HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Friday announced that he is nominating the Honorable Eliot D. Prescott of West Hartford and the Honorable Raheem L. Mullins of Cromwell to serve as judges of the Connecticut Appellate Court. In addition, the Governor is nominating 16 attorneys to become judges of the Superior Court, two to serve as Family Support Magistrates, and one to serve as a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.
“In selecting judicial nominees and reviewing the pool of candidates, I look to choose individuals with the experience, temperament and skills to be thoughtful, reasoned and fair jurists,” Governor Malloy said. “It is a careful, meticulous process because we want to ensure that the men and women who sit on our bench will serve our state with distinction, fairness, competence, ethics, and above all, respect for the people of Connecticut. I am pleased to nominate these two outstanding judges for elevation to the appellate bench, and proud to nominate these 16 outstanding attorneys for appointment to the Superior Court.”
Judge Prescott has served on the Superior Court since May 2004. While a judge, he has served on the Advisory Committee on the Appellate Rules, and the Rules Committee for the Superior Court. Prior to his appointment, he was head of the Special Litigation Department within the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office. He also has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law since 1998.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a law degree with high honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is the co-author of two legal treatises, including a work on Connecticut appellate practice and procedure.
Judge Prescott will fill the vacancy on the Appellate Court left by the Honorable Richard A. Robinson, whom Governor Malloy appointed late last year to the Supreme Court.
“I want to express my deep and sincere gratitude for the confidence Governor Malloy has placed in me by nominating me to be a judge of the Appellate Court,” Judge Prescott said. “I look forward, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed by the General Assembly, to continuing my judicial service in a new and challenging way.”
Judge Mullins has served on the Superior Court since February 2012. Prior to that, he was an Assistant State’s Attorney in the appellate division of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office. He formerly was an Assistant Attorney General with the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Clark University and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
He will fill the vacancy on the Appellate Court that is being left by the Honorable Stuart D. Bear, who will reach the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age on May 6.
“I want to thank Governor Malloy for nominating me to serve the people of this state as an Appellate Court Judge,” Judge Mullins said. “Having argued many cases in the Appellate Court as a lawyer, I have the utmost respect for the judges on the court. If I am confirmed by the legislature, it will be an honor to join them in ensuring fairness and justice in our legal system. I am truly humbled by this nomination.”
The 16 Superior Court nominations Governor Malloy is making will fill approximately 26 vacancies that currently exist on that court, which includes the ones being created today by the elevation of Judge Mullins and Judge Prescott, with additional vacancies on the court anticipated later this year. Governor Malloy said that he does not intend on filling the remaining vacancies at this time.
Superior Court nominees
Anthony V. Avallone of New Haven: Avallone is a self-employed attorney with offices in New Haven and Milford. Since 1993, he has been the General Counsel to Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut, Inc. He served as a State Senator in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1983 to 1993, representing the City of New Haven. In that capacity, he served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, chairman of the Commerce and Exportation Committee, and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut, and his J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law.
“It is a privilege and honor to be nominated by Governor Malloy to be a judge of the Superior Court,” Avallone said. “I look forward to the administration of justice in a fair and compassionate manner.”
Timothy D. Bates of Noank: Bates is a partner of Robinson and Cole, LLP, practicing in its New London office. Previously, he served with several law firms in New London County. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.
“I am honored to be nominated by Governor Malloy,” Bates said. “While practicing law, I have always tried to be involved in the community, and sitting on the Superior Court will provide a unique opportunity to combine my legal and community service interests.”
Leo V. Diana of Manchester: Diana is the mayor of the Town of Manchester, a position that he has held since 2011. He is also a partner with Diana, Conti & Tunila, LLP in Manchester. He serves as Chairman of the Jeffers Trust and as the Secretary of the Manchester Road Race. He received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut and his J.D. from Western New England University School of Law.
“After practicing law for 26 years in the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut, I realize the vitally important role that judges play in the administration of justice,” Diana said. “I am privileged and honored by this appointment.”
