Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday nominated Joan K. Alexander, a former prosecutor who has been a trial and appellate judge for 22 years, as a justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The governor also nominated Judge Hope C. Seeley of the Superior Court as Alexander’s successor on the Appellate Court and 11 others to the Superior Court, his second class of trial court nominees this year.
“Selecting nominees to fill vacancies on our courts is one of the most important tasks a governor is required to do, and it is an honor to have the opportunity to elevate these two talented judges to the Supreme and Appellate Courts,” Lamont said.
Alexander, 59, of Cromwell is Lamont’s second nominee to the state’s highest court. She would succeed his first appointee, Justice Christine E. Keller, who is approaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Seeley, 58, of Coventry was a prominent criminal defense attorney, practicing with Hubert Santos and F. Mac Buckley, before Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated her to the trial court bench in 2013.
“Judge Alexander has more than two decades of experience on the bench and is an incredibly respected member of Connecticut’s legal community,” Lamont said. “Likewise, Judge Seeley has an impressive career handling criminal cases and will be an excellent addition to the Appellate Court.”
Keller recently took senior status, which created an immediate vacancy that gives Lamont and legislators time to nominate and confirm Alexander to a full eight-year term before the legislative session ends in three weeks.
Nominations made when the General Assembly is out of session would have to be be resubmitted for confirmation next year.
With his 11 nominations of new trial judges and 22 other nominations awaiting confirmation by the General Assembly, Lamont is filling more than half the 60 vacancies in the Superior Court.
The new class of nominees are: Scott R. Chadwick, Victoria W. Chavey, Thamar Esperance-Smith, Josephine S. Graff, Jeanet Figueroa-Laskos, Steven D. Jacobs, Brian W. Preleski, Alina Marquez-Reynolds, Charles M. Stango, Cecil J. Thomas, and David L. Zagaja.
- Chadwick, 59, of East Hartford graduated from Western New England University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is the probate judge for the District of East Hartford and a partner with Ford & Paulekas, focused on civil litigation matters.
- Chavey, 55, of West Hartford graduated from Dartmouth College and the Boston University School of Law. Formerly with Day Pitney and Jackson Lewis, she has her own practice as a mediator, arbitrator and investigator.
- Esperance-Smith, 36, of Glastonbury graduated from Pace University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is an assistant attorney general in the Child Support and Collections Department and former legal-aid lawyer. She is president-elect of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association.
- Graff, 46, of Glastonbury graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is an assistant attorney general, assigned to employment cases.
- Figueroa-Laskos, 53, of Shelton graduated from the University of Connecticut and the Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is an assistant attorney general in the Child Protection Department.
- Jacobs, 63, of New Haven graduated from Trinity College and the University of Pittsburgh. He is a partner at Jacobs & Jacobs.
- Preleski, 55, of Avon graduated from the University of Connecticut and its obtained School of Law. He is the state’s attorney for the Judicial District of New Britain and has been a prosecutor since 1993.
- Marquez-Reynolds, 56, of Fairfield graduated from Georgetown University and Boston College Law School. She is general counsel at the Grace Farms Foundation and a former prosecutor in New York and federal prosecutor in Connecticut. She was the Violence Against Women Act coordinator during her tenure with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
- Stango, 52, of Waterbury graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is the supervisory assistant state’s attorney in Milford’s G.A. 22 and has been a prosecutor since 1998.
- Thomas, 40, of Coventry graduated from Brandeis University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is an attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid, president of the Connecticut Bar Association and past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut.
- Zagaja, 57, of Wethersfield graduated from Trinity College and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a supervisory assistant state’s attorney has been a prosecutor since 1996. He is a former adult probation officer.