HARTFORD, CT — The commission in charge of appointing the state’s next top law enforcement officer will hold a public forum later this month to figure out what qualities they want to see in the next Chief State’s Attorney.
Longtime Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, known for his direct and affable style, is retiring on Nov. 1. Kane is the longest serving Chief State’s Attorney since the position was established.
The state Criminal Justice Commission chaired by Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Andrew J. McDonald will hold a public hearing on Oct. 11 to get feedback into the appointment process for Kane’s successor.
“The Commission wants to hear from parties and organizations that have specific interests with regard to the criminal justice system, and from the general public as well, as to what they think we should be looking for in our next Chief State’s Attorney,” McDonald said in a statement. “We want to know what has worked well in the past, and what hasn’t. More importantly we want to listen to how stakeholders would like to see the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney develop in the years to come under the next Chief State’s Attorney.”
The commission, made up of a judge and several attorneys, is responsible for the appointment of all state prosecutors. The group has in the past allowed citizens to comment on appointments during their meetings. But this is the first time there will be a specific public forum.
The public and stakeholders will also be allowed to provide written testimony as part of the forum which will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
The commission is likely to hear from advocates for criminal justice reform and police.
In the past year Kane helped broker a deal with legislators to make the investigations into police deadly use of force incidents more transparent by requiring the release of dash and body camera footage within 96 hours of an incident that could involve officer discipline. The drive to change law came after public protests following the shooting of a woman by a Hamden and a Yale University officer in New Haven and the fatal shooting of a man by a Wethersfield officer during a one-week span in April.
Kane also was instrumental in the passage of a law that will require prosecutors to provide information on arrest demographics annually to legislators and the public.
The Chief State’s Attorney oversees legislative initiatives and the administrative of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice which employs the state’s prosecutors, including the 13 state’s attorney’s overseeing 13 judicial districts, and investigators for specialized units within the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.
“This is the single-most important appointment the Criminal Justice Commission makes and we certainly want to proceed with transparency and input from the public and those who work in or with the criminal justice system in various capacities,” McDonald said.