To The Editor:

I have read your April 14, 2008 article concerning Family Magistrate Christopher Oliveira and wish to write in his defense.I do not know what happened in 2004 concerning his job as a family relations counselor trainee at the Middletown courthouse. Prior to this time, however, he had served between three and four years in the Middlesex Judicial District’s Civil and Family Clerk’s Office as the temporary assistant clerk handling the family magistrate docket.

During the time I was in this office (2001-03), Mr. Oliveira was organizing and coordinating this calendar in a highly professional and competent manner.For his fellow TACs like myself, he was a constant source of useful information concerning family law and often helped the office by compassionately assisting pro se litigants sort out the various procedural problems that otherwise would prevent their matters from being heard.He was considered so good at his position that I heard from other staff that he had informally helped train new family support magistrates who had rotated through Middletown.

This past is relevant because in your article the writer stated: “Oliveira, 37, has come under scrutiny for his relative lack of experience . . .”This is simply not true in regards to his experience.Mr. Oliveira has an excellent background in family support matters and was a real asset in this co-worker’s opinion to the Judicial Branch. Regardless of any mistakes he may have made, I would advocate that he be allowed to complete his term and then have a decision made on whether to re-appoint him based on his performance, which I predict will be exemplary.

Mr. Oliveria did not ask me to write this letter for him, and I’m a lifetime Democrat. [Editor's Note: Oliveira was a longtime Republican Party activist before his appointment as a family magistrate.] I would ask however that people not judge him too harshly and instead give him a chance.

Samuel P. Browning

Norwich