Ahead of Snow, CT Senate Approves 3 Trial Referees

With a major snowstorm expected Wednesday, the state Senate rearranged its schedule to approve three trial referees Tuesday.

Working with lightning speed, the Senate held one of its shortest sessions in recent memory to approve the senior members of the bench.

After various introductions and points of personal privilege, the Senate spent less than 10 minutes on the merits before voting to approve the referees by 35-0. Sen. Joan Hartley, a Waterbury Democrat, was out of state and missed the vote.

Sen. Paul Doyle, the co-chairman of the judiciary committee, said that all three referees were originally nominated as judges in 1985 by then-Gov. William A. O’Neill. After reaching retirement age, some judges remain on the bench as referees in order to help with the court backlogs across the state.

The referees approved Tuesday included Karen Sequino, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1972.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney of New Haven said Sequino has has “a superb, more than 30-year career on the bench’’ and is known for being “extraordinary in the pre-trial setting, asking penetrating questions.’’

The second referee was Jonathan J. Kaplan of South Windsor, a University of Connecticut law school graduate who has taught other judges in the Connecticut Judges Institute.

The third was Joseph Q. Koletsky of Waterford, who graduated from Yale University and Yale Law School and has served on the Connecticut Law Revision Commission.

Insiders said the votes were necessary Tuesday so that the terms of the trial referees would not expire. A series of judges, including Chief Justice-nominee Andrew McDonald, remain on the Senate calendar because immediate votes were not necessary. A vote on McDonald is expected Monday, March 12.

Noting the speed of the session and the bipartisan agreement of everyone present, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff of Norwalk said, “We should be doing this often.’’

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