PLEASE NOTE: This blog is a bigotry free zone open to all persons, regardless of age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, or sexual orientation. Further, this blog is open to the broad variety of opinions out there and will not delete any comments based upon point of view. However, comments will be deleted if they are worded in an abusive manner and show disrespect for the intellectual process.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The next one is Molly Doe No. 1.

               (Pause in the proceedings.)

               CHIEF JUSTICE ROGERS:  Good morning.

               MS. MOLLY DOE NO. 1:  Good morning, Justices.  Thank you for allowing all of us to have this opportunity to address particular issues that we feel are most pressing.  This morning I’d like to discuss a review of the automatic appellate stay that is addressed in the Connecticut Practice Book.

               Connecticut Practice Book Rule 61-11 states that:  Except where otherwise provided by statute or other law, proceedings to enforce or carry out the judgment or order shall be automatically stayed until the time to take an appeal has expired.  If an appeal is filed, such proceedings shall be stayed until the final determination of the cause.

               And the Practice Book Rule 61-14 states:  The sole remedy of any party desiring the Court to review an order concerning a stay of execution shall be a motion for review under Section 66-6.  Execution of an order of the Court terminating a stay of execution shall be stayed for 10 days from the issuance of notice of the order and if a motion for review is filed within that period, the order shall be stayed pending decision of the motion, unless the Court having appellate jurisdiction rules otherwise.

               In practice, one family law judge in Stamford, Connecticut, is routinely ordering that if a party files an appeal of any issue, the 61-11 stay is hereby lifted prospectively.  That same family judge and at least one family -- another judge in Middletown is also continuing with proceedings where the stay had been lifted, but a motion for review is pending under 61-14.

               These judges do not believe that 61-14 applies in divorce proceedings which -- and in the Connecticut Practice Book still maintains that divorce proceedings are civil proceedings.  For an example, in a recent Stamford divorce case, a family law judge awarded an AMC a large sum of money without hearing evidence as to the financial circumstances of the parties.  The order was followed by the statement that should that party appeal, the automatic stay is hereby lifted.

               In another case, that same judge continued with proceedings where one party appealed her finding that the spouse was not in contempt for failing to produce a single, signed tax return for himself or for any of the multiple trusts of which he is a beneficiary -- of which he was an admitted beneficiary.

               The aggrieved party filed a motion for an appeal.  The judge lifted the stay.  The aggrieved party then filed a motion for review in following the Connecticut Practice Book rules.  The judge ignored the fact that the motion for review was filed and sent the case to trial. 

               Requested suggestions that -- the Practice Book Rule 61-11 should be amended to state that no judge may prospectively lift the automatic stay and Practice Book Rule 61-14 should be amended to clearly state that a motion for review suspends the lifting of a stay under 61-11 in all proceedings, including those involving divorce.  If this is already obvious, then family law judges should be trained in these Practice Book rules.

               Another issue I’d like to discuss is a litigant’s ability to listen to his or her audio tapes of her -- of proceedings.  The current procedure states that if any party or other individual challenges the accuracy of a transcript produced from an audio recording, arrangements may be made with the official court reporter for that person to listen to the audio recording and compare its contents with the transcript. 

               The official court reporter or a designee shall be present at all times that the audio recording is being played to the requesting person and such playing shall be at a time of mutual convenience to the person in the court reporter’s office.  The source of that document is the judicial branch audio access policy memo dated January 8, 2009.

               In practice, in --

               CHIEF JUSTICE ROGERS:  You can finish your sentence.

               MS. MOLLY DOE NO. 1:  Okay.  In all but one judicial district, litigants are permitted to listen to audio tapes of their proceedings.  Inexplicably, a different rule is followed in the Stamford family court.  The court reporter’s office refuses all requests to listen to audio tapes.  In order to hear the tape, the litigant must file a motion with the family law judge and hope for a favorable ruling.

               CHIEF JUSTICE ROGERS:  All right, Ms. Doe,

let’s --

               MS. MOLLY DOE NO. 1:  Okay.

               CHIEF JUSTICE ROGERS:  All right.  Thank you very much.   We’re going to take a very brief recess.

               MS. MOLLY DOE NO. 1:  Thank you. 

               (The Court stands in recess.)


No comments:

Post a Comment