Monday, July 17, 2006

CLT: Eleven States Attorneys Give Morano Thumbs Down

Connecticut Law Tribune
Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blistering letter endorses Kane, charges leadership void


Eleven of 13 state’s attorneys sent a blistering criticism of Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano to the Criminal Justice Commission July 13, urging it not to reappoint him due to his “severe lack of leadership.”

Instead the group unanimously supported New London State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane because he “is respected by all” and understands role of Chief State’s Attorney.

Kane did not sign the letter, nor did newly appointed Ansonia/Milford State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor, who just took office.

Bad days back?

The letter faults Morano for engaging in “side deals and a sense of `divide and conquer’ rather than open and purposeful efforts to bring about consensus.”

It recalls the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, under Chief State’s Attorney John J. “Jack” Kelly, when “the relationship between the Chief State’s Attorney and the several State’s Attorneys had deteriorated to a disturbingly adversarial state.” His successor in 1991, John M. Bailey, understood the state constitutional provision that the chief shall be the “administrative head” of the Division of Criminal Justice. “[S]ince Mr. Bailey’s death, the relationship has again deteriorated dramatically.”

The state’s attorneys write that their monthly meetings are “often fraught with tension as a result of the Chief State’s Attorney’s misplaced public portrayal of his role….”

For example, Morano is apparently faulted for comments made in a Jan. 16 column by former Connecticut Law Tribune commentator Andy Thibault, who wrote that Morano is “technically—to some degree” a state’s attorney’s boss. (Read Thibault's 'Cool Justice' column,

“He’s in a strange spot. By statute, the chief state’s attorney is the `administrative head’ of all state’s attorneys. In reality, the 13 state’s attorneys are virtually autonomous dukes and duchesses.” The column posited that if an individual state’s attorney chose to play golf all day and still put in a time sheet for work, neither the chief nor anyone else can do much about it.

Uncorrected press

Morano was faulted in the letter for letting media accounts go unchallenged.

“Derogatory comments to the media, or assent in the face of such comments regarding [them] can only hinder any effort to establish a mutually respectful and productive working relationship with the Chief State’s Attorney.”

Between the lines, it is evident that a strained and fractured relationship between Morano and the states attorneys has been developing for some time, and goes deeper than a tiff over unflattering press.

The letter is on official state’s attorney stationery and is addressed to Supreme Court Associate Justice Richard N. Palmer, who is chairman of the Criminal Justice Commission. The commission is currently considering whether to reappoint Morano or a replacement. Besides Kane, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Paul E. Murray has his hat in the ring, as does Hartford attorney Michael A. Georgetti.

Palmer, reached at work at the Supreme Court after 6 p.m. July 14, said he had read the letter, but that in light of the upcoming selection process, could not comment. Morano, when called about 4:30 p.m., had left for the day. His secretary said she would send a text message, but Morano did not return the call. Kelly recently retired from private practice and could not be reached.

Although the letter is devoid of specific charges, its faults Morano for not discharging his duties in consultation with the 13 states attorneys who make up the Division of Criminal Justice Advisory Board.

The no-confidence letter ends by predicting that “Morano’s failure to effectively lead our agency will severely impact the administration of justice in this state” if he gets five more years. Kane, however, “is the most qualified person to reinvigorate the Division and reinstill a sense of confidence and pride in its members.”


Anonymous said...

Why would all of these State's Attorneys dislike Morano? Is he not evil enough for them? Now they can bring a dirtbag like Kevin Kane into the picture. Kevin Kane will be our new C. Robert Satti. Yes, Satti swept many cases under the carpet and Kane is no better. Kane can do to the State what he's done to New London County. We'll see who gets the position. Anyone that believes the system is going to improve, is living in a fantasy world. We give up one evil for another.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Kane is a thug and drunk.