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Commission to Study Attorney Grievance Process to hold Public Hearing in New Haven

HARTFORD – The Commission to Study the Attorney Grievance Process will conduct a public hearing on Thursday, February 24, 2000 at 7 p.m. in the New Haven Superior Court to receive comments regarding the attorney disciplinary system in Connecticut. The Commission was formed by the State Judicial Branch to enhance the attorney disciplinary process. It is charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the attorney disciplinary system and making recommendations to address how the current system can be improved.

"The regulation of attorneys admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut is one of the many important functions of the Judiciary," said Supreme Court Justice Francis M. McDonald, Jr., who appointed the Commission members. "A major part of that responsibility is the attorney disciplinary process by which claims of attorney misconduct are investigated and resolved."

Currently, the judges of the Connecticut Superior Court delegate much of the attorney disciplinary review process to the Statewide Grievance Committee and to the Judicial District Grievance Panels. These groups are comprised of dedicated volunteers—attorneys and non-attorneys alike—and are assisted by Judicial Branch staff.

"We cannot overemphasize the importance of such a process," said former Supreme Court Justice Robert I. Berdon, chair of the Commission.

"The Judicial Branch is committed to ensuring that any system that is developed receives input from members of the public," explained Berdon. " I encourage individuals who have gone through the Attorney Grievance Process to attend the public hearing to provide the Commission with suggestions on how to improve the process. It is through such input and constant re-examination of the process that the Judiciary can ensure the integrity of the system."

The last time a similar review was conducted was almost 10 years ago, in March 1990, when then Chief Justice Ellen A. Peters appointed the Judicial Council on Legal Ethics.

Joining Justice Berdon on the Commission are judges, attorneys and members of the public, including: the Honorable Richard E. Arnold; the Honorable Juliett L. Crawford; the Honorable Joseph P. Flynn; the Honorable William J. Lavery; the Honorable Sheridan L. Moore; the Honorable Lynda B. Munro; the Honorable Christine S. Vertefeuille; Representatives Robert Farr, Michael P. Lawlor; Senator Thomas F. Upson; Attorneys Paul V. Carty, Milagros Cruz, Raymond J. Devlin, Jr., Thomas Flaherty, Roger J. Frechette, William F. Gallagher, Richard Newman, A. Searle Pinney; Carmen Donnarumma and Frank Morgan.

The Superior Court is located at 235 Church Street in New Haven. The hearing will be held in the Jury Assembly Room located on the ninth floor of the Courthouse. The Commission anticipates holding additional public hearings in Bridgeport, New London and Waterbury.


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