CHAIRMEN: Representative Fox

Senator Coleman

VICE CHAIRMEN: Senator Doyle

Representative Holder-Winfield


SENATORS: Kissel, Gomes, McLachlan, Meyer,

Roraback, Welch

REPRESENTATIVES: Adinolfi, Berger, Carpino,

Clemons, Dillon, Flexer, Fritz,

Gonzalez, Grogins, Hetherington

Hewett, Hovey, Klarides,

Labriola, Lopes, Rowe, Sampson,

Serra, Shaban, Simanski, Wright

REP. FOX: Good morning. Good morning, everybody. At this time we'd like to convene the Judiciary Committee meeting. The members should have before them an agenda dated -- a public hearing agenda dated Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012.

Today we have before us three individuals for nomination to be Superior Court Judges or, in the first instance, to be a Senior Judge of the Superior Court. With that, in order to commence the public hearing, I'll just call to us the first nominee. It's the Honorable Christina G. Dunnel of Newington.

Judge Dunnel, if you could please raise your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony that you're about to give before this Committee will be the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God or upon penalty of perjury?


REP. FOX: Thank you.

And if you have an opening statement, you can do so at this time.


REP. FOX: Maybe if you want to start again.

Thank you.

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: They don't even -- they don't even know.

REP. FOX: If you want to --

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: I don't care to make any opening statement. Thank you. I'm a senior judge. I work very little. But I would like to be reappointed because I only work when there's an emergency, if somebody is on vacation or they're ill. And I'd like to serve in that way.

REP. FOX: Okay.

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: I think I've averaged 20 days a year since my retirement.

REP. FOX: Okay. And what year did you retire?


REP. FOX: Okay.

Are there any questions for Judge Dunnel? Perhaps you could just explain to us -- I mean, it's a very low amount of days that you're working in a year. What types of matters do you handle? When are you assigned to come in? How does that work?

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: Well, once I did a trial when they really had a problem, but I very rarely do that. Recently, I've just been going in and doing the foreclosure docket on Mondays. I do -- I really work very little. And, as I'm sure you know, they can't afford me.

REP. FOX: Okay. And what --

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: I'm saving them a lot of money, so they don't lay off a clerk.

REP. FOX: What court are you working at?

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: Right now I'm working in New Britain.

REP. FOX: Okay. And, I mean, even though you only work a few short number of days during the year, I mean, we have made some changes on foreclosure laws, especially dealing with foreclosure mediation and all of that. Do you find that you're able to stay up on top of all of that --


REP. FOX: -- because it is changing fairly quickly.

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: Yes, because I work enough to know what's going on. And I follow it. You know, we get information on things like that. I follow it.

REP. FOX: Okay.

Are there any questions for Judge Dunnel?

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Good morning, your Honor.


SENATOR COLEMAN: You had indicated that you worked mostly in cases of emergencies. I'm interested --

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: Yes, to fill in.


THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: I have no regular schedule.

SENATOR COLEMAN: If there are -- when you say emergencies, it's not necessarily crisis, but maybe just a matter of people being unavailable -- other people being unavailable?

THE HON. CHRISTINA G. DUNNEL: Yes, vacation, illness.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. I got you. Thank you.


REP. FOX: Thank you.

Are there any other questions?

Seeing none, thank you very much, your Honor.


REP. FOX: Next we have to be a judge of the Superior Court, Attorney Anna Ficeto of Wolcott.

And if you could please raise your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony you're about to give before this Committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or upon penalty of perjury?


REP. FOX: Thank you.

And if -- I expect you will have an opening statement.


REP. FOX: Okay. Thank you.

ANNA FICETO: Good morning, Chairpersons Coleman, Fox, Ranking Members Kissel and Hetherington, and other members of the Judiciary Committee.

Let me begin by thanking Governor Malloy for nominating me to the Connecticut Superior Court and for the honor of being here before you today.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Connecticut when I was nine years old after having lived in Italy for a year. I've been a resident of Wolcott for almost 15 years, and live with my husband, Robert, and our two sons, Christopher, a 10-year old in fourth grade, and Nicholas, a very precocious seven-year old in second grade.

I am a first generation Italian American. My father left Italy at the age of 16 and found his way to the United States after a brief stint in Venezuela. He later returned to Italy and married my mother. They sought the typical American dream, a better life for themselves and their children. My parents have always worked hard and instilled in my brothers and me the value of hard work and education.

I graduated from Mt. Holyoke College and from the University of Connecticut School of Law. While in law school, I was a clerk at the Firm of Jackson O'Keefe. Upon graduation I accepted a position at the firm as an associate. The firm specialized in civil defense litigation. I remained there for over six years and gained valuable litigation experience.

Although my years at the firm were rewarding, my first desire had always been public service. I have been honored to serve the people of Connecticut since 1996, serving in various roles at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Office of the Governor, and the Department of Consumer Protection, Public Works and Administrative Services.

More specifically, while at the Department of Consumer Protection, I had the opportunity to act as complaint counsel on numerous real estate, home improvement, occupational and occupational licensing cases.

I also had the opportunity to act as hearing officer or trier of fact in numerous instances, including liquor and CUTPA cases. This required that I hear testimony, take evidence, and apply the law to the facts as presented when preparing a proposed final decision. I have been on both sides of the bench, so to speak, and believe that I have been a fair and proficient mediator.

I began working for the Department of Public Works during a rather tumultuous time in Connecticut's political history. I was charged with expanding the legal division to encompass ethics training and procurement reform, particularly with regard to contractor selection. I worked alongside my many DPW colleagues to make the agency more accountable, more transparent, more streamlined, and more efficient.

In May of 2006, I was asked to join Governor Rell's legal staff -- her staff as deputy chief of staff and subsequently as her chief legal counsel.

I'm currently a Director at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority where I sit in a quasi-judicial position adjudicating matters concerning the state's electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunications public service companies.

In my spare time, between my son's cub scout, baseball, and music activities, I have been a lector at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury for over 12 years and have taught religious education there for the past five years. I also serve on the finance and audit and compliance committees of Bristol Hospital.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be considered for a position of a Superior Court Judge. I have been honored to serve the people of Connecticut for over 15 years and look forward to continued service.

The course of my legal background has been varied. My experience in private practice, administrative law, and agency administration will serve me well if confirmed.

If appointed, I will strive to serve the people of Connecticut with fairness, integrity, and humility. It is truly an honor for me to appear before this Committee. And I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you.

REP. FOX: Thank you, Attorney Ficeto.

Are there any questions?

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Ficeto, congratulations on --

ANNA FICETO: Thank you.

SENATOR KISSEL: In looking at the documentation you've given to us, "Question 12: Have you regularly appeared in court?” And the answer is, “No.” And that is indicated, “Very little court time, if any, in any courts.”

How would you square that lack of experience with now going on to the bench?

ANNA FICETO: I've had very limited court experience in the past several years. Most of my experience has been in administrative law which, although we're not in a courtroom, we still have that -- we're still presenting cases, prosecuting cases. Right now, as I've indicated, I'm a director at PURA. We sit in a quasi-judicial setting where we hear cases, we take evidence, and we're actually adjudicating matters and rending final decisions on some pretty complex matters.

SENATOR KISSEL: But, again, probably your first assignment is going to be a GA. It's going to be pretty active. There's a lot of things, dozens of cases a day, spot decisions from the bench. There may be some plea agreements where there's a cap and state's attorney and defense counsel will argue two different sides to you after there's probably a pre-sentence investigation report prepared. So, it's going to be a total different world.

And while I appreciate the fact that you're in New Britain with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, you know, utilizing some form of evidence in -- in some legal matters, I'm just wondering what life experiences, perhaps, you can bring so that we can be assured that you have the judicial temperament and sensitivity in a safe-paced GA setting where folks are probably not real happy. They're facing criminal charges, and it's probably one of the most uncomfortable parts of their lives.

And I'm just wondering, what special qualities you bring to bear for that.

