Questions abound about what will happen if State Senator Andrew Maynard, who suffered serious injuries during a fall last August but was nonetheless reelected earlier this month, cannot take the oath of office when the General Assembly convenes in January. This post explores some of the legal issues surrounding those questions. The post is by no means definitive. It is the beginning of my legal exploration of the issue, not the end. I welcome comments.
The Connecticut Appellate Court will hear oral arguments this Thursday morning in the case of In re: Angel R., otherwise known as the Jane Doe case. Jane is a transgender youth in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, whose temporary transfer to the York Correctional Institution For Women in Niantic earlier this year provoked strong reactions from many individuals and civil rights groups. The appeal focuses on the constitutionality of a rarely invoked statute that authorizes a Superior Court judge, under certain circumstances, to transfer a youth in DCF custody to a correctional facility. Two of the briefs in the case are available at this link.
Flying a drone over the University of Virginia for the purpose of taking commercial photographs of the university may cost the drone operator $10,000 for violating the Federal Aviation Administration’s prohibition against flying “aircraft” in a reckless or careless manner. (Allegedly the drone operator scared the bejesus out of someone by flying the drone “directly towards an individual standing on a . . . sidewalk causing the individual to take immediate evasive maneuvers so as to avoid being struck by [the] aircraft”; “through a . . . tunnel containing moving vehicles”; “under a crane”; “below tree top level over a tree lined walkway”; “under an elevated pedestrian walkway”; and “within approximately 100 feet of an active heliport.”)
Attorney and Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reports on his blog, Daily Ructions, that outgoing House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero will soon appear before the Judicial Selection Commission (JSC), which is required by law to evaluate any person seeking appointment as a Superior Court judge. Only persons receiving the JSC’s stamp of approval may be nominated to the bench. Rennie questions whether Cafero is fit for approval as a judge. The members of the JSC will have to decide that issue for themselves based on the relevant criteria (see below).
This post is another in a series of Dan Klau mini-tirades against the judicial application of General Statutes § 1-2z–the statutory “plain meaning rule”–to legal texts that are not statutes. As I have said before, and now say once again, the plain language of § 1-2z makes clear that it only applies to statutes. Thus, it does not apply to administrative regulations, local ordinances or, in my opinion, the Practice Book. Yet the state Supreme Court appears to disagree.
In response to problems in certain Hartford polling precincts, where voter registration lists were not available when the polls opened at 6:00 a.m., Governor Malloy has filed a lawsuit asking a Superior Court judge to extend the polling hours by one hour, i.e., from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Here is the link to the just-filed complaint. The complaint relies upon a 2008 Attorney General opinion, which states that a judge has the legal authority to extend voting hours under “exceptional circumstances.” The question, then, is whether a judge will view the particular circumstances described above as extraordinary.
John Dankosky, host of WNPR’s “Where We Live,” has been a very good friend to freedom of information (FOI) in Connecticut, often using his show as a opportunity to educate the public about the importance of FOI. Last week he taped a show dedicated entirely to FOI at Quinnipiac University before a student audience. I was honored to be one of four persons invited to participate in the panel discussion. The show aired this morning. Click here for the link to the show.
UPDATE (5:00 pm): CT-N covered the panel discussion. Click here to watch the CT-N video. (Warning: Many readers may find simply listening to my voice more pleasant than looking at my face.)
UPDATE 2.0: I can’t believe I forgot to mention a silly song I wrote about the FOI a few years back. Click here for a musical history of the state Freedom of Information Act!
This post has nothing to do with the law, but as I own and publish this blog I get to depart from the normal format once in a while. Today I just want to brag about my son, Ari Klau, a senior at William Hall High School in West Hartford, CT and, as of this past Saturday, the Division LL state cross-country champion. As you can see, he was quite happy about his 15:48 victory. (The next runner crossed the finish line at 16:11.) Go Ari!
UPDATE (10/31/14): Ari took second place in the Connecticut State Opens, surpassed only by Darien’s amazing Alex Ostberg, who is ranked first or second in the entire nation!
As I noted in my preceding post, the state Democratic Party has moved to dismiss the state GOP’s lawsuit challenging a mailer the Democratic Party paid for from “federal account” funds to support Governor Malloy’s reelection campaign. The Democratic Party’s motion to dismiss articulates a number of reasons why the lawsuit should be dismissed, including that only the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) has the legal right to bring an action in court to enforce state campaign finance laws.
The Democratic Party of Connecticut filed a motion today asking the Superior Court to dismiss the state GOP’s lawsuit challenging the Democratic Party’s use of money from its “federal account” to pay for a mailer largely supporting Governor Malloy’s reelection campaign. The Republican Party contends that the use of funds from the federal account violates the state law prohibition against state contractors contributing to candidates for state office. (State contractors can contribute to the federal account under state law.) The Democratic Party contends that contractor funds are segregated and were not used in connection with the mailer.