"There wasn't any swearing, yelling."
"There were no threats made on my behalf."
According to Tallarita, he had approached Mancuso to ask him why he was spreading lies in a conversation that lasted no more than 30 seconds.
When asked about whether he had made an obscene hand gesture to Mancuso, Tallarita replied, "Possibly, I could have."
According to Police Chief Carl J. Sferrazza, no complaints related to the supermarket incident have been filed with the police. Mancuso referred questions to his lawyer, Paul Spinella, who could not be reached for comment.
WHO IS SPINELLA?
We are determined trial lawyers who represent the ordinary citizen against the abuse of power by institutions, a firm of energetic lawyers who bound up the courthouse steps anxious to do battle for individual rights.
Spinella & Associates have been described by clients and opponents alike as possessing two distinctive traits: enormous thoroughness and unlimited persistence.
Opponents of Spinella & Associates know they face the certainty of a vigorously presented claim brought by experienced professionals. They know they are up against a track record of excellent results for plaintiffs.
Some opponents learn the hard way.
For example, in the case of an electrician who was severely burned, the defendants offered a settlement of $15,000. Spinella & Associates went on trial for six weeks and their client was awarded $1.75 million. "If somebody is harmed, we're not afraid to take on powerful defendants to get justice," Attorney Spinella has consistently maintained over the course of his career.
The examples abound. Spinella & Associates, a full service civil litigation firm, have obtained numerous settlements for clients against police departments, banks, health care companies, manufacturers and other institutions?even other law firms who represented their clients poorly. And from murder to DWI, Spinella & Associates are also among the handful of criminal defense firms of choice in Connecticut.
In the civil arena, Spinella & Associates remain on the cutting edge in the areas of civil rights, police misconduct, employee rights, probate abuses and medical and legal malpractice claims. In one heart-wrenching case, they helped make a paralyzed little girl's life better by suing an unscrupulous law firm guilty of malpractice when it did not bring a suit on her behalf against the car seat manufacturer.
In a hospice malpractice case, they took action when a company allegedly fundamentally violated a family's trust by failing to properly take care of their dying daughter.
In addition to their traditional case work in police misconduct, criminal cases, personal injury, and individual rights protection, Spinella & Associates are helping to ensure that banks and lawyers do not abuse the probate system for personal gain at the expense of ordinary citizens, and that the rights of elderly persons and wards of nursing homes, the state, and other institutions are vigorously protected.
Atty. A. Paul Spinella
Before starting his own office, A. Paul Spinella practiced law for over ten years with one of Hartford County's most prominent law firms where he was a partner in charge of litigation. During that time he represented many of Connecticut's largest insurance companies before developing his present plaintiffs-based practice.
A particular area of Attorney Spinella's practice is the area of criminal trial and appellate practice. He is the author of Connecticut Criminal Procedure, a 1,000-page textbook that examines the history, development, and existing state of the law of Connecticut criminal procedure. First published in 1985, this text was the result of four years of labor—it has recently been supplemented and is presently undergoing additional revisions.
The commitment and devotion demonstrated by his dedication to this project are directed to his clients; he represents citizens accused of crimes in all of Connecticut's trial courts, as well as before the State's appellate courts, where he represents citizens convicted of crimes who are seeking post-conviction remedies in either the trial or the appellate courts.
In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Attorney Spinella is a litigator who has had enormous experience in the trenches—he has tried major cases to verdict in every type of prosecution in all of Connecticut's courts.
As a result of his zealous defense of the citizen accused, Attorney Spinella has developed a substantial practice prosecuting claims on behalf of citizens who have had their rights violated by police and prosecutors. He has pursued widely publicized police misconduct and civil rights claims against virtually every major municipality in Connecticut.
