Peterson v. Robles
Based on the judiciary's history of responses to election irregularity claims, it could not be concluded that the inherent time limitation of an election cycle will typically prevent a court, upon review, from timely resolution of an election related claim and the plaintiff's claims premised on election irregularities were moot and not saved by the capable of repetition, yet evading review exception to the mootness doctrine. Alyssa Peterson filed an action against Hector Robles and Susan Bysiewicz, former secretary of state, alleging that the Hartford Democratic town committee's endorsement of Robles for state representative was invalid for failing to comply with C.G.S. §9-391. The plaintiff also sought relief purportedly pursuant to C.G.S. §9-387, based on her subordinate claim that Robles engaged in fraudulent conduct in obtaining the party's endorsement and in receiving public campaign funding. Following a hearing, the trial court ruled in favor of the defendants on the first claim finding the endorsement valid. The court granted Robles' motion to dismiss the second claim determining that C.G.S. §9-387 provides for an administrative remedy. The plaintiff appealed claiming prejudice from the admission of nonprobative, flawed and biased testimony in conjunction with her claim of procedural irregularities and that the trial court improperly dismissed her fraud claim. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Robles defeated the plaintiff in a primary and won the general election. He now serves as a state representative. While conceding the court's inability to fashion any practical relief, the plaintiff requested that the court issue an opinion condemning the endorsement process. The Appellate Court declined to issue an advisory opinion. The plaintiff's claims premised on election irregularities were moot and were not saved by the capable of repetition yet evading review exception to the mootness doctrine. Given the judiciary's history of responses to election irregularity claims, the inherent time limitation of an election cycle will not typically prevent a court, upon review, from timely resolution of an election related claim. Additionally, the trial court properly dismissed the plaintiff's fraud claim. The plaintiff failed to exhaust the administrative remedy of lodging a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission pursuant to C.G.S. §9-7b.