ANNA FICETO: Throughout my career, I've always, it seems, been put in a position where I don't necessarily know the law in the job that I've been holding. And that was true when I accepted my position at Public Works. I had very little construction background, very little construction law, but, you know, delved into the area. Did what I needed to do.

The same can be said for PURA which, when I first started there, was the Department of Public Utility Control. I had very little background in utility law. I had no background, I should say. And it was a huge learning curve. But, again, you know, with the help of my colleagues, doing some work on my own, I bring myself up to speed as quickly as I can. I think the same will be -- will hold true for the -- for court as well, you know, for the GA. I'm looking forward to that fast pace.

I'm looking forward to the training that the judicial branch has to offer. I understand it's quite intensive. It's quite thorough. And I think with the combination of my ability to work hard and the training, I should be able to handle that assignment.

SENATOR KISSEL: Well, obviously, a lot of other people feel that you can handle it as well.

And just my last question is just as far as how the system works, because we are trying to attract a lot of -- a variety of individuals to the bench.

When did you decide to become a judge, and -- and when were you approved to go on the judicial selection list for the Governor to review?

ANNA FICETO: When did I decide to become a judge? It was probably, you know, early in my tenure at Consumer Protection. I started there, I believe, in 1996. So, at that point, it was something I started to think about.

I didn't actually complete the application until 2004, if I recall, when I was on maternity leave and took the opportunity to -- to complete the application. So I believe I filed it in, probably, early 2005, January or February of 2005.

SENATOR KISSEL: So, you've been approved for over six years?



REP. FOX: Senator Gomes.

SENATOR GOMES: Good morning.

ANNA FICETO: Good morning.

SENATOR GOMES: You've been a member of the Board for 21 years, and you stated just now that you've been approved for six years. And you really anticipated 16 years ago of becoming a judge.

During all that time, did you ever think the -- or anticipate the fact that you've never sat or never tried a case in court or anything would be a detriment to you, or -- or did you think that this was not -- would be of any consequence as -- for being chosen for a judge?

ANNA FICETO: Well, again, in my -- early in my career, I did a lot of litigation. I second chaired a number of cases that went to a jury verdict, was in court a great deal doing arguments on motions.

When I was thinking of becoming a judge, it was something that I had thought of and then, subsequently, was encouraged by some of my colleagues. And I -- and I think that overarching reason was more to do with disposition, that people felt -- at least my colleagues were encouraging me -- thought I had the disposition to deal with all the types of situations that happen in court.

And, so, I never thought that, you know, not having active trial experience would be a detriment. As I indicated, I think that's an area that I can bring myself up to speed fairly quickly.

SENATOR GOMES: Well, that was a question. But a remark I would make is, while we sit here and we try to make decisions about people becoming a judge, one of the things that Senator Kissel mentioned temperament of judges on the bench and decision making and everything come into play, therefore, we sort of know what we're getting when we put somebody on the bench and so what would their reaction be to an actual case. So I just wanted to mention that.

Thank you.

ANNA FICETO: Thank you.

REP. FOX: Representative Gonzalez.

REP. GONZALEZ: Good morning.

ANNA FICETO: Good morning.

REP. GONZALEZ: Ann Ficeto, I know you for many, many years, and I know that you are great person, very responsible. And even though my colleagues say that you don't have prior experience in court, but -- and I know this is going to be a different world -- but I know that you'll be a great judge.

But I will say that me, personally, nothing against you because I know you are a great person, and like I said, I know that you'll be a great judge, but I'm not supporting any new judges. Don't take this personally. Nothing against you. But you're not going to need my vote anyway.

Good luck.

ANNA FICETO: Thank you.

REP. FOX: Are there any other questions for Attorney Ficeto?

Representative Carpino.

REP. CARPINO: Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's more of a comment then a question.

As an attorney who spent her entire career in a courtroom, I just want you to know I think you're going to make a tremendous judge based on your experience. I've been before judges with all different demeanors and temperaments and all different backgrounds. And I have to tell you that, although you may not have spent a lot of time in the courtroom, that you're varied in depth experience, I think are going to serve you well. Because as someone who practices in a courtroom, I think the judges who have a variety of experiences only make it a more rich courtroom for both the litigants and the attorneys, so I'd be proud to support you today.

Thank you.

ANNA FICETO: Thank you very much.

REP. FOX: REP. FOX: Are there other questions or comments for Attorney Ficeto?

Seeing none, thank you very much.

ANNA FICETO: Thank you.

REP. FOX: Next, we have to be a judge of the Superior Court, Attorney Maureen McCabe Murphy of Middletown.

If you could please raise your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony you're about to give before this Committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or upon penalties of jury?


REP. FOX: Thank you. And please be seated.

And if you have an opening statement, you may proceed.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: Thank you. Good morning, Chairman Coleman, Chairman Fox, Senator Kissel, Representative Hetherington, and distinguished members of the Joint Committee and Judiciary. It is a tremendous honor for me to be here today as a nominee for the Superior Court. And I want to thank Governor Malloy for putting my name in for nomination, and thank you in advance for your kind consideration of my nomination.

I also want to thank the members of the committee for your kindness and agreeing to let me testify today instead of last week so that I could attend our family reunion celebrating my mother's 90th birthday in Taos, New Mexico.

After the celebrations, we packed my mother up and moved her here to Connecticut. She is proudly here today, as is my loving wife, Jamie Mills. My two children, Brian and Katie, of whom I am immensely proud, were not able to make it here today after taking time off last week.

I was born in Davenport, Iowa, and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico when I was 11. My family then moved to Odessa, Texas where I attended high school.

I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where I completed my Bachelor's Degree in history. After college I worked at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California, as a research assistant and computer programmer.

While I was still working at Rand, my then husband entered the public health service, and we relocated to Gallup, New Mexico where I began volunteering with profoundly developmentally delayed preschool Native American children. I found myself immersed in advocating for these children, some of whom who had spent their childhood in cribs in the local nursing home.

When we moved to Connecticut in 1976, I began my master's program in preschool special education at Southern Connecticut State University and volunteered at the preschool special needs program, at what was then Newington Children's Hospital.

During that time I had my two children, Brian and Katie. I was fortunate to be able to be home with my children in their early years.

In 1982 I entered law school. As a law student, I volunteered at New Haven Rape Crisis Services and received a public interest scholarship to set up a police court advocacy program for victims of sexual assault.

Upon graduation from law school in 1986, I was hired as an assistant attorney general. I handled child protection cases and represented the DCF School District in special education hearings. I also represented state universities in civil litigations such as employment cases.

While I was working at the attorney general'S office, I began a masters of law for LLM Programs at NYU Law School. My courses were in the areas of constitutional law and civil and political rights. I received my degree in 1990.

I spent most of the 1990s practicing with Helen Murphy and Jim Greenfield. In 2000, after a year and a half as a sole practitioner, Helen Murphy, Susan Nugent, and I formed our current firm.

During the first 10 years of private practice, I primarily handled civil litigation cases involving victim's rights and discrimination in both state and federal court. I litigated the first peer-to-peer sexual harassment case in the country under Title 9, as well as cases based on gender, race, disability, and sexual orientation discrimination.

Throughout my career, I have counseled and advised many same-sex couples in family matters and represented many members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community in family and discrimination cases, seeking to insure they were afforded the same benefits afforded to all the residents of this state.

Over the last 10 years, my work has been increasingly focused in the area of family law. And over the last five years, I have primarily served as a guardian ad litem or attorney for minor children.

I am a member of the Family Commission and also a member of a working group made up of family judges, mental health professionals, and attorneys, who, under the direction and leadership of Judge Monroe, developed a 30-hour training for guardians ad litems and attorneys for minor children.

That training is now required under the practice book for all appointments. I also, along with three other lawyers in New Haven, established the New Haven Academy for Child Advocacy to provide a form for lawyers, judges, and mental health professionals to discuss topics of concern in representing children's interests and family matters.

Throughout my career, I have continuously sought to provide a voice to those who are often not heard. The work I have done has afforded me many opportunities to view facts from a variety of perspectives. I believe that I have the -- the ability and the compassion to listen to both sides of a case.