Steven D. Ecker of New Haven: Ecker is a partner with Cowdery, Ecker & Murphy, LLC in Hartford, where he practices in the areas of appellate litigation, personal injury litigation, professional discipline and liability law, and commercial litigation. Prior to entering private practice, Ecker was a law clerk for the Honorable Jon O. Newman. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
“I am deeply honored by this nomination and would like to thank Governor Malloy for providing me with this opportunity to serve,” Ecker said. “If confirmed, I will do my very best to justify the trust reposed in me. I would also like to thank my colleagues at Cowdery, Ecker & Murphy for teaching me so much over the past twenty years about both professionalism and friendship.”
Tammy D. Geathers of Bloomfield: Geathers is an Assistant Attorney General with the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, serving in the Employment Rights Department since 2001. Previously, she worked in the office’s Child Protection Division. Prior to her employment with the Attorney General’s Office, she served as an Assistant Public Defender with the State Of Connecticut, Office of the Public Defender in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as with the City of Atlanta Public Defender’s Office. She received her B.A. from Howard University and her J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be nominated as a judge to the Superior Court by Governor Malloy,” Geathers said. “If confirmed, I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the State of Connecticut in this capacity.”
Jane K. Grossman of Hamden: Grossman is currently serving a three-year term as a Family Support Magistrate with the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, following her appointment by Governor Malloy in 2011. Previously, she was a staff attorney with New Haven Legal Assistance, representing low-income individuals in primarily family, criminal and housing matters. She received her B.A. from Quinnipiac University and her J.D. from Quinnipiac University School of Law.
“I am grateful to Governor Malloy for this opportunity and look forward to serving the people of Connecticut in this new capacity,” Grossman said.
Irene Prosky Jacobs of West Haven: Jacobs is a partner with Jacobs & Jacobs in New Haven, where she practices civil litigation, representing plaintiffs for injuries sustained as a result of negligence by professionals, landowners, motor vehicle operators, animal owners, and school personnel. Before becoming an attorney, she worked as a teacher at the middle school and high school levels in New Haven, Connecticut, and St. Louis, Missouri. She received her B.A. from SUNY Buffalo, her M.A. from Wesleyan University, and her J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.
“I am honored to be nominated by Governor Malloy to be a judge of the Superior Court,” Jacobs said. “I am looking forward to serving the State of Connecticut.”
Ingrid L. Moll of West Hartford: Moll is a trial and appellate attorney with Motley Rice, focusing her practice on complex commercial litigation and consumer protection. Previously, she was an associate attorney at Cummings & Lockwood and McCarter & English. She also served as a law clerk to Justice David M. Borden of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1999 to 2001. Ingrid is a member of the Client Security Fund Committee and a director of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, as well as president of the University of Connecticut Law School Alumni Association and the Oliver Ellsworth Inn of Court. She received her B.A. from Wheaton College and her J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.
“I am deeply grateful to Governor Malloy for this nomination to the Superior Court and, if confirmed, I commit to fulfill my responsibility with fairness and diligence,” Moll said.
John D. Moore of West Hartford: Moore is an Associate Group General Counsel with Travelers Special Liability Group, where he has served since 1990. Before Travelers, he practiced at Halloran and Sage. Moore also serves on the Connecticut Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics. Prior to becoming an attorney, he was a teacher at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, where he taught English and Religious Studies. He received his B.A. and M.A.L.S. from Wesleyan University, and his J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.
“I am extremely grateful to Governor Malloy for nominating me to a position on the Superior Court bench,” Moore said. “I consider the position of a judge to be one of service to the public and to the bar. If confirmed, I will strive daily to bring fairness and justice to all those who appear in court.”
Kevin J. Murphy of Berlin: Murphy serves as a Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney with the State’s Attorney’s Office in Bristol, where he has served since 2010. He previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and as an attorney for the Department of the Navy. He was also a member of the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Gang Unit. He received his B.A. from Georgetown University College of Arts and Sciences and his J.D. from Catholic University School of Law.
“It is an honor to be nominated by Governor Malloy to serve the people of Connecticut as a Superior Court Judge,” Murphy said. “I am humbled by the support of so many people from the criminal justice system, my community, friends and family.”
Robert Nastri, Jr. of Cheshire: Nastri is a partner with Tinley, Nastri, Renehan & Dost, LLP, in Waterbury. His practice includes civil trial law and general dispute resolution, including commercial litigation, employment discrimination and wrongful discharge claims, contract disputes, will contests, environmental claims, as well as the prosecution and defense of personal injury claims. Before serving as an attorney, Nastri served as a municipal police officer. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.
