When I began to deal with the lying, cheating, and scumbag behavior of Connecticut Family Court judges and attorneys, a lot of people told me I should go to the Attorney General's office and complain. So I ended up with the impression that the Attorney General's office was there to defend my interests.
Eventually, I ended up going to federal court to sue the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch in connection to its ADA violations in my case. Imagine my chagrin to find that the Attorney General's office had taken on the task of defending the Branch against me. There I was a single individual standing up against the approximately 300 strong army of attorneys and paralegals that make up the Office of the Attorney General here in the State of Connecticut.
Talk about David and Goliath--although, in my case I guess it would be Davida and Goliath!
Not long after I filed my case against the Connecticut Judicial Branch, Ms. Susan Skipp filed her federal case against the CT Judicial Branch and so did Mr. Joey Watley and Karin Hasemann. Each one of them found that their cases were opposed by the Office of the Attorney General. Also, recently, Mr. Adam McNiece filed an ADA case in State Court objecting to the fact that the CT Judicial Branch refused to honor his ADA request for the reasonable modification of audiorecordings. Who was opposing him? You guessed it! The Connecticut Office of the Attorney General and its phalanx of attorneys, paralegals, and associated administrative assistants.
How is this happening?
Basically, in the State of Connecticut, the Office of the Attorney General is directed to protect all the officials of our State Government as well as agencies of that State Government. Thus, if you look at Conn. General Statute Section 3-125 which describes the duties of the Attorney General's Office for the State of Connecticut, the duty of this office is to "appear for the state, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary, the treasurer and the comptroller, and all heads of departments and state boards, commissioners, agents, inspectors, committees, auditors, chemists, directors, harbor masters, and institutions and for the State Librarian in all suits and other civil proceedings...in which the state is a party or is interested, or in which the official acts and doings of said officers are called in question, and for all members of the state House of Representatives and the state Senate in all suits and other civil proceedings brought against them involving their official acts and doings in the discharge of their duties as legislators, in any court or other tribunal, as the duties of his office require; and all such suits shall be conducted by him or under his direction."
Not only is the Attorney General's office supposed to defend State Government and all its agents and agencies, it is also directed to provide legal opinions to all of these entities free of charge. This means that any time the director of a State Agency wants to proceed with a particular policy and is concerned that a Connecticut citizen might sue, that director can get full legal guidance on how to evade accountability.
If you are interested in seeing how that is done, just go onto the Attorney General's website and review all of the opinions listed. These are detailed, well thought out legal positions provided freely to heads of State Agencies, etc. Of course, no private citizen has anything like the access to this kind of sophisticated legal assistance. For instance, if I wanted to get advice on Federal ADA Law, I could call the New England ADA Technical Center for advice, but I would be lucky if the person answering the phone even has a college degree!
Since the Office of the Attorney General is mandated to defend all manner of State Government, this means that when any one of us challenges the Governor, any heads of agencies, or the agencies themselves, they will all have the extensive resources of the Attorney General's Office available to fight back against us. That is why I find myself, as do many other individual litigants who are fighting for their Constitutional or Federal ADA rights, fighting against the consolidated might and power of the State through the Attorney General's Office.
Most of us would expect our State Government, or the Attorney General's Office to be fighting for our Civil Rights. It is a shock to find out that this is not happening. But the Attorney General's Office uses deceitful language to hide that this is what they are doing. That is why so many people who live in Connecticut don't know about it.
For instance, if you look at the website for the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut under the department it calls "Child Protection" the section indicates that the Attorney General has 40 attorneys who essentially represent the Department of Children and Families in thousands of cases involving children in juvenile court, Appellate and Supreme Court.
What that really means is that free of charge to the Department of Children and Families (of course, we the taxpayers are actually funding all of this) attorneys attack the parents of children who have come to the attention of that Department and try to take custody from them. These are parents who have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to hire private attorneys in order to retain custody of their own children. I am sure that among these cases are ones of serious abuse and neglect, but what about the many, many others where what you have are parents who can't afford to defend themselves in the face of an opponent with almost unlimited resources.
Does that seem fair to you?
However, this is not the only example of the kind of injustice that the Attorney General's Office is perpetrating against its citizens, but attempts to hide. Take a look at the section the Attorney General's Office calls "Civil Rights/Torts". You might think that this department is in place to defend your civil rights as a citizen of the State of Connecticut. But if that is what you thought, you would be entirely wrong!
