Sunday, February 20, 2022

Updated, bio notes on presenters: OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT via @USJCT: 2022 Speaker Series, #TheColorofJustice

The University of Saint Joseph presents the 2022 Speaker Series, “The Color of Justice,” starting on April 12 with Connecticut State Supreme Court Justice Richard Robinson discussing implicit bias. Joining the chief justice will be journalist Karen Florin of The Day of New London and attorney James Bergenn, Partner with the Hartford law firm Shipman & Goodwin. Florin, a reporter for 25 years, focused most recently on the court system. She was a longtime member, and co-chair, of Connecticut's Judicial-Media Committee. Attorney James Bergenn, is an experienced trial attorney with a record of handling high stakes criminal and civil cases in state and federal courts, in and outside of Connecticut was recognized as a 2021 Connecticut Super Lawyer.

The public is invited to attend this free event in the University's Crystal Room located in Mercy Hall, beginning with a reception at 6:15 p.m. followed by the guest speakers at 7 p.m.

USJ President Rhona Free said, “USJ’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice program is unique in providing students with knowledge in law enforcement, corrections, and the judicial systems but also the theories and practice of restorative justice. Bringing experts, like the speakers in this series, to campus reflects the university’s commitment to ensuring that students hear from people who have been most directly affected by and who play important roles in the criminal justice system.”  

A second session is planned for April 19 and will feature case histories showing the treatment of people of color by the justice system. Panelists will be Ken Barone, manager of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project; State Senator Gary Winfield; Bloomfield High School state champion football coach Tylon Outlaw; Hartford City Councilor Tiana Hercules; Assistant to State Police Commissioner/Former Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley; and Hartford civil rights attorney Ken Krayeske. Moderator Andy Thibault is the Speaker Series coordinator and a member of the University’s Digital Media and Communication Advisory Board. The public is invited to attend this free event on April 19 in the University's Crystal Room in Mercy Hall, beginning with a reception at 6:15 p.m. followed by the guest speakers at 7 p.m.

These in-person events are free and open to the public. Seats will be limited, and masks will be required. Registration is required:
#university #events

Reception Ensembles 

About #TheColorofJustice Speaker Series Presenters @USJCT

CT State Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson

The Honorable Richard A. Robinson was born December 10, 1957 in Stamford, Connecticut. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Connecticut in 1979 and a Juris Doctor degree from West Virginia University School of Law in 1984. He was admitted to the West Virginia Bar and the Connecticut Bar, and is a member of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia and the U.S. District Court, Connecticut.

From 1985 - 1988, Justice Robinson was Staff Counsel for the City of Stamford Law Department. In 1988, he became Assistant Corporation Counsel in Stamford where he remained until his appointment as a Judge of the Superior Court in 2000. He remained a Superior Court Judge for the next seven years during which time he served as Presiding Judge (Civil) for the New Britain Judicial District (May 2003 - September 2006); Presiding Judge (Civil) and Assistant Administrative Judge for the Ansonia/Milford Judicial District (September 2006 - September 2007); and Presiding Judge (Civil) for the Stamford Judicial District (September 2007 - December 2007). He was appointed as a Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court on December 10, 2007, a Justice of the Supreme Court on December 19, 2013 and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on May 3, 2018.

Justice Robinson’s career is complemented by an array of public and judicial service. He served as President of the Stamford Branch of the NAACP (1988-1990); General Counsel for the Connecticut Conference of the NAACP (1988 - 2000); President of the Assistant Corporation Counsel’s Union (AFSCME) (1989 - 2000); Commissioner of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (1997 - 2000); Chair of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (1999 - 2000); New Haven Inn of Court member (2002 - present); Judicial Education Curriculum Committee member (2002 - 2014); Judicial Education Committee member (2003 - 2014); Faculty at several Judicial Institutes as well as spring and fall lectures (2003 - present); Civil Commission member (2005 - 2014); Court Annexed Mediator (2005 - 2014); Lawyers Assistance Advisory Board member (2007 - present); Bench-Bar Foreclosure Committee (2007 - 2014); Legal Internship Committee (2013 - 2017); Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Competency (2009-present); Chairperson of the Rules Committee (2017- present); Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Diversity Award (2010); Connecticut Bar Association's Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award for Integrity (2017); NAACP 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut; Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows, Life Fellow; Discovering Amistad National Advisory Board; Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ Alvin W. Penn Award for Excellence in Leadership (2018); Ebony Magazine Power 100 Award (2018); Quinnipiac School of Law Black Student Association Thurgood Marshall Award (2019); ABOTA Judicial Excellence Award (2019); Connecticut Bar Foundation Distinguished Service Award (2020); National Board of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices (2019 - present); Conference of Chief Justices Civil Justice Board of Directors (2020 - present); National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness (2020 - present).

