Grievance Revisions Postponed due to Budget
Because of the budget
situation, Connecticut's state judges have voted to postpone until
October 1, 2003, revisions to attorney grievance rules.
The rules were to have taken
effect on July 1, 2003, and included creating the position of chief
disciplinary counsel and disciplinary counsel. But the positions could
not be funded at this time, given the uncertainty of the FY 03-04
"This is not unexpected,
given the current budget climate, and I said last year that the hirings
would be delayed if the money wasn't available." Chief Court
Administrator Joseph H. Pellegrino said. "But I want to stress that
these revisions are not casualties -- they are scheduled to take effect
on October 1st."
State judges approved the
changes to the grievance process during their annual meeting in 2002.
Among the revisions was the creation of a disciplinary counsel, who will
investigate and pursue all cases before the Statewide Grievance
Committee in which probable cause of misconduct is found.
The disciplinary counsel
will work within the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, and, in
addition to the above duties, will initiate presentment proceedings and
assume other prosecutorial functions, including pursuing applications
for the interim suspension, reciprocal discipline and placement on
inactive status of attorneys. The Office of Statewide Bar Counsel will
retain its administrative duties.
Several other changes are
included in the revisions, including:
Expanding the role of
counsel to grievance panels, so that counsel can help complainants
understand the grievance process and the reasons for a dismissal of
their complaint. But grievance counsel would not provide legal
advice to complainants or prosecute the complaint. (Under the
current rules, judges appoint attorneys to serve on a part-time
basis as grievance counsel to the grievance panels.)
Upon a vote of a
majority of its members, a grievance panel may require disciplinary
counsel to pursue a matter before it on the issue of whether there
is probable cause to believe that the lawyer is guilty of
Discipline is expanded
to include not only conviction of a felony, but also any larceny or
any crime for which a lawyer is sentenced to a term of incarceration
or for which a suspended sentence is imposed.
All of the new rules will
apply to grievances filed on or after October 1, 2003.
The judges' vote to postpone
the revisions to the grievance process occurred at a special judges'
meeting on May 14, 2003.
For further information,
contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, Manager of Communications, at