And if I am given the opportunity to serve as a Superior Court Judge, I will offer to lawyers and members of the public, the patience, respect, and dignity they deserve.

Thank you. And I welcome any questions.

REP. FOX: Thank you, Attorney Murphy.

Are there questions?

Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL: Thank you very much, Chairman Fox. Congratulations.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: Thank you, Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL: Quite a diverse background.


SENATOR KISSEL: And I agree with Representative Carpino, as she stated so eloquently regarding Attorney Ficeto, that a diverse background is a real plus for individuals on the bench.


SENATOR KISSEL: This year in particular, but over the last several years, we've had individuals come before us, especially men who are involved in family matters who feel that their side of the story is not often heard when it comes to custody and -- and visitation and things like that. There has been some criticism of our guardian ad litem system.

My recollection is having been lucky enough to have been in this legislature for 20 years now, that I do recall when the whole notion of a guardian ad litem was first brought before us. And, so, I think we've had, probably, 14, 16, maybe around that, amount of times to sort of have that system up and running and developed.

You have a lot of expertise in that area. And I'm just wondering what insights you can provide to us regarding how folks are treated in some of these matters and -- and how, perhaps, Connecticut could do a better job in being sensitive to everyone's needs in that kind of very difficult kind of situation.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: Thank you, Senator Kissel.

It -- the -- I believe a tremendous amount of credit should go to Judge Linda Monroe who's the Chief Family Judge for the state in designing this guardian ad litem training. It is a 30-hour course. And approximately 700 people have been through that course at this time since it started two years ago.

We spent about a year, I believe, designing the curriculum. And no matter how experienced you are as a guardian ad litem, or an attorney for minor children, you must attend that 30-hour training. That is a significant step up, I believe, in ensuring that the parents are treated fairly and that the guardians that are appointed are well-trained and have a strong background.

I will tell you that there's one day -- it's a six-day training -- one day is devoted exclusively to mental health issues. And some of the finest mental health professionals in the state do that training. And, although I was involved in designing the curriculum, I have attended all the days on numerous occasions because I learn something every single time I do -- I attend.

I am also responsible for one of the days or have been responsible for one of the days. I'm sure I won't be anymore, if I'm lucky enough to get appointed and confirmed.

But -- but I do believe that this is a significant improvement, so that we can be certain that everyone who is appointed has a background in this that prepares them for it. And so, I -- I think that's the best way to answer your questions.

SENATOR KISSEL: I appreciate that. The other thing is that early on in your career you were doing things -- I think you had mentioned the children's hospital and things like that.


SENATOR KISSEL: All of these things seem to speak of yourself as a compassionate person who's really out there trying to help people that are having a hard go of it. And so I feel almost foolish asking you to tell us something about yourself that will give us an assurance that you'll be a compassionate jurist.

But, despite the fact that that was a fabulous opening statement, is there anything more then you can give us as regarding who you are and why at this point in your career you would be a good public servant for the people of the State of Connecticut working from the Judicial Branch side of things.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I think, throughout my career and my personal life, I have taken advantage of many opportunities to expose myself to a lot of different cultures.

One of the things I don't often talk about because I didn't get the degree is that I completed all the course work at UCLA and a masters in folklore and mythology. That was prior to going off to Gallop. And so I had a sense of the importance of culture.

And when I was taking my master of laws at NYU Law School, I not only took cases -- took courses in civil and political rights and constitutional law, but I also took a course on culture and how it impacts family law. And I -- I think that those experiences have really helped me to understand the importance of culture in the mega definition of culture and the very, very small definition of culture, which is the culture within a family or the larger societal definition of culture.

In addition, I spent seven years on the board of a homeless organization. I was vice president for four years, and two of the years I was president. That's an organization in New Haven called Liberty Community Services. And that, as president and vice president, I was pretty intimately involved with the running of that particular agency. They provide permanent housing for the chronically homeless, along with support of housing and temporary housing for the chronically homeless. Meeting the clients, the consumers of that particular agency and getting to know them also broadened my perspective.

And I have one other experience that I think is very important. I've always said that my children have been my greatest teachers. And one of my children -- I'm very proud of both of them -- but one of them was in the Peace Corps. And she was in a very remote area of El Salvador that you had to walk a couple hours to get to because there were no roads. And I took the opportunity to visit that village and spend time with her there. And since then, I have been dedicated to learning Spanish. But I have to say, I'm not fluent, so if anyone tries to test me on it, I'm afraid I will fail.

But I do believe that the exposure to different cultures has broadened me, whether it's the culture of the homeless within our inner cities, or whether it's the larger culture such as the Latina/Latino community or the African American community.

SENATOR KISSEL: I appreciate that answer. And we have an extremely diverse state. I mean, quite often we talk in terms of diversity being African American or Latino/Latina. But, you know, visiting some colleagues not that long ago in New Britain, I think that they indicated that there was a huge Middle Eastern population. And -- and we have many individuals from the Pacific Rim and -- and Southeast Asia.

And from your vantage point -- God bless you -- from your vantage point, how are we doing as a state in dealing with our multi-culturalism?

In some respects I think that we have done a good job in being tolerant with one another and accepting and, actually, sort of rejoicing in the diversity. But on the other hand, I see certain pockets of real poverty, especially in certain urban areas. And we seem to be more stratified along socioeconomic levels than we've -- than we've been, at least, as I recall, growing up.

Statistically, I think that there's become a greater divide between the wealthy and -- and the impoverished. And so I'm just wondering what perspective you have on that.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I think it's a very complex issue. And I think the current economy has been very hard on those who had very little to start with.

I do think that language barriers in the courthouses could -- could be addressed better. I would love to see more translators. It's sometimes difficult for people, particularly because we do have a very diverse culture here in Connecticut.

There are many languages that are spoken, and in order for people to really get treated fairly in the courts, they need to be able to understand what's going on. And I do believe the translators are very, very important. It's one of the reasons I'm trying to learn a language. I think -- not that I would expect that I would be speaking a language, but to at least have some appreciation of that language.

And, also, standing up when I went to visit my daughter in the Peace Corps, and I had to stand up in front of the class she was teaching. And she used me as an example at how bad my Spanish was, and that I was really smart -- that's what she said to the young people in that class -- and it was hard for me to learn Spanish. And I have a sense of how difficult that is because I've tried to do it myself, speak another language.

So I think that we can do better. Obviously, I know that the economic constraints are significant, and -- and that makes it very difficult.

SENATOR KISSEL: My guess is that was what Judge Quinn was thinking as you were saying about translators in the courthouses, that their budgets are always very limited in trying to stretch dollars to do more with less.

You just strike as a person with a lot of, sort of, neat life experiences, a lot of dedication to -- to those in need, quite a diverse background. I think you'll be terrific on the bench, a lot of wisdom in there, a lot of humility, and a lot of compassion, and a lot of smarts. And when you add all that together, to me, that adds up to be a -- potentially be a very good judge.

And I'd like to believe that this is just the first baby steps towards another long career in another aspect of your life. And I see no reason why, in what will appear to be the blink of eye, you will be sitting -- presiding over a courthouse somewhere, in some GA, saying I can't believe I'm here, but I'm here.

So, congratulations.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: Thank you so much, Senator.

REP. FOX: Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And congratulations, Attorney Murphy.


SENATOR DOYLE: Our role, as a Judiciary Committee, we have to, you know, screen issues. And, unfortunately, I want to present something to you. And I'll give you due discretion of how you want to approach it.

But, in terms of the process, we are often submitted -- the members of the public have the opportunity to speak and present us written testimony or written opinions. And one individual submitted a written letter to us, Mr. -- or I'm not sure if it's a male or female -- Ada Shaw, in connection with a case which you were guardian ad litem. And I'm not going to get in any specifics, but at this point in time, I figured I want to -- I've read it and I assume the rest of the committee has. I don't know if you want to address it, and I'll leave it to your discretion.

