Connecticut is essentially a feudal state. Although the state has counties, there is no county government. All 169 cities and towns guard their independence ferociously. So do the state's 13 regional state's attorneys. Yesterday, the prosecutorial lordlets toppled their chief. There must be glee in their gloaming castles today.
Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano announced yesterday he would not seek appointment to a full term as chief. Why? Well, in part there was a revolt in the ranks. Eleven of thirteen of the state's regional state's attorneys wrote a letter to the commission that appoints prosecutors saying they had no confidence in Morano. The prosecutors never really said why. So take that, King Morano
Morano, a veteran state prosecutor, has been serving as either acting chief state's attorney or chief state's attorney since 2002, when his predecessor, John Bailey fell ill and then died. During that time he has been a visible and vocal leader of the state's prosecutors. His office's cold case squad solved some old homicides. Indeed, Morano co-chaired the prosecution of Michael Skakel for the Martha Moxley homicide. Morano has also been a steady presence in the state capitol. He has also sponosred a pilot program on electronic recording of confessions. And did I mention that his public integrity unit has been unsparing in its investigation of the governor's office?
So why give him the axe?
Under the state constitution, the thirteen regional prosecutors are independent. The chief cannot force them out, and the chief may not require them to do anything. If they do not want to be led, then, by golly, they won't be led. It is an inefficient and anachronistic system. Sort of like denying a governor the right to hire, fire and direct the work of commissioners of state agencies.
Morano's sin? He tried to act like a leader. He was visible. He took risks. He created new units with new mandates. Put another way, he stepped on some toes. Hence the opposition to him without even the courtesy of a bill of particulars.
In his place, the lordlets have selected from their ranks one of their own number. They now want him annointed shadow king. Sir Kevin Kane of New London is a quiet, hands-on prosecutor in his early 60s who will, most likely, implode due to boredom if he chooses to where run his office as a mere figurehead. That is assuming he views the new job as more than a pre-retirement sinecure designed to bolster a mediocre pension.
I say amend the state constitution. We don't need 13 minilords and a figurehead chief cluttering up the courts. Centralize control of the state's prosecutors: It will yield efficiency and savings.
In the meantime, give me a call if you are looking for work, Chris. Plenty of work here on the darkside. As you know, some of the state's prosecutors swing first and ask questions later.