Valvo 2006: Connecticut's Constitution says very plainly that the "powers and jurisdiction of [the] courts shall be defined by law." This is the same language as in the federal Constitution. But on the federal level, it's clear what that means: Congress holds the authority to make the rules and procedures of the court.
In Connecticut, though, the courts have been slowly trying to change that perception, issuing rulings over the past three decades that, though just shy of ever saying it outright, have been aggregating power to the judicial branch that rightly belongs to the legislature. In Connecticut, the court thinks it - and only it - makes the rules. And so, apparently, does the Governor's Commission on Judicial Reform.
On March 18, 2011, the Connecticut Ethics Commission undertook investigation into Chief Family Judge Lynda Munro's alleged unlawful solicitation for "sponsorship" from members of the Connecticut Bar Association for mandated family court directed training for Guardian Ad Litem (G.A.L.) held at Quinnipiac University. Incredibly, they dismissed it on point that GAL training sessions are "Events" rather than Administrative, a legal ploy to plunge the inquiry into oblivion by creative legalese. Citizen's know the Ethnics Commission is inept since the time they cleared Gov. Rowland which led to the DOJ to prosecute.
The FOIA Commission hesitates for having jurisdiction, saying Nowacki's contentions are not Administrative as defined by Conn. Supreme Court. (29:40 & 01:05:40) The hearing officer was referring to the 2006 decision, Clerk of GA 7 v. FOIC. That decision expanded the definition of "adjudicative" records to include simple docket sheet data which would become not subject to FOIA. The hearing officer attests @ 27:35 that he needs no coaching on the law by Mr. Nowacki because he's a professional 22 years on FOIA Law. Yet...
Clerk has nothing to do with the Nowacki case because Nowacki is not asking for anything to do with an individual case and privacy issues. He's asking for information on Public Hearings. The Law Tribune writes : "Three of the seven justices in Clerk favored test based on the 1988 case of Bar Examining Commission v. FOIC. Notes: Quinn: March 3, 2008: We do believe that administrative function should be defined as including the management of the internal institutional machinery of the court system, accounting, budgeting, personnel, facilities, physical operations, scheduling, record keeping, and docketing." That statement is answer to Officer Perpetua's J. Quinn question at 45:50.
In the 1983 case of Rules Committee v. FOIC, Chief Justice Ellen Ash Peters noted that the state FOI Act applies only to the Judicial Branch "administrative records" and not to "adjudicative records" that might interfere with the courts' critical function of deciding individual cases. Peters narrowly defined "administrative" matters as the "budget, personnel, facilities and physical operations of the courts." However, that was surpassed as shown above in 2008 by J. Quinn's notes which included all that encompasses internal institutional machinery, the point being Administrative acts as acknowledged by society are quite broad.
At the very least, it can be claimed Nowacki's failed FOIA to J. Munro and others about the GAL program and rule-making procedure was discovering the following: to know about records dealing with GAL budget or sponsorship, GAL personnel and even trainees, facilities at Quinnipiac and physical operations of the courts concerning the GAL. AMC "commando programs". After all, those Public Agency programs are physical operations that accommodate the efficient operations of the court, are administrative; and Nowacki is not seeking "adjudicative records" that might interfere with deciding any individual case.
Rules Committee v. FOIC is not so narrow that it limits the breadth of which administrative functions can still be carried out despite Clerk, thus is still under FOIA juris and oversight.
The hearing officer, Mr. Perpetua, @ 1:31:30 is dead wrong to have gone to such a narrow definition when "internal machinery" is the mantra, and when Nowacki points out the Superior Court and Appellate Court, and Chief Adm. J. Quinn acknowledges their rule-making falls as an administrative act 31:15 & 60:12. -And when the Supreme Ct. NEVER limited Administrative tasks past docket and case sealing. Administrative function should be defined as including the management of the internal institutional machinery of the court system, which must include activity related to Rule-making. Why does Perpetua say different @ 1:21:15 ? Perpetua himself comes under scrutiny for then denying evidence relevance concerning Rule-making 1:15:45. Perpetua accuses Nowacki of being a mere "layman of the law" yet it is interesting to note that in the video Perpetua admits to believing the whole Family Court Administration, and their lawyer, Libbin, messed-up the very definition of Administrative duties, as incredibly this is now the Defendant-courts' claim; that the lower courts didn't know what they were doing putting posters up in buildings that any Public Hearing is fair play for FOIA procedure. The video is comedic at times, the hearing official making mockery of the system through convoluted logic that payrolls, personnel, and "documents like that" are only what the Commission is interested in, not Public Hearings. In the beginning he ask Nowacki if he has a gun after an excruciating scene for several minutes where Perpetua fumbles for Nowacki's pointed phone messages. I thought "You got to be kidding?"
Who will hear the issue? Judge Lynda B. Munro spearheaded a program aimed at influencing private law firms' hiring and employment practices. This is highly controversial behavior showing impropriety and warranting investigation of a conflict of interest, ethics, and even criminal allegations.
When a judge creates and manages, schedules,and coordinates a program like the GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) or AMC (Atty for the Minor Child) training sessions, a program under great social controversy whether or not it's actually destructive to families, promoted independently by this J. Munro, ... is that or is that not an Administrative function subject to FOIA Commission jurisdiction? Are GAL programs merely events that Judicial officials were invited to or did Judicial Committees actually direct these programs? We wait to see The FOIA Commission's response.
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