But how it works is this person may testify in the near future. So the question is do you want to say -- speak about it now? And it's your choice whether you do or you don't. Or do you want to wait until that person testifies and then, depending on the chairs, they may let you come back and speak, if you want, if you deem it appropriate.

But I guess the question is, are you comfortable? I mean, you know, on its face -- and, of course, it's an alleged letter, which the merits of the Committee doesn't know -- but I don't know if you would feel like just to comment on it in a general principle without getting into the facts.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I -- it's very difficult for me to respond to that. I was a guardian ad litem in a particular case. I've been a guardian ad litem in a number of cases. It was a very difficult case. There is a written decision in that case. And I don't really believe that I can comment any further, other than to say there was a written decision in that case.

And when a guardian ad litem testifies before a court, there is usually -- if it gets to that point -- there is usually one parent who is extremely unhappy. And the more complicated the case, the more likely that one parent feels that you have been wrong.

I will say that my work as a guardian ad litem, I feel, has prepared me to be -- to sit up on -- as a judge because it is extremely difficult. Perhaps it's more difficult for a guardian ad litem, because what we do is go into people's homes, meet with the parents, meet with the children, talk to the schools, talk to the mental health professionals that are involved in the case, and then we make a recommendation after having had that relationship with those parents.

It is extremely difficult. And I can tell you I've had many, many sleepless nights. No one, I think, feels it more than the guardian ad litem who has to get up there and testify.

I would say 95 percent of all the cases that I'm a guardian ad litem in never go to trial. And I'm never put in that situation where I have to get on the witness stand. And I'm at a disadvantage here because this is a case that -- that proceeded in pseudonyms to protect the child. And so I am not going to address anything because my role is solely to protect the child.

SENATOR DOYLE: Okay. Now, I've been a long-time member of this committee. Some people may say too long, but I've been a long-time member. And I do appreciate the role of judges and lawyers when you have difficult situations. And even if -- and I'm not saying you are -- even if a judge or lawyer had made a mistake, that, to me, would not negate a person's, you know, nomination.

But in this case, I -- I do appreciate your response. And I guess -- so you're -- I guess the simple question I'd ask you is are you, you know, publically, you're comfortable with your comportment and decision-making process in this particular case? You're comfortable saying that? Without any specifics, you're comfortable in your performance?

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I -- I am very comfortable with my performance and -- and how I handled that case. I believe that I did so very professionally, and I believe that I put a tremendous amount of work into that case. And I made the hard decision and made the hard recommendations, and that is never easy. But I am -- I feel very confident, in my own mind, that I did what I should have done in that case.

SENATOR DOYLE: Okay. Well, thank you. And I hope you appreciate it's our role to scrutinize things. And there may be testimony forthcoming that you may not be comfortable with. And, of course, the Chairs may give you the opportunity, if you so wish.

Thank you, and good luck.


REP. FOX: Are there other questions?

Representative Gonzalez.

REP. GONZALEZ: Good morning.


REP. GONZALEZ: I also want to ask questions about the same case, even though that you don't feel comfortable answering questions about this case. I would say that this case is already -- it's closed?


REP. GONZALEZ: And if it is closed and they got -- we got questions, then if it is closed, why you don't feel comfortable answer questions, because this is very disturbing. And this report, you know, when they said that you're ignoring evidence about a child sexual abuse, this is very disturbing.

And I think that this is something that all members of this committee should take a look into that -- into this and read this complaint very carefully. Because even though that I was very clear saying that I won't support any new judges -- but we know that we have, you know, great candidates for this -- but with all due respect, I would say that this is not a good complaint. And this is something that every single member of this committee should take a look into this and make a decision before they -- before they vote on your appointment.

And this is -- one of the things that I'm saying is that you said that you don't feel comfortable answering questions. And I'll say the case is closed. And with this kind of complaint, I think that I will, you know, think twice and answer some questions. But if you don't feel comfortable, I respect that.

But I will say that, even though that I'm not voting for new judges, that I will -- this I will take into consideration. And I'm not voting against new judges, but can't support you either.

Thank you.

REP. FOX: Representative Carpino.

REP. CARPINO: Thank you, Chairman. I just have a brief question to you. Senator Doyle asked you about one complaint we had, and there's another one by Dr. Newberger. Can you just tell me if this is the same case --


REP. CARPINO: -- or if they're two different cases?


REP. CARPINO: Thank you.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: And I will say there was a 71-page decision in this particular case, and it -- I believe that it supported my recommendations. And it did discuss some of the issues that are probably raised in that. There also was an appeal that was dismissed.

My role, as a guardian ad litem, is to protect this child. And that is why the case proceeded in pseudonyms, is so that there is not a public record about the facts of this particular case. And so I'm in a very difficult situation to talk anymore than -- than I have already spoken.

REP. FOX: Thank you.

Are there any other questions?

Senator Gomes.

SENATOR GOMES: Good morning. I just have a roundabout casual -- not casual, but a round-a-bout question. I'm looking at the document that was in question here. Did this document, even though -- was it -- any of it addressed on a decision that was finally made?

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I actually have not seen what you are looking at. But I can tell you that --

SENATOR GOMES: It's a document submitted by somebody. Much of it has been redacted. But it's about sexual performance on a child, and some of the testimony which -- which was allegedly taken is -- is by Ada Shaw. That's who signed it.

Do you know Ada Shaw?

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I am familiar with her.

SENATOR GOMES: Well, the thing of it is -- some of it seems to be a bit ludicrous the way it's -- the composition of the letter. But the thing of it is it refers to sexual -- of a sexual nature to a child. And I just wanted to know if any of this was considered in the decision that was finally made by the court, because you told us that this is a closed case.

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I believe what I said is that the decision had been rendered. That -- that doesn't -- in a family case that involves children, there's never a final decision. In other words, anyone can come forward and seek a modification based on a substantial change in circumstances.

So there actually is a new guardian ad litem who has been appointed in that case, in light of my appearance here today, if there were to be any additional information or -- or court proceedings that were to take place.

What I can tell you, I have not seen what is before you. But Dr. Newberger did testify in that particular case. His testimony was addressed by the judge. And the trial took place over a month period. It was a significantly long case. There was an opportunity for everybody to put on their evidence.

And, as I said before, there's always one parent when there's that involved of a case who is unhappy with the decision.

SENATOR GOMES: Is this person a parent?


SENATOR GOMES: Therefore -- let me ask this last question -- therefore, could we take it to be that you do not know what impact that this letter would have had on the overall decision?

Would that be a correct statement?

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: I do know that the person in question testified at the hearing.

SENATOR GOMES: This person did?

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: At the trial, yes.

SENATOR GOMES: And -- but you do not know what impact this -- this document -- because you claim you've never seen it -- it had any impact on the decision?

MAUREEN MCCABE MURPHY: Well, I -- I know that Dr. Newberger testified and that Ada Shaw testified at that particular hearing. The judge heard everything that they had to say, in addition to a number of other experts. There were a number of experts in that case.

SENATOR GOMES: So this person was heard orally?


SENATOR GOMES: Thank you very much.


REP. FOX: Thank you.

Are there any other questions from members of the committee?

Seeing none, thank you very much Attorney Murphy.


REP. DILLON: I just wanted to say --

REP. FOX: Okay.

REP. DILLON: -- to welcome -- Mr. Chairman. That's all.

REP. FOX: Oh, okay.

REP. DILLON: I just wanted to welcome Attorney Murphy.

REP. FOX: Okay. Thank you.

Representative Dillon.


REP. FOX: That concludes the judicial nominations for review portion. We now turn to the opportunity for members of the public to speak with respect to this public hearing. We have three names. The first name -- the first individual to testify is Ada Shaw.

ADA SHAW: Good morning.

REP. FOX: Good morning.

ADA SHAW: I'm testifying about the nomination of Maureen Murphy for Superior Court Judge. Her performance in this particular case as guardian ad litem gives me serious cause for concern. She was presented with a great amount of evidence that this child is being harmed, and Maureen Murphy did nothing.

