Camillo: Why I’m Not Backing McDonald for Chief Justice of CT Supreme Court

Letter to the editor submitted by Fred Camillo, March 13, 2018

I am writing this because several people took the time to reach out to me regarding their  support of, or opposition to, Justice Andrew McDonald’s nomination to be the next Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Andrew received an unfavorable report from the Judiciary Committee, but received passage from the House of Representatives, 75-74. His nomination now goes to the State Senate.

While I supported him on his nomination to the bench five years ago, consider him a friend, reached out to him to offer support a few weeks back, and told the several people who wrote to me that I intended to vote for him again, the hearing last week brought many more issues to light that I had not been exposed to previously. I had to rethink my position, but still went to the Capitol yesterday with the intention of voting for him despite concern on many levels.

During the debate, I reached out to him and we chatted about one particular  issue I was struggling with.

I appreciated his candid reply, but it also confirmed my belief that many people were not told the truth during the Death Penalty vote back when Andrew was in the legislature and was a leading advocate of repeal. It was a vote that I believe, to this day, was a mistake.

I was willing to overlook a lot of issues, positions, allegations (some, I believe, were baseless), and ignore highly inappropriate lobbying by a major law firm on his behalf that does business before the state’s appellate courts (though he had nothing to do with that, in my honest opinion).

Unfortunately, several legislators were led to believe that those currently on Death Row, such as the Cheshire murderers, would not be taken off, and that only new convictions would be spared this sentence. That promise was later broken following the narrow repeal of the death penalty. It’s a vote that I believe many now regret, and in good conscience, I could not overlook that on Monday.