Four of Six Known Applicants for Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Complete Smart Justice Campaign Survey

Responses “show glimmers of hope and room for improvement,” says ACLU of Connecticut Smart Justice campaign

January 14, 2020 12:15 pm

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HARTFORD – The ACLU of Connecticut Smart Justice campaign today released the results of a questionnaire of applicants seeking to become Connecticut’s next Chief State’s Attorney.

The 17-question survey asked applicants for their “yes” or “no” positions, with room for explanation, on policies regarding decarceration, racial justice, and criminal legal reform, including police accountability proposals. Five of the six known Chief State’s Attorney applicants responded to Smart Justice’s request. Four – Richard Colangelo, Kevin Lawlor, Erik Lohr, and Maureen Platt – completed the survey. Joseph Harry declined to complete the survey, and Michael Gailor has not responded to Smart Justice’s request.

“We thank the applicants who completed Smart Justice’s survey, because providing on-the-record answers to members of the public is a basic requirement of public leadership,” said Claudine Fox, campaign manager for the ACLU of Connecticut. “The ACLU of Connecticut, including the Smart Justice campaign, does not endorse or oppose applicants for the Chief State’s Attorney position, and we are not doing so now. All four of the completed surveys show glimmers of hope and room for improvement in applicants’ positions on decarceration and racial justice. We are ready to hold the next Chief State’s Attorney, whoever that may be, accountable for supporting the decarceration policies outlined in this survey, and more. Our state will be safer, stronger, and fairer when everyone, including the Chief State’s Attorney, seizes their role in ending mass incarceration.”

According to applicants’ survey responses:

  • All four respondents support legislation to require standard policies and procedures for all 13 State’s Attorney’s offices
  • All four respondents committed to following Connecticut’s prosecutor transparency law (Public Act 19-59) and to implementing a digital system to manage cases
  • All four respondents committed to increasing police accountability by 1) assigning prosecutors to ensure every criminal charge is supported by probable cause before the charge is filed with the court and 2) ensuring cases are dismissed when there is not enough evidence
  • All four respondents support legislation requiring prosecutors to disclose all evidence in criminal cases to the defense no later than 30 days before trial

Smart Justice released the survey on the ACLU of Connecticut’s website with a call for all applicants for Chief State’s Attorney to email their responses to the campaign by December 31. The campaign noted that all survey responses would be published on the ACLU of Connecticut’s website in 2020. Smart Justice directly emailed its survey to the six people whom the Hartford Courant identified as applicants for the position: Colangelo, Gailor, Harry, Lawlor, Lohr, and Platt.

For Richard Colangelo’s complete survey response:

For Kevin Lawlor’s complete survey response:

For Erik Lohr’s complete survey response:

For Maureen Platt’s complete survey response:

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The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to challenge racism in the criminal legal system.