“I am proud and humbled that Governor Malloy has given me this opportunity to serve the people of Connecticut,” Nastri said.
Cesar A. Noble of West Hartford: Noble is president and managing partner with Noble, Spector & O’Connor, LLC in Hartford, where he has served since 1994. He also currently serves as a member of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.
“I am deeply honored by Governor Malloy’s nomination to be a judge of the Superior Court,” Noble said. “I look forward to being a part of the great public service and trust that is the administration of justice for all who come before the court.”
Rupal Shah Palanki of West Hartford: Shah Palanki is an Assistant Attorney General with the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, where she has served since 2003. Previously, she was an associate with the law firms of Bingham McCutcheon and Cohn, Birnbaum and Shea. She received her B.A. from College of the Holy Cross and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
“I am deeply honored and humbled that Governor Malloy has nominated me to serve as a Superior Court Judge,” Shah Palanki said. “I want to thank Governor Malloy for his belief in my abilities and character and his commitment to diversity in the judiciary. I also thank my family and friends for their constant support and the numerous mentors and colleagues I have been privileged to learn from and work with throughout my career. If I am confirmed, I promise to carry out this great responsibility with compassion, diligence, respect and fairness.”
Kevin S. Russo of Shelton: Russo is a Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney, a position he has held since 2007. Previously, he was an Assistant State’s Attorney. Prior to that, he served as a litigation associate with Cromody & Torrance, LLC, as a supervisor with Connecticut Legal Research, and worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also worked as a union ironworker for six years. He received his B.S. from Southern Connecticut State University and his J.D. from Western New England College School of Law.
“My appointment always will belong to this Governor, but the humility of it will always belong to me,” Russo said. “I am committed to taking the confidence entrusted to me by this administration to serve justice, and pass it along to the people of this state who remain no different than I.”
Steven Spellman of Noank: Spellman is currently Chief of Staff and Director of Government Affairs for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, where he has served since 1995. In addition to also serving in private practice, Spellman previously served in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1987 to 1992 representing the towns of Groton, Stonington, North Stonington, Ledyard, Voluntown, and Griswold in the State Senate. He received his B.A. from Union College and his J.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“I am very honored to be appointed by Governor Malloy and look forward to the confirmation process with the hope of being able to serve in this capacity,” Spellman said.
Erika M. Tindill of New Haven: Tindill currently serves as chair of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, where she was appointed in 2011 by Governor Malloy. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She received her B.A. from Bucknell University and her J.D. from Albany Law School.
“I accept the Governor’s nomination with gratitude,” Tindill said. “I take my service to the people of the State of Connecticut seriously. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”
Workers’ Compensation Commission appointee
Thomas J. Mullins of Farmington: Mullins is an attorney with the Law Offices of Thomas J. Mullins, LLC, where he has served since 2002 practicing labor and employment, personal injury, criminal defense, workers’ compensation, and family law. He received his B.A. from Pitzer College, his M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law.
“I’m very honored to be selected by Governor Malloy,” Mullins said. “I’m also gracious and grateful to my clients, friends and neighbors who have been so instrumental in supporting my practice.”
Family Support Magistrate appointees
Gladys Idelis Nieves of New Haven: Nieves is the founder and partner of the Law Office of Gladys I. Nieves in New Haven, where she has served as the sole proprietor since 2007, representing parents and children involved in child abuse and neglect proceedings, including termination of parental rights. Prior to that, she served as senior staff attorney for the Center for Children’s Advocacy in Hartford. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
“Serving as a Family Support Magistrate is an honor that I take seriously, recognizing the important role that this position has in our legal system,” Nieves said. “I truly am humbled and thank Governor Malloy for this appointment.”
Wayne R. Keeney of Greenwich: Keeney is an attorney with the Law Offices of Wayne R. Keeney, LLC in Bridgeport, where he has served as the sole practitioner since 1996 specializing in criminal law. He also currently serves as chairman of the Connecticut Judicial Review Council. He is a former New York City police officer and prosecutor for the City of San Diego. He received his B.S. from St. Francis College and his J.D. from New York Law School.
“It has been a long, fascinating trip from being a NYPD foot patrolman in the South Bronx to this incredible honor,” Keeney said. “I leave the practice of law, which I love, with reluctance but I look forward to the challenges of the bench.”