To the Editor:
As Chairman of Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System, I take serious issue with the recent article in the Law Tribune ("Appellate Bar Split Over Hispanic Court Nominee," Jan. 14, 2013) regarding Judge Carmen Espinosa’s nomination by Governor Dannel Malloy to be a member of the Connecticut Supreme Court. The article was filled with negative comments, all based on unattributed sources, and besmirches the name of an accomplished member of the Hispanic community whose life illustrates the principle that hard work and determination can pay off.
The article begins by stating that Judge Espinosa’s nomination "came as a surprise to Connecticut’s appellate lawyers." We do not know which lawyers — they chose to remain anonymous, citing a fear of reprisal from other judges. The article went on to highlight specific criticisms leveled by "10 appellate practitioners." To be fair, the article does include attributed comments by an appellate attorney and the CBA in support of Judge Espinosa’s nomination. However, they are presented almost as asides. The article does not include any reaction by Judge Espinosa or her colleagues on the Appellate Court.
The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System strongly supports Judge Espinosa’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The Commission knows that the "face of the system" — the way it appears to the public — is a critical factor in shaping how our criminal justice system is perceived. The governor took an important step in nominating Judge Espinosa to be the first Hispanic justice of the Supreme Court. Should she be confirmed, Judge Espinosa will enrich the court by bringing her own unique perspective and insights, along with considerable experience in the criminal justice system, both on and off the bench. She will be an invaluable addition to the Court.
Judge Lubbie Harper Jr.
Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity
in the Criminal Justice System