In May of 2010, the boy's mother showed Ms. Murphy videos she had taken on her iPhone where the boy described his father playing tickle the weenie with him. She also told Ms. Murphy that the boy had run up to her and said, “Mommy, I want to put my penis in your butt and pee inside.” Ms. Murphy did absolutely nothing.

In June of 2010, Ms. Murphy interviewed me. I told her that the boy had suddenly, after visiting the house off and on for a year, suddenly starting pulling his pants down and saying, “Who wants to see my butt?”, and how he had curled up against me one day and said, “Do you want to touch my penis?”, as if it was a kind of a treat. And Ms. Murphy's response was, “Well, you keep saying that was in April. Would you say the boy's behavior has improved since then?” I told her, “I would not say that. And it doesn't matter whether it's in April or in June, this is a serious, serious situation.

In July of 2010, the boy came home with marks on his arm as if he had been tied up, blisters on his toes as if he'd been dragged across the ground. The mother presented these photographs, and, again, nothing was done. In fact, they tried to insinuate the mother had done it herself to frame the father.

In August of 2010, Ms. Murphy arranged for the father to have shared custody, because what she said to the mother was, “Well, let's give the father more time with the boy and see if he gets worse.” Indeed, he got worse. He started asking me questions like, “What would you do if someone tortured you and your nephew with fire?” He started talking about the difference between little girls' vaginas and grown women's vaginas. And he started talking about maniacs pooping and peeing on him.

In November, 2010, the mother got supervised custody. The court-appointed supervisor, Allison Chiodo, had the same kind of notes of the boy talking about madmen pooping in his mouth, maniacs peeing on him, et cetera. Ms. Murphy ignored all this evidence. She ignored the court-ordered supervisor's reports of the boy screaming in pain and talking about electric shock is what they do to make you forget the bad things they do to you. She ignored the supervisor's report of the father crawling under the table and massaging the boy's thighs for 15 minutes while he did his homework.

She also worked to suppress evidence the mother had of anal tearing, by insuring that only poor quality photographs -- poor quality printout was presented and not the digital photograph that the mother had taken.

She also ignored a report when the boy talked to his therapist, Dr. John Collins, and described how his mouth was taped open for someone to poop inside it. And then he immediately threw up all over the floor. Ms. Murphy ignored this. She also prevented the mother from seeking medical care for her son or getting any kind of independent sexual evaluation for him.

And considering all this, I do not think that Ms. Murphy would be in any way a fair or even-handed judge. And I don't think she should be a judge on the Superior Court of Connecticut.

REP. FOX: Thank you, Ms. Shaw.

Senator Doyle.


Good afternoon, Ms. Shaw.

ADA SHAW: Good afternoon.

SENATOR DOYLE: And thank you for taking the time to come up and testify. My first question is what's your relationship to the child in the whole case?

ADA SHAW: I'm a friend of the child's mother.

SENATOR DOYLE: So were you --

ADA SHAW: And a witness to many of the incidents.

SENATOR DOYLE: Were you a witness in court?


SENATOR DOYLE: Okay. So you're an active participant in the process. Now, clearly, I don't think anyone could deny what you presented to us is troubling.

My question to you is, assuming these issues were presented in court, were these issues addressed by the court and the judge and -- to some resolution?

ADA SHAW: Not very well, because all this evidence was presented. It's in evidence. I can provide the docket number for anyone who is interested. Something is going on very wrong here, because this is hard evidence, and it's just ignored.


ADA SHAW: In the decision, it was ignored.

SENATOR DOYLE: Right. But you're -- you're testifying today to the conduct of the --

ADA SHAW: Ms. Murphy.

SENATOR DOYLE: -- of Ms. Murphy, the nominee. But as you know, she's part of a system. So if -- if it broke down, as you allege, it's not just Ms. Murphy's, you know, performance. It's also the court, the State, and there's a lot of different people here that broke it down.

So, you -- it's your position to us that the entire system broke down and the child was -- his best interest were not protected in this case?

ADA SHAW: Due to Ms. Murphy's handling of the case, and the judge's trust in her and her perceptions of the case. Ms. Murphy was also constantly passing notes to the husband's attorney during the trial and going off into private rooms to confer with the husband's attorney and not including the mother's attorney.

SENATOR DOYLE: But as you know, we're not there.

ADA SHAW: Right.

SENATOR DOYLE: So, we -- we're -- we're a legislative body reviewing a nomination. And you're going into minutia of a trial that we weren't there. You had the benefit of being there, we weren't, so we can't judge that. But all we could do today is try to discern what happened.

And, you know, generally, when you have a court process, you have a neutral judge listening to two parties presenting cases before him. So you are alleging that Attorney Murphy's conduct was, you know, reprehensible, in your opinion. However, even if she did -- you know, it's my hope in our justice system that the judge would see through it and make a decision in the best interest of the child.

So you're basically saying, in addition to Attorney Murphy, no one supported the best interest of the child and the child was harmed. To me, that's troubling more so than even the presentation here.

ADA SHAW: The judge was Linda Monroe, who Attorney Murphy just said she served on the Family Commission with. So, she was listening to whatever Attorney Murphy said.

SENATOR DOYLE: But you're -- I mean, what you're presenting to me is another judge didn't look out in the best interest of the child. So, I mean, it's basically -- it's your opinion.

To me -- I'll be honest. Objectively, I try to look to look at cases objectively. It's hard to me believe a judge that we appoint will look beyond the best interest of the child and lead to the harm of the child. I mean, that's your testimony but --

ADA SHAW: Yeah. I'd be happy --

SENATOR DOYLE: If Attorney -- if Attorney Murphy was the only party in this case and the only person of authority, to me, that would -- I could understand it more. But you're telling me everyone looked in a blind eye. To me, that's hard to believe.

ADA SHAW: I'd be happy to provide you the docket number of the case if you wanted to look into it further.

SENATOR DOYLE: Okay. I wouldn't mind seeing that.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. FOX: Thank you.

Representative Hetherington.

REP. HETHERINGTON: Thank you. Excuse me.

I wanted to clarify a little further, Ms. Shaw, the circumstances of your contact with the child. You were a friend of the mother. Were you a babysitter sometimes? Is that -- that correct?

ADA SHAW: No, that's not correct. I was living in Massachusetts and going back and forth to visit the mother. I occasionally work with the mother.

REP. HETHERINGTON: So you were not with the child alone when you heard these accounts of -- of what he had said he had suffered?

ADA SHAW: That is correct.

REP. HETHERINGTON: Okay. The matter of your -- did you testify in court about the things that you brought forward here today?

ADA SHAW: I did, but I was not allowed to testify about anything that the child said. That was called "hearsay", even though it was actually behavior.

REP. HETHERINGTON: So you testified as to behavior you observed?

ADA SHAW: Yes. Of course, when the child is saying a maniac pooped in my mouth, and I can't talk about it, there's not much testimony.

REP. HETHERINGTON: All right. How did you communicate the things that -- that you had heard or observed to Ms. Murphy?

ADA SHAW: Phone conversations.

REP. HETHERINGTON: You spoke with her on the phone and you told her the things that -- that you've outlined?

ADA SHAW: Yes, I did.

REP. HETHERINGTON: And what was her reaction?

ADA SHAW: Her action was, “Oh, you said that was in April. But wouldn't you say he's improved now and that he's getting better?”.

REP. HETHERINGTON: So, you had -- this is one conversation you had with her?

ADA SHAW: She only talked to me one time. But I also testified in court and I communicated through her that way as well.

REP. HETHERINGTON: Okay. All right.

Thank you.

REP. FOX: Senator Gomes, then Representative Gonzalez.

SENATOR GOMES: Good morning.

ADA SHAW: Good morning.

SENATOR GOMES: You said you testified in court, and you also had a conversation with Mrs. Murphy. Did she -- and she testified in court. Right?

ADA SHAW: Yes, she did.

SENATOR GOMES: Did she deny that -- that you had contacted her when she testified in court or did she acknowledge the fact that you had talked to her?

ADA SHAW: I was not allowed by the husband's attorney to be present. I was sequestered as a witness, so I don't know what she testified about in court.

