Court to Hold Sessions at Coast Guard Academy
The Connecticut Supreme Court will travel to Coast Guard Academy in New London on
Friday, September 22nd, to hear oral arguments for two cases. One case raises the question
of whether corporate officers can be held personally liable for pollution caused by a
corporation. The other concerns whether a prisoner has a constitutional right to the
assistance of counsel in connection with the filing of a petition for certification to the
The hearings will be held at the Coast Guard
Academy in Leamy Hall. Students from the Academy, Mitchell College, Connecticut College
and Three Rivers Community-Technical College will attend as well as those from various
high schools in the Greater New London area. The public is welcome. Leamy Hall will open
at 9:15 a.m. and the morning session begins at 10:30.
"We believe that providing the community
the opportunity to attend oral arguments helps broaden our citizens understanding of
the legal system," said Chief Justice Francis M. McDonald, Jr. "Observing the
legal process promotes public trust and confidence in the judicial system by highlighting
the role of the Justices in preserving and protecting Constitutional rights."
The Courts appearance at the Coast Guard
Academy is part of an ongoing educational initiative of the Connecticut Judicial Branch to
acquaint students, educators and the general public with the role and responsibility of
the court system. The Supreme Court first established the outreach effort in 1986.
"Connecticut is full of learning
opportunities, and the Coast Guard Academy is honored and eager to welcome the Connecticut
State Supreme Court. This is truly a unique opportunity for our cadets and other local
students to see the Judicial Branch of government in action," said Academy
Superintendent Rear Admiral Douglas H. Teeson.
Oral arguments in Gipson v. Commissioner
of Corrections begin at 10:30 a.m. Attorney Karen Staib, a former Supreme Court Law
Clerk, will hold pre-argument discussions at 9:45 a.m., then moderate post-argument
discussions at 11:30 a.m. with the attorneys who have argued the case. Oral arguments in BEC
Corporation et al v. Department of Environmental Protection will begin at 2
p.m. Attorney Paul Narducci, a former Supreme Court Law Clerk, will lead pre-argument
discussions at 1:30, then moderate post-argument discussions at 3 p.m. with attorneys who
have argued the case.
"It is truly an honor that the Supreme
Court will hear arguments at the Coast Guard Academy," said Cmdr. Mark Higgins,
Professor of Law at the Academy. "This provides an outstanding opportunity for the
students to better understand the appellate process and appreciate its role in our legal
system." At 4 p.m., following the days sessions, Chief Justice McDonald will be
the Reviewing Official for a formal review of the Corps of Cadets on Washington Parade.
The Associate Justices and other dignitaries will join him on the reviewing stand. These
parades are held every Friday in the Fall and Spring, weather permitting, and are always
open to the public.
Previous locations have included Yale Law
School, the University of Connecticut School of Law, Quinnipiac College School of Law,
Connecticut College, the University of Connecticut in Storrs and Wesleyan University.
In Gipson v. Commissioner of
Corrections, Gipson was convicted of first-degree robbery. His conviction was upheld
by the Appellate Court. From prison, Gipson sought habeas corpus relief on the ground that
the attorney who represented him in his appeal to the Appellate Court did not file a
petition for certification to the Supreme Court for him and did not tell him that he could
file one himself. The trial court denied him habeas corpus relief. The Appellate Court
agreed with the trial court, concluding that a prisoner has no constitutional right to the
assistance of appellate counsel in connection with a petition for certification. The
Supreme Court will decide whether the Appellate Court ruled correctly.
In BEC Corporation et al v. Department of
Environmental Protection, the department found that BEC, which operates an oil storage
and distribution business, had released significant amounts of oil into the states
waters over a 28-year period. The department also found that BECs president and vice
president were personally liable for this pollution because they had authorized the
activities that caused the release of the oil. BEC, on appeal, argues that the officers
should not be held personally liable because the evidence does not show that they directly
supervised the activities that caused the pollution. The Supreme Court will determine
whether the officers should be held personally liable.
To assist in expediting the screening process and to facilitate the
flow of traffic in and out of Leamy Hall, it is recommended that guests not bring laptops,
briefcases, backpacks, pocketbooks or bags with them. No cameras or recording devices will
be allowed and, when the Supreme Court is in session, no caps or hats may be worn inside
For information contact Ginny Apple, Manager of Communications,
State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, at 860-757-2270 or LTJG Jennifer Hall, Coast Guard
Academy Public Affairs Officer, at 860-444-8685.