Hartford Superior Court (CTNewsJunkie File Photo)

Gov. Ned Lamont nominated Robert Clark, his legal counsel, to serve as a judge of the Appellate Court Wednesday. Lamont also made 15 nominations to fill vacancies in the Superior Court benches. 

Clark served briefly as a Superior Court judge before leaving to work as Lamont’s general counsel two years ago. Prior to being nominated by former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Clark worked in the Office of the Connecticut Attorney General for 14 years. Most recently he was special counsel to former Attorney General George Jepsen. 

In a Wednesday press release, Lamont said Clark had helped him navigate unprecedented legal issues raised by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Bob has served as my General Counsel during an historic and unprecedented time for our state, including most significantly during the current pandemic,” Lamont said. “He has been instrumental in working through many of the complex legal questions faced by my office during that time, and he has done it with skill, wisdom, and unwavering commitment.”

If confirmed by the legislature, Clark will fill a vacancy on the Appellate Court bench left by Judge Douglas S. Lavine, who in December reached the state’s mandatory retirement age of 70.

In addition to the Appellate Court nomination, the governor named 15 lawyers to begin to fill 50 vacancies on the state’s Superior Court benches. The group represents Lamont’s first class of Superior Court judges since taking office and, in a press release, he said it was one of the most diverse classes in state history. 

“This class of women and men bring with them a diverse background of experience and qualifications that meet the high standards that the residents of Connecticut deserve to have serving in leadership positions in the court system,” Lamont said.

Three of the lawyers nominated by the governor — Kimberly Massicotte of Burlington,  Carletha Texidor of Southington, and Jessica Torres Shlatz of West Hartford — currently work in state Attorney General William Tong’s office. Tong issued a statement congratulating them Wednesday. 

“They will be sorely missed, and their institutional knowledge will be hard to replace. While we never want to see our exceptional assistant attorneys general move on, their service as Connecticut Superior Court judges will be a tremendous benefit to our state and our legal system. Congratulations to Kim, Carletha, and Jessica on this well-deserved honor,” Tong said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney John H. Durham issued a press release congratulating three federal prosecutors nominated by Lamont: Michael Gustafson of West Hartford, Ndidi Moses of Seymour, and H. Gordon Hall of New Haven.

“These nominations speak to the hard work, superior legal skills and professionalism that these colleagues have displayed over their entire legal careers, and especially during their time as Assistant United States Attorneys.  While the departures of Mike, Gordy and Ndidi will create a big hole in our office’s operations, and their wisdom and guidance will be sorely missed, their elevation to the bench greatly benefits the people of Connecticut and the Rule of Law,” Durham said. 

Lamont also nominated a state prosecutor, Chris Pelosi of Berlin, a public defender, Angelica Papastavros of Killingworth, and a family support magistrate for the Judicial Branch, Gladys Idelis Nieves of New Haven.

In addition to public sector lawyers, the governor nominated Linda Allard of West Hartford, a lawyer with Greater Hartford Legal Aid, John Cirello of New Haven, a founding partner at Cirello & Vessicchio, William Clark of New Haven, chief operating officer of the Waterbury public school system, Maximino Medina, Jr. of Bridgeport, a partner at Zeldes, Needle & Cooper, PC, Edward O’Hanlan of Old Lyme, a partner at Robinson & Cole, LLP, Carla Nascimento Zahner of West Hartford, a partner at Louden, Katz and McGrath, LLC.