Connecticut Judicial Branch American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters Law Day 2014
Litchfield County Bar Association Honors Bantam Office Clerk Dritan
Mersini With its Liberty Bell Award
intimidate and frustrate those who come there either for business or because
they have broken the law. Lawyers and litigants alike are faced with
stressful situations. When that happens in GA-18 in Bantam, Dritan Mersini
is often summoned.
Mersini, an office clerk at the Bantam Courthouse, was
the unanimous choice of the Litchfield County Bar Association to receive its
Law Day Liberty Bell Award on Thursday, May 1st.
But, according to
Dwyer, folks seek out Mersini more because of his "…ability to handle
difficult situations with grace and respect.
"It is not only that he gets
the job done even under demanding circumstances. It’s the way he interacts
with everyone that sets Dritan apart," Attorney Dwyer continued. "It is not
uncommon to see a very upset, very distraught and very disgruntled person
approach the Clerk’s office. Dritan has a remarkable ability to calm people
down and get them the answers they need so that by the time they walk away,
they are no longer upset, they are no longer distraught and they are no
longer disgruntled. In fact, they are extremely pleased because they walk
away having been treated fairly and with respect."
Mersini was born in
Struga, Macedonia and immigrated with his parents to the United States when
he was two-years-old. He earned his United States citizenship and a B.A. in
Criminal Justice from Central Connecticut State University before coming to
work at the Bantam GA in 2009.
"This year’s Law Day theme—American
Democracy & the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters—focuses on every
American’s right to vote as the foundation of our representative democracy,"
Dwyer said. "It is very fitting that the Liberty Bell Award be given in this
particular year to someone who earned the right to participate in our
democracy by becoming a citizen and fulfilling his parents’ dreams of
becoming an educated person who works extremely hard and always treats
others with respect, compassion and integrity."
Upon receiving the award
Mersini said of his co-workers, "You are all magnificent in many ways. We
are all one and we make the best out of every situation."
Attorney Ruth Nadeau Dwyer opened the Law Day ceremonies, following the
reading of a Law Day proclamation by Judge James P. Ginocchio, by echoing
the Law Day theme: "This theme gives us an opportunity to focus on the
importance of the
to vote as the foundation of our representative democracy.
The legitimacy of
the rule of law is reinforced and cemented when citizens are able to vote
and participate in free elections….When an eligible voter is deprived of the
opportunity to cast a ballot, the harm is not only to that voter, but also
to our government, which becomes that much less representative of the
people. In a nation governed by democratic principles, every vote is vital."
Judge Pickard, Presiding Judge of the
Litchfield Judicial District, offered the Law Day keynote address, and gave an historical perspective on voting, both in the United
States and Connecticut.
"This brief tour of suffrage leaves me with one
undeniable impression," he said in closing. "Our country began with the
belief that voting should be left to men who came from landed class, who
would have the wisdom to decide political matters for the majority of
citizens who could not vote."
"Through a process that has lasted over 200 years, our convictions about voting are quite different," he continued. "We
now believe that we have the right to vote simply by virtue of the fact that
we are United States citizens. There are no other tests that we must pass."
The Litchfield County Bar Association also honored Judge Charles D. Gill and
attorneys Thomas Wall, Jr. and Charles Brower, who are each marking their
50th year in the legal profession. Judge Gill is now a Judge Trial Referee.
Meghan McCoy of New Hartford, a 2012 graduate of Stonehill College, was
awarded the LCBA Scholarship Award. She is attending the Roger Williams
University School of Law.