HARTFORD—State officials will be in both civil and criminal court Thursday morning dealing with two very different cases.
The first deals with the Connecticut State Police Union’s complaint against the state for laying off 56 troopers after they failed to approve a two-year wage freeze. The second dates back two years to when Michael Lawlor and Andrew McDonald were threatened as co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee by a New Jersey blogger and radio host.
According to a motion to dismiss filed in the first complaint the state will argue sovereign immunity protects it from the union‘s lawsuit.
In its brief the state argues hiring additional troopers will force the state to expend significant amounts of money. “[T]he purpose of the sovereign immunity doctrine is to protect the state from liability for private litigation that…may impose fiscal burdens upon the state,” the brief argues.
An amended compliant filed by the police union shows they will focus their argument on legislation that requires the commissioner “to appoint and maintain a minimum of 1,248 sworn state police personnel by July 1, 2001.”
As of Sept. 8 the number of sworn police personnel has been reduced to 1,064 or 184 below the minimum number of sworn personnel.
Superior Court Judge James T. Graham already denied their motion for an emergency injunction to stall the layoffs until the case is decided.
It’s possible arguments in this case will last one day before going to the judge.
However, it’s likely the trial of Hal Turner, the 49 year old New Jersey blogger who recently fired his public defender and will be representing himself, will last much longer than one day.
Turner, who was arrested by Capitol Police July 14, 2009, encouraged his audience to “take up arms” against two lawmakers for sponsoring legislation that would have changed how the Roman Catholic Church is governed.
Turner’s blog promised to release the home addresses of Lawlor, McDonald, and Thomas Jones, an employee with the Office of State Ethics, with the intent to “foment direct action against these individuals personally,” and that they “should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.”
Turner faces one count of felony inciting injury to persons and one count of misdemeanor threatening.
According to the Associated Press, Prosecutor Thomas Garcia told prospective jurors that he may call up to five witnesses: McDonald, Lawlor, Jones, Capitol Police Cpl. Timothy Boyle and David Bednarz, now a spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Lawlor and McDonald are no longer lawmakers, but both now work for the Malloy administration.
The Connecticut case was held up for months because Turner was sentenced in December to 33 months in prison by an Illinois judge. In that case Turner criticized a ruling on a handgun ban in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois.
Turner criticized the ruling online, saying, “These judges must die.”