High court approves disciplinary hearings for absent judge

April 12, 2022 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously voted Tuesday to begin disciplinary proceedings against a state judge who has not shown up to work for more than two years while continuing to be paid.

The court approved an investigation into Judge Alice Bruno and whether there are grounds to remove or suspend her.

Bruno, who is assigned to Waterbury Superior Court, is accusing court officials of refusing to accommodate her disability so she can return to work. She also claims Judicial Branch officials have retaliated against her. Court officials have declined to comment on Bruno’s claims.

Messages seeking comment were left for Bruno and her attorney Tuesday. They appeared before the state’s Supreme Court last week and argued she should not be disciplined.

Bruno’s absence from work was first reported in November by lawyer and Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie, a Republican former state lawmaker. The judge has not reported to work since Nov. 14, 2019, but the state has paid her nearly $400,000 since then.

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Details of Bruno’s disability have not been disclosed. She has said that her health condition is disabling and court officials have made it worse by refusing to provide her with accommodations, which is why she has not been able to return to work.

The Supreme Court has authorized former state Judge Robert Devlin to investigate whether there are grounds to fire or suspend Bruno, and ordered Bruno to cooperate with the probe. Devlin is now the state’s inspector general, investigating use of force by police.