HARTFORD, CT — In a last ditch effort to sway public opinion, some members of the Black and Latino Caucus expressed concerns Monday regarding the re-confirmation of Judge Jane B. Emons of Woodbridge.
As with many family court judges who seek re-confirmation, Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, strongly objected to Emons, a Superior Court judge for eight years.
Gonzalez said that 29 complaints have been filed with the Judicial Review Council against Emons, however, all the cases have been dismissed.
“This is the highest number of complaints given my 18 years in the Judiciary Committee and is the highest number of complaints I have ever seen or heard in my entire 22 years here at the House,” Gonzalez added. “It is a poor choice to let Judge Emons be reappointed.”
Emons explained to Sen. Ed Gomes, D-Bridgeport, during the Judiciary Committee public hearing in February that all complaints were dismissed because there was no evidence of unethical conduct.
Emons said, “One gentleman alone filed nine of those complaints in the same case. In another case, two people filed a grievance in the same case. In another case, one person filed two grievances within I think about six months of each other.”
Paul Greenan, an attorney at the Greenan Law Firm LLC, criticized Emons for her legal underpinnings and her understanding of family law.
“Many of my colleagues are afraid to speak publicly,” Greenan said. “They fear, I suppose, retribution if Judge Jane Emons is reappointed and they must bring their clients before her again.”
Greenan dispelled the notion that individuals like him seeking to improve the family court system are “disgruntled, crazy litigants.” He said it’s a label commonly applied to him and others who seek to challenge the status quo.
Greenan said that Emons pattern of conduct includes bullying, suppression of evidence, ignoring the rules of procedure, off the record hearings, and decisions rendered with little or no basis in factual or legal reality among others.
“All the conduct has resulted in her being the most appealed and most overturned family judges sitting on the bench today,” said Greenan.
House leadership expects there to be a vote, but it is unclear if it will happen Tuesday.
Emons was first nominated by former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell in 2010. Malloy re-nominated Emons this year. Her eight year term expires on May 5.
Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said the governor continues to support Emons confirmation.
“The legislative process is designed to allow all voices to be heard regarding the appointment or reappointment of a specific nominee,” Donnelly said. “We appreciate all those who participate and lend their voice. With respect to this particular judge, we agree with the majority of the Judiciary Committee who voted her reappointment out of committee and the Judicial Selection Commission, which deemed her qualified, and we believe that she should be confirmed.”
Gayle Carr, an attorney with Cohen and Thomas, submitted testimony in support of Emons’ confirmation.
“I have found New Haven to be the most difficult venue for the bench,” Carr said. “In New Haven Court, pro se litigants regularly show little or no respect for the individual wearing the robe. Litigants have responded to the judiciary with contempt, profanity and obscene gestures.”
Frederic Siegal, an attorney with Seigel, Reilly, & Kaufman in Stamford, said he’s aware of the personal attacks that have been made against Emons.
“These attacks are horrific on many levels and hurt the judiciary as a whole,” Siegel wrote in his testimony.
A billboard on I-91 asked motorists to call their lawmakers and tell them to vote against Emons, who has been available for re-confirmation since February.
The Judiciary Committee voted 30-3 in favor of re-confirming Emons to the bench.