Karen Florin is the engagement editor for The Day Publishing of New London. In her current position, she focuses on the independent news company’s digital strategy and long-term sustainability. She writes a weekly news column, organizes events, hosts a podcast called “The Storyline,” and raises funds for special projects. Florin was a reporter for 25 years, focusing most recently on the court system. She was a longtime member, and co-chair, of Connecticut’s Judicial-Media Committee. In 2018, she was named Journalist of the Year by the New England Newspaper Association. She cherishes the Liberty Bell award bestowed on her by The New London County Bar Association in 2019.
She lives in Old Lyme with her husband Robert.

Jim Bergenn's practice is comprised of complex criminal and civil litigation, including white collar crime and government investigations, personal injury and wrongful death cases, and other trials involving significant consequences. With more than 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer and instructor, he is called upon regularly to use his trial skills, and experience with investigations and experts, in many different kinds of contested cases.

Jim’s wide range of criminal cases includes representing targets of investigations, criminal defendants, grand jury and other witnesses, and crime victims. Because he handles personal injuries, he often helps victims during or after criminal cases are completed, to obtain the correct compensation for their harm. He works in cases prosecuted by all the various federal, state and local authorities, such as the US Attorney’s Office, The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, State and Federal Grand Juries, the FBI, the State Police, the SEC, the DEA, the ATF, the DOD, the IRS, the FDA, the FTC, the Office of Inspector General for various Federal Agencies, state regulators such as the Attorney General, the DEP, the DOH, the DMR, the DCF, and the Office of Consumer Protection, and local police.

As an experienced Personal Injury attorney, he represents people involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrians (including DUI cases), products and premises liability matters (including defective lithium ion batteries in laptops, I-Phones, and E-cigarettes that caused burn injuries), construction accidents, drownings, nursing home negligence, boating accidents, wrongful imprisonment environmental hazards and medical malpractice. He handles sexual assault cases for both adult and children victims. The injury cases he has prosecuted include death, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s), burns, RSD, paralysis, blindness and Legionnaires' disease. sexual abuse, and cases. He was involved in cases arising out of the 9/11 attacks.

Ty Outlaw coached Bloomfield High School – where he works as a tutor – to state championships in football in 2015 and 2018.

At Missouri State College, he was the top tackler in his conference and an honorable mention All American National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics [NAIA] cornerback. He also played several years professionally in the Arena Football League.

On Dec. 17, 2004, the coach had gone to a Hartford restaurant for a business meeting. Upon leaving he spoke with friends he recognized in a taxi and responded to a driver who had called out to him.

The driver was an undercover Hartford detective in an unmarked car who yelled at the coach, "Hey motherfucker." Perceiving this to be an informal urban pleasantry, he responded in kind.

The plain clothes detective, Troy Gordon, did not identify himself as a police officer. He did, however, park and ultimately charge at the coach, kicking him in the stomach. As the coach was able to block a second kick with his hands, he was struck in the head from behind with a police baton by another officer.

He fell to the ground, yelling for help. On his back he curled into a fetal position as he was repeatedly struck in the head, arms and legs with a baton and kicked in the back and stomach. As he tried to cover his face, officer Michael Allen hit him in the right knee with the baton, breaking his kneecap.

Among the eyewitnesses, a ballroom dance instructor described the scene this way: "A crowd of people 10 converged on what looked to be one person ... seemed to be multiple people, five or six, again, beating somebody up pretty badly, kicking, throwing punches … it was pretty brutal.”

A federal court determined police accounts of the incident were not credible – also finding the coach’s account “more credible.”

U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton sounded a warning a year before the unprovoked attack in an unrelated case, stating:

" ... Hartford had a policy or pervasive pattern of deliberate indifference to the possibility that its officers were prone to use excessive force, as demonstrated principally by Hartford's failure to reasonably investigate complaints and the absence of punitive consequences for any accused officer, that such policy or pattern may have emboldened or implanted a sense of impunity in its officers, resulting in the challenged first offense by this defendant, and that the offense would not have occurred had proper investigation and police discipline procedures been in place."

