Two cases heard in New Britain head to the state Supreme Court

Published on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 20:46
Written by Charles Paullin

@CPaullinNBH

NEW BRITAIN – Two cases heard in New Britain Superior Court will be reviewed by the state Supreme Court.

The first is a case involving alleged campaign violations by former state Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington. The other is a University of Connecticut professor’s murder case.

In the case Markley et al. v. State Elections Enforcement Commission, Markley and current state Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Southington, were running for election in the 16th and 80th districts, respectively, in 2014.

The SEEC said on Feb. 14, the two violated campaign finance laws by attacking former Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy in their campaign materials. Malloy was running from re-election in 2014. Markley was ordered to pay a $2,000 civil penalty and Sampson was ordered to pay a $5,000 penalty.

Markley and Sampson filed a petition to reconsider the decision, but the SEEC denied the petition on March 23, 2018, and sent a notification by mail to the two on March 28, 2018.

The two then filed an administrative appeal on May 7, during a 45-day appeal period, but a trial court dismissed the appeal citing state statute that says no decision on a petition for reconsideration within 24 days of its filing “shall constitute denial of the petition.” That 25 days came on March 11, and the plaintiff’s appeal was not filed within 45 days of that date, the court ruled.

Markley and Sampson differed, saying the actual denial date should be when the 45 day time limit period should have started. The two also said their appeal has merit and that the violations they were found of were unconstitutional as they limit free speech by restricting a candidate’s ability to speak about other, non-opposing candidates.

This case will be heard on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.

In the State v. Linda Kosuda-Bigazzi, SC 20341, Kosuda-Bigazzi was charged with murder in the death of her husband, who was found dead in the basement of the couple’s Burlington home.

Using a search warrant, police seized several items from the home, including a file labeled “Criminal defense Attorney Oct 2017,” a defense file, and a file labeled “Incident 2017,” an incident file, that both had documents in which the defendant described the killing of her husband and claimed it was in self-defense.

The Supreme Court ruled in a previous case, State v. Lenarz, 301 Conn. 417 (2011), where the state read privileged materials that contained details on trial strategy, a dismissal of the charge was the only adequate remedy for the violation. Kosuda-Bigazzi said the state had invaded her attorney-client privilege by taking the files with a trial strategy and that a dismissal was the only adequate remedy.

After a multi-day hearing, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss, saying the incident file was not protected by attorney-client privilege and that the two documents were not identical. The court also said any prejudice to the defendant after reviewing the evidence could be remedied by having an investigation and prosecution conducted by individuals with no knowledge of the privileged communications.

Kosuda-Bigazzi differed saying the court was wrong in saying the incident file was not privileged and that any prejudice could not have been cured by a remedy short of dismissal.

This case will be heard on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 10 a.m.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 20:46. Updated: Tuesday, 8 October 2019 20:48.