Thursday, June 22, 2006

Judiciary Committee Subpoenas Former Chief Justice Sullivan

The General Assembly's judiciary committee is holding hearings on the scandal surrounding the nomination of Peter Zarella for chief justice. Former Chief Justice William "Tocco" Sullivan, who is very much at the heart of the matter, has refused to voluntarily appear, forcing the committee's leaders to issue a subpoena.
Judiciary Committee co-chairmen Sen. Andrew McDonald and Rep. Michael Lawlor, said they worked behind the scenes for weeks through intermediaries to convince Sullivan to testify voluntarily, before resorting to their extraordinary power to subpoena such a high-ranking judge.

"Speaking as an attorney, this is a very sad decision we had to make," McDonald said today. "As a legislator, it was an absolutely required decision…Justice Sullivan is at the center of this storm and we cannot dispel the storm without having an opportunity to question him about it." (AP)

Justice Sullivan's refusal apparently stems from the belief that he cannot be compelled to appear by the legislature. But Sullivan's court decided in 2004 that John Rowland was not exempt from a legislative subpoena (Sullivan dissented).

It will be interesting to see what he'll say, if he shows up.


"Lawmakers Subpoena Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice." Associated Press 22 June 2006.


Chris MC said...

Is this potentially a constitutional crisis? If Sullivan refuses to be taken into custody, what would happen? Given that he doesn't recognize the Legislature's authority to subpeona him, this doesn't seem like a far-fetched scenario.

Or say he is taken into custody, but refuses to be sworn in before the committee? What then? Contempt?

Who levies the fine and jail time, and what is the enforcement mechanism? What recourse would Mr. Sullivan have?

Anonymous said...

Sullivan was one of two CT Supremes to vote that Johnny didn't need to honor a subpoena to appear before the House impeachment committee; this is right in line with that; he should go too...

BrassMonkey said...

Yes Rowland's corrupt legecy lives on