Meanwhile, the city dragged out litigation with the coach over a modest settlement of $454,197 via jury verdict for about 15 years.

“Most cities want to encourage out-of-town people to patronize local business," said one of the coach's lawyers, Raymond Rigat. “Here, the message seems to be: 'Welcome to Hartford, catch an old fashioned police beat-down, go to the hospital -- it's your problem not ours.' ”

Tiana Hercules is a Hartford resident and proud mother to three children ages 16, 14 and four. Tiana is a licensed criminal defense lawyer and has practiced in the areas of immigration, family law, and civil litigation. Before joining The Sills Law Firm, Tiana was a dedicated member of the Public Defender’s office. Notably, she helped lead an anti-gun violence initiative in Hartford.

Tiana is an active member of her community and has many years of experience as a leader in Hartford. She has served on several non-profit boards including Mutual Housing of Greater Hartford, NINA, Girls for Technology, and the Board of Deacons at Asylum Hill Congregational Church. She currently is an Appointed Commissioner for the Connecticut Commission for Children, Women, Seniors, Equality and Opportunity. In the past, she was employed as a Special Assistant to former Hartford Mayor, Pedro E. Segarra.

Ms. Hercules loves Hartford because it is rich with innovators, leaders, an amazing arts and cultural scene and some of the best eateries in Connecticut. She believes that everyone in Hartford should have equitable access to quality affordable housing, education, health care, food and living wages.

When she is not with her family or serving her community, Tiana enjoys working out at the YMCA, which is one of her favorite places in the city.

She lives by the motto: “Everyone has something of value to contribute,” and uses her voice to help those around her find theirs.

Tiana is excited and honored to join the City Council as a member of the Working Families Party. She believes that everyone should share in Hartford’s prosperity.

About Senator Winfield
Chief Deputy Majority Leader
Chair: Judiciary
Vice Chair: Energy & Technology
Member: Appropriations; Education; Housing; General Law
Originally sworn in on February 28, 2014, Gary Winfield is serving his fifth term as a Connecticut State Senator.

Prior to his time in the state senate, Senator Winfield served an unprecedented three terms in the Connecticut House of Representatives, marked by passage of the state’s repeal of the death penalty, a transgender civil rights bill, education equity and campaign finance reform legislation.

As a state senator, Senator Winfield has been an instrumental leader in helping to reshape conversations surrounding criminal justice, juvenile justice and immigration policy. In 2015, Senator Winfield wrote and championed legislation aimed at reducing police use of force, including requiring the operation of body cameras and cultural competency training for all officers. In years that followed, Senator Winfield helped lead passage of legislation to raise the age at which juvenile arrestees could be tried as adults.
In 2018, after a series of high-profile incidents between residents and law enforcement, Senator Winfield led passage of two distinct pieces of legislation to improve community relationships with law enforcement and fortify trust in the state’s justice system during the 2019 legislative session. The first, House Bill 380, prohibits law enforcement officers from firing at a motor vehicle unless there is an imminent threat to the life of the officer or bystander and requires release of body cam footage after a deadly use of force accident; and Senate Bill 880, which increases prosecutorial transparency by requiring the state to collect, report, and publish information about prosecutors’ decisions on a public website each year.

In 2019, Senator Winfield’s passion for effective policy led him to draft and champion legislation permitting any state legislator to request the preparation of a racial and ethnic impact statement triggering the mandatory production of such statement, making Connecticut the first state in the nation to pass such a law. In addition to racial impact statements, Senator Winfield also engaged in an eight hour debate to protect and strengthen the Connecticut Trust Act, which passed both the House and Senate respectively.

Prior to serving in the Connecticut General Assembly, Senator Winfield voluntarily left both his positions as a field advisor for Alston Power Inc. and as an electrical construction manager for a power plant in Milford to assume the role of a community activist, operating among members of his community for social change.

Originally from the Bronx, Senator Winfield credits his experience of growing up in a tough environment, his father succumbing to drugs and watching his mother struggle as a single mother, as the source of his passion for social justice. He graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science.

The senator currently resides in New Haven with his wife Rasheda and their four children, Heaven, Keyari, Gary and Imani.

Info via Hartford Courant: Longtime Hartford police officer turned Fox 61 chief investigator Brian Foley took a new job with the state Department of Emergency Service and Public Protection in 2019.

