In Re: Honorable Cofield
The Judicial Review Council can suspend a court judge who allegedly fails to issue a court decision timely, after a trial has been concluded. Allegedly, Superior Court Judge E. Curtissa Cofield admitted that she failed to issue decisions timely in juvenile court cases that concerned 10 children, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §51-51i(a)(4), which governs judicial competence and neglect. The statute provides, "In addition to removal by impeachment and removal by the Governor on the address of two-thirds of each house of the General Assembly as provided in the Connecticut Constitution, a judge shall be subject, in the manner and under the procedures provided in this chapter to censure, suspension or removal from office for . . . neglectful or incompetent performance of the duties of a judge." Although attorneys who litigated the juvenile cases in Judge Cofield's courtroom waived the statutory requirement that the judge issue decisions within 120 days of the end of trial, it allegedly took Judge Cofield 11 months or more to issue decisions in a handful of particularly difficult cases. C.G.S. §51-183b provides, "Any judge of the Superior Court and any judge trial referee who has the power to render judgment, who has commenced the trial of any civil cause, shall have power to continue such trial and shall render judgment not later than one hundred and twenty days from the completion date of the trial of such civil cause." The Judicial Review Council found, by clear and convincing evidence, that "[t]he Honorable E. Curtissa R. Cofield's failure to issue in a timely manner the decisions and judgments . . . constituted neglectful and incompetent performance of the duties of a judge, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 51-51i(a)(4) of the General Statutes." The Judicial Review Council suspended Judge Cofield for 30 working days. Attorney Hubert Santos represented Judge Cofield.