State lawmakers review nominations for superior, supreme courts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State lawmakers review nominations for superior, supreme courts

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Richard Robinson, who was nominated for chief justice of the state's Supreme Court (WFSB) Richard Robinson, who was nominated for chief justice of the state's Supreme Court (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The fate of 30 potential judges lies in the hands of state lawmakers.

The judiciary committee is reviewing 30 nominations, including one for chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s previous nominee Andrew McDonald was rejected.

His new nomination is Justice Richard Robinson, who is currently an associate justice on the state Supreme Court.

"He appears to be a well-rounded judge, served as a lawyer and went on to the Superior Court a number of years ago then went to the Appellate Court and then the Supreme Court,” said Republican State Senator Mike McLachlan.

Republicans and even some Democrats were not on board with Malloy's first pick, Andrew McDonald.

The judiciary committee is also considering 30 other nominations for Superior Court.

The cost of a Superior Court justice is more than $290,000, because it includes the judge’s salary of $167,000 plus a court recording monitor, which is a temporary assistant clerk and a judicial marshal trainee.

"Everyone is aware of the huge fiscal crisis we are in and 30 judges at $300,000 a judge is a lot of money,” said Republican State Rep. and minority leader Themis Klarides.

Malloy says even with the 30 nominations, he's leaving office without filling 21 vacancies, and criticizes the house minority leader for politicizing the courts.

In addition to the expense, the other concern is the staffing for these judges. 

More than 600 employees have been cut from the judicial branch over the past three years.

That could be a problem for adult probation.

"Where is the staff that will support the judges who are appointed, the probation department is 92 positions down since 2015, and if you are going to appoint more judges which means more offenders will be in the community. You need the bodies to be able to supervise them,” said Carmen Roda, of the Judicial Professional Employee’s Union.

The total cost for funding these 30 judges is more than $8 million. 

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