O'Connor Alert
The Robing Room

An Unusual Day

I learned a long time ago that anything can happen in a courtroom. But I was still surprised yesterday when I appeared in New London Superior Court for a suppression hearing in an arson case. It never occurred to me that I would be asked to make a proffer indicating that I had never been sexually involved with the presiding judge.

My client is a seventeen year-old boy accused of arson. He made inculpatory statements. I hope to persuade the court those statements were involuntarily obtained. We were set to begin evidence yesterday.

Before the hearing, I met with several witnesses to go over their testimony one more time. They stunned me by telling me that the woman married to my client's stepfather -- the boy's mother is dead and his father is out of his life -- told the family I was the perfect lawyer for the case. In this case, the referral was not flattery. She told the family that I had a sexual relationship with the judge, and therefore could work miracles.

Had I been hired in this case under false pretenses? The hearing was postponed while we sort all this out.

So there I was in open court, galleries full, telling the court of these allegations. How do you tell the Court you've never slept with it? Here's an exceprt from the transcript:

        "In the course of interviewing the [witnesses], I was told this morning for the first time that representations had been made to the family by Miss XXX that I would be particularly effective on Curt's behalf because I have a sexual relationship with you, Judge XXX, which is in fact not true and has never been true.

        "That they were told I employ a number of people in my office who go around the state and do things for me, which happens to be true, but I was quick to point out that those are lawful things, upon my knowledge and belief.  And I was led to believe that Miss XXX told the family that a young man in my office provides sexual services to the Court, meaning you, Judge XXX.  And, again, there is no truth to that that I'm aware of nor has there ever been."

My first phone call after the hearing? My wife, of course. "About tomorrow's headlines," I told her. Salacious Story Upends Arson Case She laughed, a sure sign of a healthy marriage, I hope.