superior Court system heavily populated his nominees. Malloy has sent 30 trial-judge nominations to the legislature in recent weeks, while he is leaving open nine judgeships that are funded in the current budget.
The eight men and six women nominated Friday are diverse group, including two prosecutors, a public defender, a corporate-attorney-turned-legal-aid lawyer, the court system’s chief disciplinary counsel and a lawyer in private practice who writes a well-regarded blog on legal issues, Daniel J. Klau. One of the others is Claudia A. Baio, the mayor of Rocky Hill.
“Selecting nominees to fill vacancies in our court system is one of the most important duties that a governor performs – they must possess the qualities that build a stronger, fairer Connecticut for everyone in the long-run,” Malloy said.
- Matthew Edward Auger, 59, of Groton. Auger is a senior partner and trial lawyer at Suisman Shapiro in New London, where he has worked since 1988. Auger was a captain in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps. He served on active duty from 1984 to 1988 and in the reserves from 1988 to 2014. He a judge of the Gaming Disputes Court for the Mohegan Tribal Court. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree..
- Claudia A. Baio, 53, of Rocky Hill. Baio is a partner at the firm of Howard, Kohn, Sprague & Fitzgerald in Hartford. From 2000 to 2014 she operated her own practice, merged into her current firm. She served as a law clerk from 1989 to 1990 for Flemming L. Norcott, Jr. of the Connecticut Appellate Court. She also holds elected, part-time post of mayor in Rocky Hill. She is a graduate of Trinity College and the University of Connecticut School of Law.
- Tejas Bhatt, 39, of Windsor. Bhatt has been a public defender since 2004, defending clients charged in murder and other serious cases at trial, as well as in appeals to the Appellate and Supreme Courts. Bhatt is on the executive board of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association and is a member of the National Association of Public Defense. He is a graduate of Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai India and the University of Connecticut School of Law.
- Donna M. Wilkerson Brillant, 52, of Cromwell. Wilkerson Brillant is a regional manager for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. She is a former magistrate for the Connecticut Judicial Branch. She also managed her own practice from 2011 to 2013, where she focused on the areas of civil and human rights, employment, contracts, affirmative action, and commercial and family law. She is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University and Western New England College School of Law.
- Karyl L. Carrasquilla, 50, of West Hartford. Carrasquilla is the chief disciplinary counsel for the Connecticut Judicial Branch. Prior to joining the Judicial Branch, she worked in private practice with several law firms. She is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University and Western New England College School of Law.
- Robert A. D’Andrea, 62, of Litchfield. D’Andrea is a commissioner for the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission, appointed by Malloy in 2017. He is a graduate of the University of Hartford and Suffolk University Law School.
- Lisa Grasso Egan, 54, of New Haven. Egan is the undersecretary for labor relations with the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, where since 2015 she has been responsible for representing the state in collective bargaining, contract grievance processes, and administrative hearings before the State Board of Labor Relations. She is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Center.
- Barbara A. Hoffman, 59, of Clinton. Hoffman is a supervisory state’s attorney for the state Division of Criminal Justice. She is a graduate of Franciscan University and Oral Roberts University School of Law.
- Daniel J. Klau, 56, of West Hartford. Klau is an attorney with McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter in Hartford, focusing on appellate and First Amendment litigation. Klau is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and a supervising attorney for the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic. He is the president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information and a past president of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government. He served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Ellen A. Peters of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1990 to 1991. He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and Boston University School of Law.
- Ronald E. Kowalski II, 51, of Norwalk. Kowalski is a partner at Cacace, Tusch and Santagata in Stamford, with whom he has practiced law since 1994. Kowalski has served as a special master for tax appeals in the Stamford-Norwalk Judicial District and has written and lectured on litigation, tax appeal and appellate topics. He is a member of the Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut and previously served as Registrar of Voters for the Town of Easton. He is a graduate of Fairfield University and Suffolk University Law School.
- Peter A. McShane, 55, of Madison. McShane is a state’s attorney for the Judicial District of Middlesex with the State of Connecticut’s Division of Criminal Justice. He served as a law clerk for Judge John J. Daly of the Connecticut Appellate Court from 1987 to 1988. He is a graduate of St. Michaels College in Vermont and Boston University School of Law.
- Francis L. O’Reilly, 55, of Fairfield. O’Reilly is a partner with O’Reilly and Shaw in Southport, where he has worked since 1999. He is graduate of the College at Brockport, State University of New York and Quinnipiac University School of Law.
- Nada K. Sizemore, 61, of Cromwell. Sizemore worked in the insurance industry for over 31 years, including 24 with the Travelers Insurance Company. She most recently served as second vice president and general counsel for Northland Insurance and Northfields Insurance. She is a graduate of Western Connecticut State College and Pace University School of Law.
- Michael Wu, 63, of Canton. Wu is the managing attorney for the Waterbury office of Connecticut Legal Services and a former corporate attorney at United Technologies Corporation. He is a graduate of Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, Yale University Divinity Schooland Western New England University School of Law.