From Dan Tepfer, CT Post:
A state committee is recommending that former Mayor Joseph Ganim, who served a prison sentence on corruption charges, get his law license back.
Following a half dozen hearings over the span of a year, the state’s Standing Committee found that Ganim is fit to practice law and recommended that he be readmitted to the bar after he completes his court-ordered supervised release next July.
The final decision must still be made by a three-judge panel of the Superior Court. No hearing date has yet been set.
“It was an extensive deliberation process and we are pleased and humbled by the unanimous recommendation by the standing committee,” said Ganim’s lawyer, Harold Rosnick. He declined further comment.
The former mayor, at one time considered a contender for a Democratic gubernatorial nomination, was convicted March 19, 2003, on 16 federal corruption and bribery charges and sentenced by federal Judge Janet Arterton to nine years in prison. Following an early release from prison he has worked as a legal assistant at his family’s law firm here and started a counseling firm for others headed to federal prison.
In 2010, following his release from prison, a Superior Court judge granted Ganim permission to apply for his law license back, which he had surrendered following his conviction. In May 2011, the Standing Committee, comprised of five area lawyers, began holding public hearings on Ganim’s application. During those hearings the committee heard testimony and received letters from more than 100 members of the community, including prominent lawyers, attesting to Ganim’s ability to resume practicing law.
Ganim also testified during the hearings that he accepted the jury’s guilty verdict against him.
“I had a fair trial, I had good lawyers, I had a fair judge and I live and stand by the result, I accept the verdict, I was found guilty,” he testified. “I accept that, I acknowledge that. I took an appeal, I lost.”
Patricia King, acting chief disciplinary counsel for the state Judicial Branch, has been the only voice in opposition to Ganim getting back his license during the hearing process.
“We need to preserve public confidence in the judicial system,” King told the panel. “I don’t think anything has changed. The record doesn’t reflect that Mr. Ganim understands the wrongdoing he did and is sorry. This was a betrayal of the citizens of Bridgeport and he has never said anything about being sorry,” she argued.
Ganim’s route to get his license back took an unexpected twist when Ganim’s probation officer, Chris Rogers, testified that Judge Arterton was recommending Ganim be reinstated.
In a subsequent written decision, in which she denied Ganim an early termination of his supervised release, Arterton emphatically stated she was not taking a stand as to his readmission to the bar and she raised questions about Ganim’s participation in a drug treatment program that allowed him to have his prison sentence reduced by a year.
“The existence of any substance abuse problem remains a puzzle since he made no claim of a substance abuse problem at sentencing and as a result the court waived the mandatory drug testing condition of supervised release,” Arterton wrote.
As a condition of his readmission to the bar the committee recommends Ganim be required to practice law for one year under the supervision of another lawyer appointed by a court and perform 1,800 hours of free legal work within the first year of his readmission.