Connecticut court orders investigation into Judge Alice Bruno


Alice Bruno, Justice of the Connecticut Superior Court

Connecticut’s highest court on Tuesday issued an order opening an official investigation into a judge who had not served as a judge for two years but still received a salary of more than $400,000.

Alice Bruno was Approved as a Connecticut Superior Court Justice in February 2016. But after serving three and a half years, she stopped showing up for work and last took the bench in November 2019, according to court records.

Since then, Judge Bruno has continued to collect her full salary but has consistently refused to come to work, court filings say. Bruno cited a “debilitating medical condition” for her absence but declined to elaborate. In various documents presented to the court in her defense, Bruno said her bosses were hostile to her and her application for placement, and that their hostility aggravated her already serious health condition.

Bruno’s medical records remain sealed for an command by the court, but a newly appointed investigator will soon have access to these and other records.

After Bruno was absent from the bench for two years, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered Bruno to appear in person and answer why she should not be removed or suspended. The unprecedented proceeding aimed to determine whether Bruno’s conduct violated Connecticut’s code of conduct.

Even in response to the Supreme Court order, Bruno tried her best to stay away from the courthouse. On April 4, 2022, the day before a scheduled hearing on the matter, Bruno’s attorney filed a motion Apology request for Bruno’s personal appearance. Through a lawyer, Bruno argued that she “again required emergency medical treatment arising out of the circumstances of her nearly two-year-long housing request.”

The court denied Bruno’s request to stay away from the hearing, however, allowed Bruno’s attorney to assist his client in answering questions at the trial.

During the Listenjustice Andrew J McDonald made the following specific request to Bruno’s lawyer, Jacques Parenteau: “You have pointed out that Judge Bruno has not rendered any services on behalf of the people of Connecticut in exchange for the $400,000 she received for the last more than two years. Is that correct?” Parenteau responded that the payment received from his client was equivalent to placement for her medical needs.

When Bruno spoke in court, she said called that her superiors’ suggestion that she apply for “disability retirement” was “a disheartening and devastating experience”. Bruno continued and said:

“And the unfortunate thing is that I ended up with all the evidence of someone who couldn’t perform my function the way it was best performed. Thank you for your courtesy and for giving me the opportunity to speak and speak, and there is nothing I want more than to serve the people of Connecticut fairly and appropriately.”

The district court issued that Verdict Tuesday. Following this verdict, Bruno must now cooperate with the investigation or risk further disciplinary action. According to the tripartite order of the court:

The purpose of the investigation is, in particular, to obtain relevant information in order to determine whether Judge Bruno’s conduct in relation to her performance or non-performance of judicial duties since her appointment as
Superior Court Judge in 2015 violates, among other things, Rule 1.2 (enhancing trust in the judiciary); 2.1 (priority of the tasks of the judicial office); and 2.5 (Competence, Diligence and Cooperation) of the Code of Conduct for Judges. The investigation is confidential.

The court appointed Connecticut’s assistant district attorney and inspector general Robert Devlin conduct the investigation, and directed Bruno to “fully and promptly cooperate with Devlin’s investigative demands.” If Devlin deems it necessary, Bruno will also have to undergo one or more medical exams. Devlin will also have access to Bruno’s medical records, although he is expected to keep those records confidential.

Judge Bruno’s attorney did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.

[screengrab via Connecticut Network]

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James Brien

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