You may or may not have heard, but the State’s Attorney for the Waterbury Judicial District – and the man responsible for sending the most inmates to death row in CT – has just resigned. Justice Richard Palmer, chair of the Criminal Justice Commission, which oversees the State’s Attorneys in CT, issued a statement that Connelly had resigned effective February 1st:
Palmer stated that the resignation follows an inquiry undertaken by the commission into allegations regarding Connelly’s conduct while in office. Palmer further stated that, because the commission’s inquiry involved a personnel matter, and because the allegations have been the subject of an investigation by federal authorities, he was not free to discuss details of those allegations at this time.
You might recall that back in August I posted that Connelly was the subject of a federal investigation into whether he had accepted compensation from his good friend – and defense attorney Martin Minella – in exchange for favorable treatment of Minella’s clients. That Federal investigation is still ongoing. Palmer’s statement is particular noteworthy because it seems that the Commission had conducted its own inquiry into this alleged unethical conduct and was ready to issue some form of punishment. That has now been rendered unnecessary by Connelly’s resignation:
Palmer said that the commission had honored a request that it refrain from engaging in any activities in furtherance of its inquiry that might have impaired or otherwise interfered with the federal investigation. Palmer also said that despite this limitation on the commission’s inquiry, it was prepared to take appropriate action with respect to the allegations against Connelly, but that any such action has been rendered unnecessary by Connelly’s resignation.
Now that may or may not mean anything about the “action” the commission was ready to take, but it certainly does indicate that Connelly was to receive some form of rebuke, separate from the Federal investigation.
The disproportionate number of death sentences originating in Waterbury had been the driving force behind a racial and geographical disparity lawsuit that is still pending.
What this means for the state of the death penalty in Connecticut or for those who were tried by Connelly in capital and non-capital cases is anyone’s guess. Mine is that there will be no consequences and that’s a damn shame.