SENATOR GOMES: Was there any questioning when you were testifying about Ms. Murphy? Did they mention her name, because you said you had contacted her? Did you tell the court you had contacted her?

ADA SHAW: I was never asked about that in court.

SENATOR GOMES: You were never asked and you never volunteered the information?

ADA SHAW: It was in a log. I submitted my logs to the -- and they were entered as evidence. It was in the logs.

SENATOR GOMES: I am a little perplexed, as Attorney Doyle was, for the simple fact that you're talking about a person who is applying here to become a judge, who was in court, and another judge upheld something that you thought was wrong. And everybody in the court, evidently, they came out with a decision not -- in other words, what you think they came out with a decision about not really paying any attention to the testimony that you gave. Is that right?

ADA SHAW: I'm equally perplexed. And the only thing I can really offer is the docket number if you want to research it further.

SENATOR GOMES: And you -- and you -- and you're -- you're only attachment to this whole case is the fact that you are a friend of the mother of this child?


SENATOR GOMES: And that -- this thing -- this paper that you submitted here all applies to only one day that you were -- were you in her company when this was done?

ADA SHAW: Oh, this is not one day. I was back and forth many days. Connecticut is not far from Massachusetts. And I became increasingly concerned about what was going on with this child. So I visited the home frequently.

SENATOR GOMES: And you -- you seem to think that --

ADA SHAW: This is an 18 --

SENATOR GOMES: -- that the judge did not pay any swift attention to your testimony in this case?

ADA SHAW: Maureen Murphy was the first person who had the opportunity to pay attention and she did not.

SENATOR GOMES: Well, we're talking about when we got to court.

ADA SHAW: Right.

SENATOR GOMES: You said you testified in court.


SENATOR GOMES: But you're saying that your testimony did not have any impact upon the decision that the court made?

ADA SHAW: Not only my testimony, a lot of other expert testimony did not seem to have much of an impact in this decision.

SENATOR GOMES: Well, right now, the only thing that we can apply ourselves to is your testimony because the special testimony that you talk about in the court is not before us.

But I thank you for your information anyhow.

REP. FOX: Representative Gonzalez.

REP. GONZALEZ: Thank you. This is troubling. But I will say that everything is possible. I don't -- I won't -- I'm not going to say like my colleagues here, well, you know, it's another judge in question and we should think about, you know, this. Because, right now, you know, I will say that things happen in court that -- that people complain about it and a lot -- people don't -- don't listen. So -- and you have a lot of people out there complaining and complaining and calling and complaining. And it seems like a lot of people are not listening to those complaints.

But when you said here that a photo was taken when they had come with the rectal bleeding and show -- and it was very clear -- so, what else can you ask? It was a photo there. What else we can ask?

I will say who is in question here? Ms. Murphy is question. Another judge is in question. But it's the reality here. They said the photo was taken with rectal bleeding. Also, they ignore another -- the supervisor -- the report what the father was doing. And, also, the court ignored this. Well, is Ms. Murphy and also the judge that was looking to this case what we have to complain and we will say if -- not also Mrs. Murphy, but I think that if she was that guardian ad litem, I think that she should have pushed this. Ask him -- let's give him another chance or he's getting worse. It is ridiculous to say that.

So, it's very, very clear that this case was ignored and not also by Mrs. Murphy. And I will tell you that I will say, thank you very much for coming and -- and bringing this complaint. We don't have too many people that complain, especially in a case like this. So, I would say thank you very much, in the name of that kid.

Even though that the court and Mrs. Murphy didn't do nothing about it, but I will say, in the name of that kid, I will say thank you very much. And I will ask people -- more people to come, you know, up front and bring their complaints to us. So I want to say thank you. Thank you very much.

REP. FOX: Representative Dillon.

REP. DILLON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'm still trying to sort out the facts here. But I do want to say just a couple of things. First, I'm going to ask, did you file a complaint against Judge Monroe?


REP. DILLON: I don't know where she is in the system. But should this Committee be anticipating that you'll be visiting us again if Judge Monroe comes before this Committee?

ADA SHAW: Now that I know that's possible, I will look into it, yes.

REP. DILLON: I have no idea. I wasn't, you know, trying to bait you. I just -- I'm trying to understand the full dimensions of what your testimony to us would be.

I would suggest, because this happened in someone else's testimony a couple of months ago, that I understand and am very impressed with your zeal on this matter. And I understand that. But -- but you did make a statement about the judgment of the judge that implied that her membership on a committee with -- with Justice Murphy affected her decision. And I would just respectfully ask that we not do things like that here.

If you saw a list of the people that I serve on things with, you would be -- you would be hard put to find a friend. And I enjoy serving on things with a lot of people. I understand when you believe that no one is responding to you and I've been in this situation myself as a provider, years ago, when you believe no one is responding. And you look at things everywhere. But before this Committee, I don't think it's appropriate, because it calls that into question.

And -- and there is a process, in terms of Judge Monroe. And, so, I guess that's all I want to say. Thank you.

And thank you very much for following through and coming before us.

REP. FOX: Representative Berger.

REP. BERGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for coming and presenting testimony here today.

And I'd like to preface some of my questions by the fact that I'm a retired police officer of 20 years in the City of Waterbury.

In your testimony, which you write on and also which is presented by Dr. Newberger, what was Dr. Newberger's association with this case?

ADA SHAW: He was an expert pediatrician who examined the photographs of the marks and the tearing. And he testified as an expert on the case for the mother.

REP. BERGER: And whose request was -- who made the request to Dr. Newberger to review the documents and to testify?

ADA SHAW: The mother did.

REP. BERGER: Was Dr. Newberger compensated for that testimony?

ADA SHAW: I believe so. Oh, for the testimony in court?



REP. BERGER: For the review of the documents?

ADA SHAW: That, I believe so.

REP. BERGER: This -- the incident that you site here in your testimony before the committee, was that alleged assault -- did that occur in the State of Connecticut?

ADA SHAW: Which incident? Well, they all did. The child was in Connecticut, so, yes.

REP. BERGER: Was there a specific municipality that that incident occurred in?

ADA SHAW: West Haven.

REP. BERGER: During the course of this investigation and the testimony that was presented by Dr. Newberger, was there ever a complaint filed with the police department in the City of West Haven?

ADA SHAW: Yes. There were at least two that I know of.

REP. BERGER: And who investigated that in the West Haven PD?

ADA SHAW: Mary Canfield invested -- investigated the first one and the second one was -- I'm not remembering at this moment.

REP. BERGER: So -- and those individuals that investigated that were detectives or were those sexual assault detectives or officers, or what was their role within the West Haven PD?

ADA SHAW: Regular detectives. The second one was Officer Beutel.

REP. BERGER: So let me refrain -- let me go back again. Those officers and those detectives -- and I believe you mentioned a female detective, were those officers, as far as your knowledge or recollection, were those familiar with the process of sexual assault investigations in the State of Connecticut? Were they experts in that?

ADA SHAW: As far as I know, no, they were not. They referred it to DCF and said they didn't know what to do about that kind of complaint.

REP. BERGER: So let me go back. So what you're stating in your testimony here that duly sworn officers of the City of West Haven, detectives, detective status in West Haven, investigated a complaint by yourself and a doctor and determined that there was no determination of sexual assault? Or are you saying in your testimony that they passed that along and turned their back?

ADA SHAW: They passed it along.

REP. BERGER: So your testimony here before this committee is that West Haven PD, in their investigation of a sexual assault against a child, did not pursue that case because they wanted to pass it along?

ADA SHAW: I don't know what they wanted, but they did not pursue the case.

REP. BERGER: Is it your understanding that they investigated the case, they looked at the evidence that was presented to the Court?

ADA SHAW: No. They refused to see some of the evidence.

REP. BERGER: Okay. Well -- and I thank you for your testimony.

Mr. Chairman, I just find it incredible that a detective in the City of West Haven receiving a duly authorized complaint of an investigation of a sexual assault against a child would not fully investigate that and pursue it to -- to their highest levels. Being involved in investigations, maybe not at this level of child abuse, I find it incredible, incredulous, that they would reduce the responsibility to DSS. So, thank you.

