The governor has decided to nominate a longtime New Haven powerbroker, Anthony Avallone, to become a state Superior Court judge.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced 17 judicial nominations at a 12:30 p.m. Capitol press conference. Two were to the Connecticut Appellate Court: Raheem Mullins (read about one of his New Haven Superior Court cases here) and Eliot Prescott. The others, nominated to the Superior Court bench, included two other New Haveners, Steven Ecker and Erika Tindill. Tindill is an alumna of New Haven Legal Asisstance, as is another nominee, Jane Grossman of New Haven. Click here for a release with the full list.
Avallone (pictured), who is 66 years old, is a longtime member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He formerly served as an influential state senator representing the eastern half of New Haven.
He said Friday that if confirmed for the judgeship he will resign from the DNC, on which he has sat for almost two decades.
He also said he will close up his thriving private legal practice. Avallone has been the go-to attorney for developers and landowners with zoning matters before the city. He currently represents Centerplan Development in its quest to rebuild a megablock across from Career High School, for instance. (Read about that here.) Other recent clients have included a Fairfield company looking to build a mixed-use project at the downtown edge of Wooster Square; the owners of the 360 State St. residential tower in their dispute with New Haven over a tax bill; the developers of the proposed Star Supply development in Goatville; and Jordan’s Furniture in its quest to open a story on Long Wharf.
Avallone also served on the committee advising Toni Harp on economic development during her mayoral campaign last fall.
New Haven state Sen. Martin Looney said Friday that he will “absolutely” support Avallone’s nomination to the bench. “Tony is someone who’s had an outstanding career in public service and as an attorney,” Looney said. “I’m very pleased to see he’s been nominated for a Superior Court judgeship.”
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Avallone told the Independent about his nomination. He thanked Malloy and Looney for supporting him.
“It’s a goal for most lawyers to be able to sit on the bench,” Avallone said. “We all have our own ideas about fairness and justice and how that should be administered. Hopefully I believe I have the right temperament and background to do that. The first time people come in touch with the system, they should know that it’s as fair as possible, that there won’t be any biases against them. I think that’s critical, so that their first impressions will carry on in life. That’s the job of the judges: To make sure people, when they win or lose—they’re not going to be happy if they lose, but at least they fell they’ve been treated fairly.”