Attorney Spinella has lectured widely in the areas of plaintiff's rights, police misconduct and civil rights, and criminal defense issues. In addition, he has participated in numerous professional organizations devoted to these and related areas. For example, he is a longtime member of the Connecticut Bar Association, where he served as a member of the House of Delegates. He is presently a member of the Executive Committee of the Civil Rights Section and has previously served as Chairman; during his tenure as Chairman he organized and chaired a highly regarded seminar that greatly influenced the development of State Constitutional Jurisprudence. He has also served previously and presently on a number of other State Bar Committees such as the Executive Committee of the Criminal Justice Section and the Executive Committee of the Professional Responsibility Section. He is also a member of the Hartford Bar Association (where he presently serves on the Scholarship Fund) as well as a number of other state and national organizations devoted to civil and criminal trial practice such as the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (former chair of Lawyer's Assistance Task Force) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Lifetime member). He is also active in the Connecticut and American Trial Lawyers Association.
Throughout his career, Attorney Spinella has obtained impressive results in a wide range of plaintiff's cases and in cases involving the criminally accused. (Samples of these cases are described in the Firm Cases section of this web site.) He feels strongly that there are two types of courtroom advocates—litigators and trial lawyers. A trial lawyer cares about results and will go to the mat to vindicate his client's rights because he believes in what he does and sees himself as a member of a profession with a great history, not as a businessman. Attorney Spinella is a trial lawyer.
He is a graduate of Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Law School where he served as an associate editor of the Law Review and as a member of the National Moot Court Team. Following law school he served an appointment as a law clerk to a Federal District Court judge.
Talk about sweet revenge
A bank and another law firm had kept an heir to a railroad magnate separated from his multimillion-dollar family fortune. Even wealthy individuals can have problems with institutions.
Enter Spinella & Associates—the antidote for abuse of individual rights.
Their client, a graduate of Columbia Law School, had presided over a huge investment portfolio and become a highly regarded philanthropist despite an admitted alcohol problem. Even after he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and recovered from his problem, the local probate court still refused to remove the conservatorship that had previously been placed on him. Another probate judge called the action an "outrage."
Attorneys at Spinella & Associates produced psychiatric evaluations attesting to the client's competence. These evaluations showed he had a superior I.Q. and no evidence of cognitive or personality deterioration. He regained his freedom and control over his finances after a court proceeding where the bank and law firm vigorously contested return of the client's property because of his alleged alcoholism.
Soon after, he ran as a candidate for probate judge in the district that unjustly declared him incapable. "No seemingly powerful bank, law firm or individual will abuse any citizen in the district of ... while I am probate judge," his campaign literature declared.
He lost the political race but, with the help of Spinella & Associates, regained his dignity and independence, and control of his estate. Shortly after this, the firm represented him in a case to recover damages for the alleged mismanagement of his monies by his conservator bank.
Attorney Spinella recalls this case in terms of what it represents: "Just about every nightmare cliché of what can happen in a small town given the structural problems in our state probate system." And he speaks proudly of his client's recovery and accomplishments: "I respect [my client] an incredible amount. After going through this, he ran for political office because he genuinely wanted to help his community and protect others."
Cases that shaped civil rights law
Attorneys at Spinella & Associates have brought and won important cases that have shaped civil rights law in areas such as preventing jail suicide, curbing excessive use of force and deadly force by police officers and departments, ensuring that prisons are properly designed to promote the health and safety of prisoners, discouraging illegal and overzealous searches of residential dwellings, and safeguarding against illegal stops, arrests and searches of citizens. The attorneys at Spinella & Associates have exposed department-wide policies that have served to encourage and promote constitutional violations of citizens throughout the state.
Often attorneys who represent defendants accused of crimes are not well-versed on how criminal case strategy and disposition relates to the potential success or failure of a related police misconduct case. That is one reason why many attorneys who believe that their clients' civil rights were violated consult with Spinella & Associates early on, before they take significant action in the criminal case in order to discuss potential ramifications in a subsequent civil rights action.
Additionally, sometimes it becomes strategically expedient in the criminal case to file a meritorious civil rights suit while the criminal case is pending. This action is taken as a method of obtaining discovery, which is otherwise unobtainable in a criminal case.
Criminal attorneys who consult with Spinella & Associates on such topics receive important, timely and useful advice.