Lawyers Face Off Before State Supreme Court In Keeley Election Complaint

Peppered by a number of questions, lawyers appeared before the Connecticut Supreme Court Thursday morning to argue the pros and cons of Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis’ order for a third Democratic primary in the City Council’s 133rd District citing absentee ballot irregularities. The state’s highest court is hearing the case on an expedited basis following the city’s appeal.

Attorney Pete Finch, arguing on behalf of former State Rep. Bob Keeley who brought the complaint before Bellis after he finished behind party-endorsed Michael DeFilippo and incumbent Jeanette Herron, kicked off the presentation to the Supremes. Finch, son of former Mayor Bill Finch, was followed by Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon and attorney James Healy, representing various defendants. The parties had approximately 30 minutes each to address statutory interpretation based on Bellis’ decision. The justices also jumped in with a number of pointed questions for both sides, challenging their assertions on legal interpretation, which is typical for the state’s highest court.

Following the arguments the justices adjourned to a conference for about 45 minutes before telling the legal parties they expect to issue a decision in the near future.

The justices are considering these four questions:

Does Connecticut General Statutes prohibit any person other than the elector from arranging for a designee to return an elector’s absentee ballot to the Town Clerk?

Did the trial court err in rejecting twelve absentee ballots that were stamped but not postmarked on the ground that they were not “mailed” pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes?

Did the trial court err in deciding that the administration of the supervised absentee balloting at Northbridge Health Care Center did not meet the minimum standards required by law?

Did the trial court err in applying the burden of proof, and in rejecting votes validly cast by electors, thereby undermining the trial court’s conclusion that there were substantial statutory violations that left the reliability of the election seriously in doubt?

See the full city legal brief here and Keeley’s full brief here.

More on the courtroom scene from CT Post reporter Dan Tepfer here.



  1. This is a difficult “state constitutional” case. The question is..”Did Judge Bellis exceed her authority in ordering another election?” I have another question. Why are the People of Bridgeport paying for Joe Ganim,Mario Testa,Michael DeFlipper(the bartender) and Jeannette Herron(why is she sucking up to Mario????)

  2. This is an uneducated guess but…..
    Since the Supremes said they might have an opinion today and since the Supremes do not like to overturn the election results, the fact that they did note have an opinion today bodes well for Keeley.
    So keep your fingers crossed and Go, Foght and Win Bobby!

    1. A couple of the judges asked some pointed wuestions of Peter Finch. It won’t be a unanimous ruling but will go in Keeley’s favor. The Supremesare loathe to overturn election results. However… Judge Bellis ordered a second primary. Upon reviewing the results nd determining the second primary was marred by absentee ballot manipulation she had no choice but to order a third primary.

  3. This is going to go in Keeley’s favor. Judge McDonald was astute: absentee ballots are tightly regulated but the collection of same is not. Mario Testa and the district leaders of the DTC count on that weakness to put endorsed candidates into office.

  4. Every Supreme Court Justice is a Malloy appointee except two. McDonald is a Malloy loyalist and was his chief legal counsel.

    Malloy and his peeps know Mario quite well.

    Let’s hope the ruling bodes well for democracy.

  5. Maria is absolutely correct. I knew Malloy personally when he was chairman of the Stamford finance board and when he was mayor and I had many interactions with him on many different issues.
    I knew McDonalds’ mother Anne when she was a state representative So the ties run deep with them. Hopefully the court does the right thing regardless ….but nonetheless, we the people need to keep on top of these things to help justice prevail.
    And by the way……Merry Christmas to all!!


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