Testimony of Judge Barbara M. Quinn Chief Court
Public Hearing - March 26, 2009
Senate Bill 535, An Act Requiring Training for State
Judges regarding the Criminal Use of Computers
The Judicial Branch opposes Senate Bill 535, An Act Requiring Training
for State Judges Regarding the Criminal Use of Computers, which would
require all Connecticut judges to attend a course on computer crimes each
and every year.
The Judicial Branch provides a comprehensive education program for
superior court judges. Each year, the Branch presents a full education
program in June at the Connecticut Judges' Institute. An Education
Committee, consisting of judges, reviews proposed topics and recommends
courses to the Chief Court Administrator for presentation to the trial
bench. Additional educational opportunities are offered throughout the
year. The Judicial Branch does not support legislatively mandated courses
because they use resources that are needed to address other critical issues.
What is a hot topic one year may not be in the future. A legislative mandate
that a certain topic be addressed each and every year forevermore does not
take into account the need for flexibility to address other topics that may
become particularly relevant.
The intersection of science and technology and the law is a theme that has
been addressed in a number of course, as judges are often called upon to
determine the admissibility of expert testimony regarding scientific issues
such as the technological capacities of computers or to determine when the
court should obtain its own expert in a matter. This April judges will have
the opportunity to attend a course regarding search and seizure of digital
information. The course approaches the science of digital information from
the perspective of Fourth Amendment protections regarding search and
seizure. Another scientific topic will be addressed in Junes at the annual
Connecticut Judges Institute, where a course will be offered on child
development. The course will focus on the development of the brain following
trauma and the legal issues impacted by these factors, especially in the
The Judicial Branch is committed to providing educational and training
opportunities to the trial bench regarding relevant topics each year, even
during times of financial crisis. However, we do not believe that the
Legislature is in the best position to determine which topics should be
addressed. For this reason, we respectfully request that the Committee not
act favorably on this proposal.
Thank you for your consideration.