REP. FOX: Are there other questions?

Senator Coleman.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Good afternoon, Ms. Shaw.

ADA SHAW: Good afternoon.

SENATOR COLEMAN: I'm wondering if I heard correctly. And I think in response to Senator Doyle's question inquiring about your relationship to the individuals involved in this situation, I thought I heard you say that you witnessed some of these incidents.

ADA SHAW: I did.

SENATOR COLEMAN: And what do you mean by that?

ADA SHAW: I was -- oh, I was there when the child was describing these things about the maniac pooping in his mouth, and, you know, when he tried to pull his pants down, and when he talked about electric shock. When he acted out electric shock. When he screamed in pain.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. And there was -- I had an opportunity to review the writing that you submitted to the committee. So there were -- in that document, references to anal tearing. Is that correct?


SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. And was that treated?

ADA SHAW: That was treated with cream. The mother was instructed to put cream on it. And then the tearing was getting worse.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. Was there a physician involved? Was it --

ADA SHAW: Dr. Richard Whelan.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. And did Dr. Whelan make any referrals or make any complaints to any agency upon observing the condition of the child and treating the child?

ADA SHAW: He originally made a complaint to DCF in 2009 when the child had described the tickle of the weenie game to him and jumped under the table when he tried to examine him.

SENATOR COLEMAN: And I don't recall you -- maybe someone did ask and maybe you did respond, I don't recall. And you may not know because of the confidentially of DCF. But do you now what the outcome of DCF's involvement was?

ADA SHAW: DCF, I believe they just closed the case. I believe they said no evidence of abuse. I'm not sure if they said that or if they just closed the case.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Does anybody, albeit the West Haven Police Department, detectives or investigations, DCF or the pediatrician, make any finding concerning the anal tearing?

ADA SHAW: That -- well, Yale Sex Abuse Clinic said that the child should be kept away from the father until further investigation was done. DCF, at that point, closed the case and ruled educational neglect against the mother.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. I guess, my --

ADA SHAW: They kind of left it open and did not pursue that.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Was there any explanation provided for the child's anal tearing, that you know of?

ADA SHAW: That I know of, no.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. And, so, other than your complaints to the guardian ad litem and -- was it you that made the additional complaint to the West Haven Police Department or was that the mother?

ADA SHAW: The additional -- the complaint in June of 2011, I made a complaint to them.

SENATOR COLEMAN: Okay. Can you think of any other steps that you may have taken? And, you know, don't misinterpret my questions. I'm certainly not trying to indict you. As a matter of fact, I admire you for being here. You're obviously feeling some conviction about what your relating to the committee. But I'm just trying to get an understanding of the situation. And, so I'm trying to think whether you made any other approaches to any other agencies or officials or individuals concerning the situation with this child.

ADA SHAW: The only thing I've done is I've made a report to DCF and the West Haven Police on June 4th, 2011. I testified in court and I'm here today. That's all I've done.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. FOX: Thank you.

Are there other questions or comments? No.

Seeing none, thank you very much for being here this morning and for your testimony today.

ADA SHAW: Thank you. Are you interested in the docket number or should I e-mail that?

REP. FOX: If you'd like to give that over to --

A VOICE: (Inaudible.)

REP. FOX: -- we actually have it.

A VOICE: (Inaudible.)

ADA SHAW: You have it? You do. Okay. Thank you.

REP. FOX: Thank you. Excuse me.

Next on the list -- on the sign up list from members of the public we have Michael Nowacki.

Good morning.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: Good morning. Senator Coleman, good morning. I would like to address some concerns that I have about the members of the committee who were present when I spoke at last Friday's judicial confirmation hearings.

And I'm going to quote from the March 23, 2000 -- I'm sorry -- 1775 address that was given in the second paragraph by Patrick Henry. “This is no time for ceremony.” The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom versus slavery. And in proportion to magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth and fulfill the great responsibility we hold to God and to our country. Should I keep my opinion at such a time through fear of giving offense. I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country at an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven which I revere before above all earthly things.”

Those words of patriotism spoke on March the 23rd of 1775, were not the most well-remembered words of that address. The last acclamation of Patrick Henry in that address was “Give me liberty or give me death.”

I am here on the matters of liberty regarding opposing, with great conviction, and based on personal experience of observing Attorney Maureen Murphy and the members of the Family Commission, of which she has admitted that she has been a member on a long-standing basis. That the Family Commission of this state has engaged in self-empowerment rules that were forbidden by the General Statutes of this state, which you all received a copy of last Friday.

Connecticut General Statute 15-1-14, as you know, was passed in 1953 to turn the rules of practice for the State of Connecticut from a law governed by this committee into a series of self-governing principles that required for there to be public hearings on any modifications of these rules.

As you know, in 51-14(a) it says, “Such rules shall not abridge, enlarge, or amend any substantive right or the jurisdiction of the courts.”.

Attorney Murphy just spoke about, with great pride, the expansion of the jurisdiction of the courts of Connecticut to engage in training for guardian ad litems and attorneys for minor children. That Practice Book Rule, 25-60A, is completely and utterly unlawful.

This committee failed in its fiduciary responsibilities to 51-14 to conduct those public hearings. And, as you know, the GAL and AMC training, in and of itself, is an unconstitutional act of self empowerment conducted by the members of the Family Commission who made the recommendation to the Rules Committee of this state. Attorney Murphy has been a member of the Family Commission since it became the Family Commission in November of 2008.

Now, the issue before us today has to do with the unconstitutional conduct of Judge Linda Monroe and the Family Commission in engaging in self-empowerment tools that results in the abuse of authority we just heard testimony about.

REP. FOX: Mr. Nowacki, the bell went off several minutes ago. I'd ask you to please begin to summarize.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: All right. The issue is this -- before this committee. You have a responsibility that you have not fulfilled. You do so in the votes that you case last Friday, 37 to 1. None of you do your due diligence to study the minutes of these Family Commission meetings, of the judiciary process, to enforce 51-14, and in doing so, you have violated your oath of office and you continue to do so in your attempts to circumvent the public's ability to even have rules, by the way, that are not even published on -- as required by the Secretary of State regarding public comments, the nature of public comments, how public comments were submitted to you yesterday that were not provided to you, as requested, when they were submitted at 11:32.

As you know, Representative Fox, this convening of this Judiciary Committee this morning is, in and of itself, a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

REP. FOX: Mr. Nowacki, are you going to summarize your comments?

MICHAEL NOWACKI: You were requested, sir -- no.

REP. FOX: Are you going to summarize your comments, sir?

MICHAEL NOWACKI: Right. Here's the issue. The issue is this. That -- that Attorney Murphy failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act in submitting materials that were being circulated in regards to these unlawful proceedings upon a request that was put into her in writing, as an attorney, as a member. She has opposed the public membership of people on the Family Commission. There is no input from the people.

Public Act 1-148 applies to this committee. Do you realize that what Judge Linda Monroe did in that case --

REP. FOX: Mr. Nowacki, at this time, you're going to have to stop your testimony.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: And the reason for that, sir, is why?

REP. FOX: Because you're out of order.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: I'm quoting the --

REP. FOX: You're out of order, Mr. Nowacki.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: -- I'm quoting the law to this committee.

REP. FOX: You're out of order right now.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: And you seem to be offended by asking that the law be applied to your conduct, sir, as an attorney and as a representative of this state. Your conduct is disgraceful and it continues to be so, sir.

What you just observed is the elimination of the process of the freedoms of this country to restrict my testimony --

REP. FOX: (Inaudible), please escort Mr. Nowacki.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: -- to challenge your execution of authority that you do not have, sir. You do not have the authority.

A VOICE: Sir, you've been asked to stop. Please stand up.


A VOICE: Come with me.

MICHAEL NOWACKI: I'm leaving. Okay. But I'm leaving on my own position because I'm filing in federal court tomorrow a lawsuit (inaudible).

REP. FOX: We next have Keith Harmon Snow.