Foley became an executive assistant to his previous boss James Rovella, the former Hartford Police Chief who now serves as the state public safety commissioner.

He announced his move during an evening broadcast, calling it “a little bittersweet.”

"I've enjoyed my time here over the last year and Fox 61 has been so great to me and they were so brave to go in this new direction in news," Foley said. "However, my heart is in public service and when I signed on here, I had no idea my former boss at the Hartford Police Department would be come the commissioner of the state police."

A 24-year veteran of Hartford police, Foley became the public face of the department as its public information officer and retired a year ago as chief of detectives.

Ken Krayeske lives and practices law in Hartford, Connecticut. Ken is licensed to practice law before the state and federal district courts in Connecticut and United States Appeals Court for the Second Circuit.

In 2019, the Connecticut Law Tribune awarded the Kenneth J. Krayeske Law Offices a "Game Changer" award for winning a $1.3 million settlement in the case of World, Wayne v. CMHC, et al.‍

In 2021, the Law Tribune awarded Krayeske the Giant Slayer award for being lead counsel on a class action lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Correction to test and treat the prison population for Hepatitis C, which has resulted in at least 860 people being cured of this deadly disease.

The Connecticut Law Tribune recently named Ken to its editorial board. Ken graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2010 and from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1994. Prior to joining the bar, Ken was an award-winning journalist, writing for daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines. He focused on youth journalism, starting Echoes from The Streets Youth Newspaper.

From December 2003 to December 2015, Ken wrote a column called The 40-Year Plan for the local weekly newspaper, the Hartford News.

Ken is fluent in Spanish.

He ran for United States Congress in Connecticut’s First Congressional District with the Connecticut Green Party in 2010, debating Congressman John Larson four times, and winning a little more than one percent of the vote. In July 2012, Connecticut’s only municipal public campaign finance system, the New Haven Democracy Fund, appointed Ken its administrator, a position he held for two years until shortly after he started this law firm.

Prior to starting his own law firm on July 1, 2013, Ken spent five years as a clerk and an associate at the law firm of Brown & Welsh, P.C. in Meriden, Connecticut. Ken and Wildaliz Bermudez married in 2012. They have a young child who deserves their privacy, although he would absolutely love to show you photos of the adorableness that is this little human being. Ken rides his bicycle to work every day: rain, snow, sleet, hail, and prized sunshine. In his spare time, Ken enjoys carpentry, snowboarding and the ocean.

Ken Barone, Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy Associate Director

Since 2012, Ken has managed the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project (CTRP3) on behalf of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at the University of Connecticut. This project works to implement the state of Connecticut’s Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling law. The Alvin W. Penn law requires law enforcement agencies to collect information on traffic stops and report that information to CCSU. Ken is responsible for coordinating data collection and submission from 107 law enforcement agencies. He works with the Connecticut Data Collaborative to make the data available to the public through an online data portal. He has co-authored six statewide reports analyzing municipal and state police data for evidence of discrimination. He has also conducted investigations of significant racial and ethnic disparities identified in 30 municipal police departments throughout Connecticut. Ken is also a certified Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services “Fair and Impartial Police” trainer. He has trained over 800 law enforcement officers since 2014.

Ken’s work extends beyond the state of Connecticut. He also manages the Rhode Island Comprehensive Community-Police Relationship Act. He has co-authored four statewide reports analyzing municipal and state police data for evidence of discrimination in Rhode Island. He has conducted investigations of significant racial and ethnic disparities identified in 12 municipal police departments in Rhode Island. Ken has consulted with California, and Oregon on the implementation of their statewide traffic stop data collection programs. This includes helping states design electronic data collection systems, develop analytical tools for identifying racial disparities in traffic stop data, and implementing training programs to address implicit bias in policing.

Veteran journalist and private investigator Andy Thibault teaches news reporting / writing and communications at the University of New Haven. Thibault was a research consultant for the HBO series #AllenVFarrow and was credited with helping to free a woman unjustly imprisoned for first degree murder. The Connecticut Council for Freedom of Information cited Thibault in 2014 with the Stephen A. Collins Memorial Freedom of Information Award for “his many contributions to the cause of open and accountable government and a free and vigorous press in Connecticut.” He has coordinated a speakers program at the University of St. Joseph since 2017 and served on the University’s Digital Media and Communication Advisory Board since 2020.

CT Law Trib Story on USJ Speaker Series 

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