That Department is in place to defend "state agencies, employees and officials in torts and civil rights cases" brought against them in state and federal court. In other words, when State government violates your civil rights as a citizen of the State of Connecticut, what the Attorney General's Office does is prevent them from being held accountable for doing so.
Moving down further on the list, there is the Employment Rights Department. You'd think that this department would be in place to defend your employment rights as a citizen of the State of Connecticut. But no, that isn't it at all. This Department is currently defending--that means opposing citizens, taxpaying citizens such as you and me--in 160 employment cases in both state and federal court. So when state agencies and state officials violate your employment rights, the Office of the Attorney General will fight to the death to defend their right to do so.
Not only is the Office of the Attorney General fighting against Connecticut citizens in the employment arena, it is also defending the right of state agencies and state officials to discriminate against Connecticut citizens in another 160 cases before the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. These cases have to do with discrimination against Connecticut citizens based upon race, color, sex, religion, disability or age. So in essence, the Office of the Attorney General is defending the right of the State of Connecticut to discriminate against its own citizens as it pleases.
So essentially, the Office of the Attorney General is out to deny Connecticut Citizens their right to parent, their right to be employed and their right to exercise their civil rights here in the State of Connecticut.
Where this became particularly interesting was in the federal lawsuit conducted by the Office of Protection and Advocacy against the State of Connecticut where the State of Connecticut was represented by the Office of the Attorney General. This meant that one State Agency fighting for the rights of disabled citizens of the State of Connecticut fought against the Office of the Attorney General, which was defending the State of Connecticut, for eight years, both sides funded by the Connecticut taxpayer, before the Office of the Attorney General conceded that the Office of Protection and Advocacy was right. Imagine the waste of thousands and thousands of dollars involved in defense of that litigation waged by the Office of the Attorney General to illegally deny disabled citizens of the State of Connecticut their civil rights under Federal ADA law.
How absurd is it when State Government maintains an army of attorneys to fight against the wellbeing of its own citizens and to evade responsibility when it has committed wrongdoing against those citizens?
The absurdity of this situation is so great that early last year the United States Attorney General Eric Holder told a group of state attorney's general that they are not obligated to do so, specifically in regard to bans on same sex marriages (See The Tar Heel, 2/26/14). It's about time the federal government took a principled stand like that.
It is worth noting that it is true that there are other States that act similarly to Connecticut and run the Office of the Attorney General as a private army to protect state government interests against its citizens. States such as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Carolina, and Georgia come to mind.
However, many other states mandate that their Offices of the Attorney General protect the interests of citizens. For instance, take a look at the Civil Rights Division of the Office of the Attorney General in Massachusetts. Under the description of its responsibilities it states, "The Attorney General's Civil Rights Division enforces and safeguards Constitutional and statutory civil rights and liberties on behalf of Massachusetts residents and visitors. The Division works to end discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age and disability, and to ensure equal and meaningful opportunity to each Massachusetts resident to participate in a civil society in areas such as education, housing, employment, financial services, healthcare, transportation, voting and marriage. In addition, the division works to protect individual rights of free speech and privacy."
You won't find this mandate anywhere in the description of what the Office of the Attorney General in the State of Connecticut is required to do.
How about the State of New York? According to their website, "The Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office works to promote equal justice under law and seeks to enforce the civil rights of all New Yorkers."
Again, you won't find this mandate anywhere on the website for the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut.
How about Delaware? The Delaware Office of the Attorney General states that one of its main areas of responsibility are the "enforcement of Delaware laws protecting the individual rights and liberties of Delawareans, including but not limited to rights secured by the Delaware and United States constitutions, Delaware's public accommodations laws, housing discrimination laws, employment discrimination laws, and laws protecting the educational rights of children and the rights of Delawareans with disabilities."
Again, we don't have this in Connecticut.
And I could continue--New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island, Florida, Illinois, all states with Attorney General's Offices that are there to protect the rights of citizens. These are states with actual democracies.
In contrast, citizens of the State of Connecticut who attempt to fight for their legal rights in the State of Connecticut have to face down an entire army of attorneys funded and maintained by the State in order to obtain them. So what's the difference between living in the State of Connecticut and living in a police state? Not much to be honest.