Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane Kyle Constable / file photo
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane Kyle Constable / file photo
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane Kyle Constable / file photo

John J. Russotto, a 22-year veteran of the Division of Criminal Justice, will serve as the acting chief state’s attorney once Kevin Kane retires on Nov. 1.

Russotto’s appointment was announced by the Criminal Justice Commission on Tuesday. He has been the deputy chief state’s attorney for personnel, finance and administration since 2004. He will stay in the position until the commission appoints a successor to finish Kane’s term, which ends on June 30, 2021.

Last week, the commission held a public forum to determine what qualities and experience they should be looking for when interviewing candidates to replace Kane. That meeting marked the first time Connecticut residents were given a chance to participate in the selection of the state’s top prosecutor, thanks to a bill passed last legislative session. Those who missed the forum can submit public comments when candidates are interviewed for the position. Those interviews are also open to the public.

Before the forum, Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald, the chair of the Criminal Justice Commission, stressed the importance of finding the right candidate for the powerful job, despite Kane’s looming retirement at the end of the month.

“We’re moving as quickly as possible under the circumstances, but I think we are focused more on finding and selecting the right candidate, than finding the candidate the fastest,” he said.

The commission also announced Tuesday its appointment of Dawn Gallo to the vacant state’s attorney position for the Judicial District of Litchfield. Gallo, also a 22-year veteran of the division, will finish her predecessor’s term, which ends June 30, 2025. She has been the supervisory assistant state’s attorney for the Litchfield Judicial District since June 2014.

Kelan is a Report For America Corps Member who covers the intersection of mental health and criminal justice for CT Mirror. Before joining CT Mirror, Kelan was a staff writer for City Weekly, an alt weekly in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a courts reporter for The Bryan-College Station Eagle, in Texas. He is originally from Philadelphia.

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