Social distancing: Rep. Craig Fishbein, left, and Rep. Steve Stafstrom debate a judicial reappointment in a House largely emptied due to the COVID-19. MARK PAZNIOKAS : CTMIRROR.ORG
Connecticut creams courthouses like hot fudge sundaes. While Governor Ned Lamont put a quiet freeze on judicial appointments one unintended consequence of Covid is the potential consolidation of courthouses.
We now all live in a zoom era, for the better in some circumstances, that includes public and professional consideration for the judicial process. Remember those days sitting in a courtroom for hours waiting to be called for an ordinary matter now handled remotely?
Bridgeport State Rep. Steve Stafstrom holds a powerful position as House chair of the Judiciary Committee. He’s also an attorney who knows what it’s like to navigate circuitous courthouses around the state. Times like these provide perspective.
CT Mirror reporter Mark Pazniokas shares Stafstrom’s take on this new judicial era.
He recently had one video conference scheduled for midday before a judge in Stamford.
“And instead of me sitting in the car for an hour and a half, fighting the traffic from Bridgeport down to Stamford to wait around the courthouse for an hour for a case to be called, I’m going to zoom into this conference for 20 minutes,” Stafstrom said. “It takes a lot less personnel. It’s a lot easier on the lawyers. It’s a lot cheaper for the clients.”
Stafstrom said technology never would eliminate the need for in-person proceedings, particularly for trials and arguments on significant motions, but it can and should streamline routine business.
“And frankly, I think, eventually you could get to a point where you could really kind of consolidate even some courts,” Stafstrom said. “I mean, we have an inordinate amount of courthouses in the state of Connecticut.”
Full story here.