Take your time, sir.

KEITH HARMON SNOW: My name is Keith Harmon Snow. And I appreciate some of the questions that have been asked of one of the people who spoke this morning, Ms. Ada Shaw. I may open with a few of my credentials because it's the kind of world we live in, isn't it?

I previously was employed in classified government programs with GE Aerospace and Defense, and that ended in 1990. And since then, I've been an independent journalist and human rights investigator. I've worked in 42 countries. I've worked as a consultant and genocide investigator for the United Nations in 2006. I worked as a war correspondent in the conflicts in Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, and Afghanistan.

I've given expert testimony on genocide at a US Congressional Hearing in 2001. And I testified this last Fall at the highest court in Spain about war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed by the government of Rwanda in Central Africa with a backing of the United States.

And I'd like to draw your attention to that, Representative Sampson, because you might want to think about whether or not you'd call me an activist for declaring that the United States government is involved in atrocities in Central Africa, which you seem to try to do with one of the people who was here last Wednesday.

In other words, speaking up about war crimes, human rights violations and atrocities committed by people is something that I think we should all be doing when they're happening.

I have examined numerous cases, dockets, depositions, official reports, and testimonies about the Connecticut courts in the past two months. I don't usually work in the United States, but now I've been drawn to this particular case.

I'm here today to speak on behalf of numerous mothers, children, and family that have been ripped apart through the judicial abuse that is obviously occurring in Connecticut courts. And the case that was spoken about this morning is a perfect example.

I did not provide a written statement because I'm a journalist and I'm producing a story about this that I've been covering, and you saw me taking a few pictures because that's what I do.

So I will confine my further comments to the case of Laberti versus Laberti (phonetic) whose -- you have been hearing about this morning under the claim that we can't talk about this case because it's protected and all that stuff that will hurt the child. The child has already been hurt. So let's open it up and talk about this particular case, Laberti versus Laberti.

The decision was rendered on February 2nd. And after reading the extensive documentation -- and I'm talking about stacks of files larger then the one that was next to me here -- I'm talking about declarations. I'm talking about depositions. I'm talking about experts from both sides and all sides. I'm talking about talking to the mother. Talking to some of the psychologists involved, you can figure out who's telling the truth.

After reading this extension -- extensive documentation and interviewing people, et cetera, it became clear to me that Guardian Ad Litem Maureen Murphy acted with egregious and flagrant disregard for the child she was charged to protect without bias.

Instead of protecting that child, she became very close to the father and very hostile to the mother. And evidence clearly indicates that serious sexual abuse and harm to this child has been facilitated through the actions of the guardian ad litem. I feel this committee should convene some special hearings to examine and investigate the nature and extent of the corruption involved in this particular case. But it's not only this case.

You can't get to the bottom of this with a few questions to me. But I'm happy to answer any questions you have. You can't get to the bottom of it through a few questions to Ms. Ada Shaw, but she did the best that she could.

This was a two-and-a-half-year struggle. And the mother has been destroyed, and she's not the only one. There's a lot of them out there. And as soon as I started doing this story, I started getting phone calls. And you can't believe it. You can't believe it. You can't believe the story -- you can't believe that the police did not protect this child.

REP. FOX: Sir -- thank you.

KEITH HARMON SNOW: So to conclude, there are reasons it was a difficult case. The mother has been accused of all kinds of ridiculous psychological disorders just for trying to protect her child.

So why didn't they take any -- what did they do with the pictures of the anal tearing? You know, why did she take such pictures? Why is she blamed for taking such pictures? I mean, you can ask a lot of questions, but you need to do that in a hearing, not here.

So, Judge Linda Monroe, the guardian ad litem, there were other officials, the Sarno Agency that's been hired to protect. The reason the police did nothing was because when they showed up, the mother was there. She was trying to take the kid to the hospital. But she can't take the kid to the hospital because she's been restricted by the court to get medical attention for her own son. So the kid, right at this very moment, sick, but she can't take the kid to the hospital because his representatives who've been -- the -- the people -- supervisors who've been appointed by the court are participating in covering up this abuse. It goes on and on and on.

So, I'll conclude there. If you have any questions, please ask. I'm not going to force you to take me out by some police officer or anything else. I think that's it. As I say, it's easy to tell, you know, it's easy to tell who's telling the truth. And I really --

REP. FOX: Are there --

KEITH HARMON SNOW: -- beg you to undertake this mission.

REP. FOX: Are there any questions from members of the Committee?

Representative Berger.

REP. BERGER: Hi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you for your testimony.


REP. BERGER: In getting back to the investigation or alleged investigation, are you aware of any report that was issued by West Haven PD in reference to this case?


REP. BERGER: So you're not aware of a complaint that was issued to West Haven PD?

KEITH HARMON SNOW: I've read about numerous instances where the police have been involved, by one person or another. Generally, it's by the mother or by Ada Shaw or by the mother -- the step mother, I'm sorry, the grandmother.


KEITH HARMON SNOW: And the police have, in all instances, deferred to someone else and, basically, passed it off without taking any action to protect the child.

REP. BERGER: If this -- if this committee were to ask West Haven PD for a complaint number or a report that was issued in reference to a child abuse case, do you believe that we would be able to ascertain or get a copy of that report?

KEITH HARMON SNOW: My belief is irrelevant. I have no idea whether you would, whether those cases exist. But I would hope that there are files about this case, both at the West Haven Police and also in little towns like Trumbull, where the supervising agency is -- has some really interesting things going on.


KEITH HARMON SNOW: Law suits against the town, against the town police officers, for example. The same -- the very same organization that's supposed to be protecting this child, the guy was -- he illegally applied for a firearms' permit through a former police department official and then was caught, but nothing happened. So there's something go on here with -- it's not just one person. And I'm sorry if it sounds --


KEITH HARMON SNOW: -- ludicrous or what was the word you use?

REP. BERGER: Through -- through the Chair. So, your testimony that you give today is that there is a conspiracy between the West Haven PD and the court and all the officials of the court in reference to this case? Yes or no? Simple yes or no?

KEITH HARMON SNOW: It's not a simple yes or no. What is the definition of conspiracy? You've got people who are knowingly --

REP. BERGER: Well, through the Chair. Through the Chair.

KEITH HARMON SNOW: -- (inaudible) --

REP. BERGER: What is your definition --

KEITH HARMON SNOW: This is how the court works. They don't let you answer questions.

REP. BERGER: I'm asking questions --

KEITH HARMON SNOW: And I'll answer very shortly if you just give me a moment.

REP. FOX: Why don't -- why don't we do this.

Representative Berger, has your question been asked?

REP. BERGER: Thank you, Mr. -- we do have a quorum here.

REP. FOX: The next question. Sir, you'll have your time to respond, so you'll get a chance to respond.

REP. BERGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are trying not to speak over each other. We're working through the Chairman.


REP. FOX: Has your question been asked, Representative Berger?

REP. BERGER: Yes. Well, my question to the person testifying is what is their definition of a conspiracy?

KEITH HARMON SNOW: And -- well, that's a different question. But, you know, I think when the judge and the guardian ad litem and the supervising agency are making an awful lot of money -- we're talking about over $1 million in this case that the mother gave up -- that they're turning a blind eye to the abuse of the child, the psychologist. Yes, I think there's a conspiracy. I'm not one for conspiracy theories. That's my answer.

REP. BERGER: Okay. Thank you. And, again, I appreciate you taking the time to come here and have testimony. I'm just trying to work my way through this -- this understanding. Through you, Mr. Chairman.

KEITH HARMON SNOW: Can I just comment that I heard about this two years ago, and I didn't start working on it until two months ago because I refuse to believe. I thought it was just going to make me look bad. Here I am. Thank you.

REP. FOX: That concludes the list of those who have signed up to speak from the public sign-up sheet.

Is there anyone else who wishes to speak with respect to the nominees that we had before us this morning? All right.

Seeing no one, I will now close the public hearing. We will commence a Committee meeting. I would say we'll start around 15 minutes or so, around 12:20. So, thank you.