HARTFORD – During a Criminal Justice Commission meeting today, Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo announced he would resign effective March 31. His resignation comes on the heels of an investigation into his decision to hire a state budget official’s daughter while Colangelo was lobbying that official for raises for himself and other State’s Attorneys.
The following is a reaction from ACLU of Connecticut public policy and advocacy director Claudine Fox:
“Whenever a powerful government official misbehaves, it is imperative for lawmakers to look at the systems that allowed that behavior to happen, and to take steps to prevent future harm. As the legislature heads into a new session, elected officials must create real ethics and accountability mechanisms for State’s Attorneys, to prevent similar and worse misconduct from the most powerful prosecutors in the state. The fact that even the most powerful prosecutor in the state could see his reappointment as dependent on a popularity contest amongst other prosecutors, and the means to reappointment being greasing their palms, shows how much Connecticut’s top prosecutors are left to their own devices. Colangelo’s resignation will prevent him from continuing his individual poor behavior, but preventing future misconduct by State’s Attorneys requires larger systemic action from the legislature.”
The ACLU of Connecticut is calling for legislators to take up legislation that would:
- create data-based performance evaluations of State’s Attorneys
- initiate independent oversight by moving the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) out of the Division of Criminal Justice and giving it its own budget, and by expanding the CJC’s disciplinary power to include the chief state’s attorney
- mandate a prosecutorial ethics policy in line with national policies and professional standards
- establish a task force to create statewide policies to prevent discrimination in prosecutors’ practices.
In 2021, the legislature considered a bill to create accountability mechanisms for state’s attorneys. The Division of Criminal Justice, led by Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo, opposed it.