State’s highest ranking judge under fire


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state’s highest ranking judge is being targeted by some state residents that blame her for what they call a totally dysfunctional Family Court system. The Governor has renominated Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Chase Rogers to a second eight-year term, but some residents are urging lawmakers to vote against her in confirmation hearings at the Capitol.

Most of the time, judges are routinely reappointed by the General Assembly every eight years. As the state’s top judge, Justice Rogers is considered the C-O of the judicial system.

“I’m a good, fit, loving parent that hasn’t seen my son in over two years due to the dysfunction of the Family Court System,” said Marisa Ringel of Fairfield. She’s one of the many Connecticut residents that are urging state lawmakers not to reappoint Chief Justice Rogers as the state’s highest ranking judge.

Grandmother Maureen Martowska says that her son was forced into bankruptcy in a custody battle over his daughter.

“Our family situation is 10 years in the Family Court system, filled with endless bills for the divorce industry,” said Martowska.

They have even pooled their money to purchase billboards on the interstates around the state capitol, aimed at state lawmakers urging them to vote against her reappointment. The billboards say “Chase, Chase, vote no on April 10.”RELATED STORY:Judicial critics opposing Connecticut justice renomination

They are people going through the process of divorce who feel the Family Court System has failed them by appointing expensive guardians, known legally as “guardian at litems” for their children in disputed custody cases.

“The court appointed Guardian ad litem for my child as well as an attorney for my minor child, and together these two court appointees billed my family $252,000 and spent a total of 4-and-a-half hours with my children,” said Paul Greenan of Stamford.

“This is done solely to aid the court in determining the best interests of the child when the parents cannot agree,” Justice Rogers said at the hearing. The Chief Justice also explained to lawmakers that the guardians are only appointed in the most contentious custody cases, and that a new program will help address the problem. 

“Despite very limited resources, the branch recently hired 16 more family relations officers, (and a pilot program) will assist parents in resolving post judgement dissolution and custody matters at no cost to the parties,” said Justice Rogers.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to conduct the vote on Justice Rogers reappointment sometime Friday night.

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